A rather long and convoluted title, but one which both tells a prospective audience exactly what to expect, and also, the style and era of the play. What it doesn't tell you however, is that the play is performed in complete darkness throughout.

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s2smodern

Tonight’s performance is part of the Manchester Fringe Festival. The venue is the small theatre at the King’s Arms in Salford. There are only sixteen seats – it is an intimate affair – and the cast are spitting distance away, already sitting on the stage; three young men dressed in black and white, motionless, heads bowed, eyes closed.

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s2smodern

An original, creative, and dazzling musical, composed and directed by the talented Stephen Hyde, who plays himself as the passionate composer. The musical tells the story of Stephen and his girlfriend, Amelia Gabriel, as they fight over the remote to watch their favourite show; Stephen's being the Marriage of Figaro and Amelia's Keeping up with the Kardashians.

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s2smodern

It’s a million miles away from the glamour of Hollyoaks to a small backroom theatre on deepest Salford but that’s the path Jessica Forrest has chosen.

Since leaving the bonkers Cheshire soap Forrest has been out on a long of tour of small venues in Box of Tricks’ Chip Shop Chips, which is the ideal prep for this two hander in a rough and ready venue.

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s2smodern

The title of this play perfectly describes the two contrasting worlds depicted in this riveting First World War drama. Set in Salford and on the Front line the play follows the fortunes of a group of friends who enlist with a local Pals regiment and the women they leave behind.

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s2smodern

2016 marks 400 years since Shakespeare passed away. To mark the anniversary his work has been performed quite extensively this year. Therefore, it’s going to take something unique to make one performance stand out. Unfortunately Truly Outrageous Productions take on Hamlet didn’t hit the mark for me.

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s2smodern

The winners of ‘Best Comedy Show’ at last year’s fringe festival are back with a new show called ‘Journeys’. It is exactly what it says on the tin - a fast paced, physical comedy show. Using a limited amount of props, the four actors go on journeys around the globe.

Upon entering the theatre the atmosphere was a bit dead, due to a small audience. There could have perhaps been some music playing while waiting for the show to start as it felt a bit awkward.

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s2smodern

I was quite surprised when the star of this one man show, Jon M Coleman, appeared at the door of the upper theatre at the Kings Arms in his undies to sell tickets. I didn't know where to look... only where not to look. In the auditorium Walk Like A Man by the Four Seasons was playing on a loop. On the stage there was an inflatable doll in a big wig wearing a football strip… OK. A mannequin dressed in a shirt and tie... OK. Both typical male uniforms… And hanging in the middle a red spangly evening dress....

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s2smodern

One could be forgiven for thinking that Manchester was awash with fledgling small-scale theatre companies - since in fact, they are. However some of these companies manage to shine a lot brighter than most. Enter Matt Holt and Evelyn Roberts who have produced, adapted and even starred in tonight's offering at Hope Mill Theatre. This is People Zoo and their highly original version of Franz Kafka's The Trial.

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s2smodern

Scripts Aloud is a monthly event organised by Manchester Acting Directing Partnership, where new writers have their scripts read by actors, script in hand, after usually just a few hours rehearsal. This time, to add a twist for the Manchester Fringe Festival, two plays are being given two different treatments by different actors and directors. The theatre is packed to the rafters and there is an electrifying buzz in the air.

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s2smodern

King Lear is arguably one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays. As someone that studied the text at school, there is so much to play with in this fantastic play. Unfortunately this version by PurpleCoat Productions fails to hit the mark.

This production is produced, conceived and directed by Karl Falconer, who also manages to play the roles of The Fool and Gloucester. While I do admire his ambition, I feel that the multi-tasking led him to not executing any of these roles particularly well.

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s2smodern