Manchester is positively thriving at the moment with the Manchester International Festival dotting around the city centre's outside spaces, the Greater Manchester Fringe in full swing in theatres everywhere and Flare International Festival of New Theatre showcasing brand new never seen before shows and it's the later that interests me.

The Swing Commanders are a five-piece band who play songs from the 40s and 50s but put their own unique stamp on them. 

That description doesn't do enough justice to their vibrant, energetic, personality-driven performance which is warm, enthusiastic and really quite awe inspiring.

Manchester has always had a strong relationship with America from the days of the cotton trade to the infamous ‘Judas’ episode  when Dylan played the Free Trade Hall and through to Chicago producers influencing aciiiiid house  tunes at the Hacienda.

I know Alan Bennett is a national treasure but I have often found his work overly sentimental, and at times just a bit twee, which is a prejudice that this well-staged production of Talking Heads goes some way to dispel.

Standing on the steps of a city centre block of flats waiting for a text is an odd way to start reviewing a piece, but then Operation Black Antler is a piece of immersive theatre co-created by Blast Theory and Hydrocracker.

Although it was written over 50 years ago, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is still hugely relevant to today’s world. The recent surge in violence amongst young men is portrayed in this dark tale.

Theatre always has and always will be a magical experience which fills you with passion, excitement and emotion and it's so important that a younger audience don't miss out and experience something which is live in front of you, and not on a 5 inch touch screen.

There are some nights which are special and which you know you will remember for a very long time. Tonight was one of them, for various reasons.

A One Night Stand With Musical Theatre aims to "bring the West End to the North West" and this it certainly did, whilst at the same time proudly showcasing a selection of 'home grown' and wonderfully talented North West musical theatre performers.

At the age of seventy eight, Dame Janet Suzman has taken on one of the biggest challenges of her distinguished theatrical career performing this epic solo play written by Martin Sherman, the acclaimed writer of Bent.  As Rose, a feisty eighty year old Jewish woman living in Miami Beach, Florida, Suzman, recounts with passion, pathos and great wit, the gripping story of one woman’s astonishing journey through some of the most harrowing and tumultuous events of the Twentieth Century.

On a beautiful May evening the Palace Theatre hosted the stunning musical written by Alan Jones – ‘Buddy’ with an amazingly talented cast.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone aged 40 and above has heard of Buddy Holly the unique iconic Rock and Roll singer of the late 1950’s who rose to stardom at the age of 19 years old and influenced the musical genre beyond his wildest dreams transforming the face of contemporary music.

It has been a tough week for Manchester. You would be forgiven for thinking the cast of Out of Order would be nervous about bringing a comedy to a city which has suffered such a great tragedy so recently. However, they needn’t have been nervous.