The Christmas musical at the Royal Exchange has become an eagerly awaited event on the Manchester theatrical calendar and this year they deliver a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears in this festive season.

“The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit” is another musical premiere for Hope Mill Theatre. Written by Allan Knee, with music and lyrics by Andre Catrini, it is described as the sequel to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who is brave enough to unwrap themselves emotionally and mentally and to be inspected and dissected by an audience. As a solo artist this is especially difficult, as you have no-one for onstage support if you are overcome by your emotions.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert burst onto the stage of The Palace Theatre in Manchester for opening night last night leaving a smattering of power pop hits, glitter and kangaroos in her tracks.

A wet, pitch black Sunday night in November tempts one to stay in by the fire with something warming and alcoholic in a glass. However, the theatrical call of duty took me to the (as yet) ungentrified bit of Ancoats, in search of this production of a rarely performed piece of Shakespeare. I’m glad I made the effort.

Directed by Charlie Tomlinson, ‘Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick’ is a biographical play that was written by Terry Johnson and highlights the era that covered the span of the creation of four ‘Carry on’ Films. Having premiered in 1998 at The National Theatre and having won an Oliver award, it would be interesting to see how this was interpreted on stage at The Garrick.

Company Chameleon have brought ‘The Shadow’ to HOME for its world premiere. This dance company has brought its unique form of dance back home to Manchester after the two founders Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner decided to establish the company in 2007. Their roots are truly in Manchester after training at the Trafford Youth Dance Theatre in the mid 1990’s, then moving on to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. After spreading their dance gospel around the world and introducing and inspiring young people to dance, they can count Dame Darcey Bussell as their first ever Patron this year.

You’ll be treated to a ninety minute blackly comic visual symphony in Forced Entertainment’s latest riotous deconstruction of theatre conventions. As the dialogue free chaos unfolds your heart will sing as six poetic performers turn clowning around. In true symphonic style, distinctly musical structures are used to create the hilarious tension in this multi-layered, allegorical physical comedy extravaganza.

Christmas really did come early at the Manchester Opera House this year, with the triumphant arrival of The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Production of The Snowman.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a masterpiece. It has been over 50 years since Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice crafted this show, but its timeless wit, cheese and appeal are as charming today as they have ever been.