You/Me/Tomorrow begins normally enough. A married couple are preparing the table for dinner. The man has invited his boss round to dinner and is full of nerves, fussing about the cutlery and the crockery and what music would be most mood-appropriate for this important engagement. His wife gently mocks him but is patient, kind, supportive. The plain boring plates are upgraded to the “ponce plates”, the forks adjusted, the iPod shuffled. But they just can’t seem to agree. Not on the table settings, not on the song choice, and most definitely not on how they met. Because his boss is bound to ask how they met, surely? So, it’s important they get their stories straight.

Although I am familiar with the work of Willy Russell, I had never seen Educating Rita before this performance at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. To say it taught me a lot is an understatement. There is so much in this great play that it’s hard to know where to begin.

The House of Bernarda Alba, La Casa de Bernarda Alba, was originally subtitled, 'A Drama of Women in the Villages of Spain.' It is a dark and bitter, comic tragedy by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca and is Lorca's last play. Two months after completing The House of Alba, he was killed during the 1936 Spanish Civil War, for his left leaning politics and for being gay. It is one of three plays in the 'rural trilogy', Yerma and Blood Wedding being the other two. 

People Zoo Productions are back in Manchester with The Trial of Josef K, a grotesque and chilling pathway which depicts Josef’s year of nightmare when he is arrested one morning - on his birthday no less, without explanation or pity. Originally written by Franz Kafka, The Manchester based company People Zoo Productions bring their adaption which takes a twist on the darkness of the story and gives it a comedy edge, which essentially includes the audience in the hypothesis that “Everyone is laughing at Josef”.

I’m Standing Next to You is part of the 2017 PUSH festival currently taking place at HOME Theatre. The non traditional play is performed in the style of promenade in the theatres gallery space. It focuses on the theme of loneliness and how in a world more connected than ever why do more people feel isolated.

Part of PUSH Festival at HOME, The Island, The Sea, The Volunteer and The Refugee takes the audience to the island of Kos in Greece, where the small island has been inundated with refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Louise Wallwein plays the role of a volunteer helping the migrants as they arrive to safety.

Daniel Bye's witty and absorbing 'One Man Show' (Winner of the Scotsman Fringe First Award 2015), is an interactive melting pot of storytelling and performance lecture about the science behind infection; imagine the 'Royal Institution Christmas Lectures', with more comedy.

Shakespeare is one of the world’s greatest writers. However, the challenge for any company performing his work is to make sure the audience can follow the story, despite the use of old English language.

 

Cream-Faced Loons rose to the occasion in their performance of Twelfth Night this evening. The audience are taken to the Illyria Hotel, where the Feste and the Fools are holding a Twelfth Night party. Feste is singing the Twelve Days of Christmas as the audience enter. The scene is set from the very beginning and I must admit the hotel setting is an excellent concept and works well in this performance space.

To say Hope Mill Theatre have had a good year is a bit of an understatement. From their first in-house production Parade to their second HAIR, both received by the press as 5 star productions, they now end their first full year of operation with A Christmas Cracker. I won’t beat around the bush here, it’s another 5 stars!

Adapted from a poem by the same name by Carol Ann Duffy, this was a play by an unknown company with unknown actors and creatives. There was no programme available and nothing on the theatre's website, which, incidentally, I was directed to for further information!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…. Well that is certainly true for the transformed space Event City at Trafford Park. Winter wonderland is back for its fourth year at Event City and with live theatre, a circus big top, more fun fair rides than I have ever seen in an indoor venue before and of course Father Christmas there is literally something for everyone. For the grown-ups, there is also a well-stocked German bar, which has a great range of wines and beers to enjoy whilst soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.