Simon Beaufoy’s stage adaptation of the film The Full Monty was definitely more treat than trick tonight. What’s not to like? It has become a British classic and the title of the film promised a lot - and tonight every actor delivered.

Normally I’m a sentimental old fool and I have to admit that, at the end of tonight’s opening performance I did shed one solitary tear but the main emotion I felt throughout the show was laughter.

 

This wasn’t because the performances were in any way laughable - I actually felt that all of the actors on stage tonight gave of their best; unfortunately, for some of them, their best wasn’t good enough.

It’s time to do the Timewarp again as The Rocky Horror Show is back in Manchester for the 2nd time this year as part of its 2016 tour. It’s hard to believe the show is now in its 43rd year, and judging by the crowd’s reaction its popularity is showing no signs of dying.

 

On a cold Monday night in October, there were countless numbers of men and women dressed in fishnet stocking and corsets. If that doesn’t tell you this show has a strong fan base, nothing will.

As a large part of a 4-day festival celebrating and educating people about birth and the way it is treated and considered in different cultures around the world, seven short plays were commissioned and were performed at various times throughout the festival with all seven performed back-to-back in the main theatre throughout Saturday.

I’ve been seeing a lot of great shows recently and several of them at HOME in Manchester. I’ve just gone again to see Gecko’s physical theatre piece Institute. It’s a devised production which looks at the differing issues of male mental health. Undoubtedly it should resonate with some people in the audience and it’s a vitally important subject matter for discussion. Unfortunately for me I left the Theatre feeling empty.

“A Mod and Modettes Musical Paradise”

The Opera House in Manchester hosted the opening night of ‘All or Nothing: The Mod Musical’ with a star studded audience and fantastic Italian Vespas on show at the entrance of the theatre. It was a cold and rainy October night but it certainly didn’t dampen the atmosphere as the audience buzzed with excitement in the auditorium. The auditorium was packed with an array of Mods young and old awaiting this new musical of The Small Faces.

Walking into the HOME studio space to find a silent, beautiful woman struggling to play with a paddle ball, I was apprehensive about what I was about to see. Billed by one of its creators, Sleepwalk Collective’s Sammy Metcalfe, as an ‘attempt to renegotiate or just better understand our relationship with “high” or “classical” art’ – something which I personally find quite alienating – the show was a fragmented glimpse of art, performance, and theatre blasted with overwhelming light and sound.

 

Once the audience was settled, the performance began with a declaration of war, war between the performers and their audience.

Scherzo: For Piano and Stick is a piece for musing, opening your mind and just being carried away.

 

This production by Riotous Company is from a company with strong theatrical stock, Kathryn Hunter, who recently bagged rave reviews at HOME, is their patron and director Tage Larsen has worked on numerous Odin Teatret productions. Odin themselves are an institution who make work thats spoken with hushed breath around drama schools and cutting-edge theatre companies world-wide.

Manchester's newest theatre comes into being with a bang, as they present their first theatrical offerings. Situated at geographical coordinates 53 / 2, underneath the old railway arches by the side of the GMex Centre, this is a very adaptable and promising theatre space, and although it is still obviously being renovated and developed, the potential is evident and it is already coming to the attention of small and mid-scale local theatre companies looking for a decent-sized centrally located Fringe venue.

The first peculiar thing I realise when seeing a show entitled Two Man Show is that it’s not going to be performed by two men at all but by three women. If anyone read my last review you may start to think I’m developing a bee in my bonnet about shows with misleading titles. In this case I believe it, as with most things in this show, to be quite deliberate. What better way to make an early point about masculine domination of language up until this point in our history.

Previous versions of Dirty Dancing pale into insignificance compared to this brand new production currently touring the UK, and as I write this news is breaking that the show is to receive a limited run in the West End this Christmas. Sporting a brand new substantial and cleverly designed set by Roberto Comotti Dirty Dancing looks every inch a West End quality show.