The Greater Manchester Fringe returns to Salford for its fifth year on July 1st with Stewart McDonald's Millionaires Anonymous. This is a dark comedy written about three lottery winners who have lost their money, opening at the Salford Arts Theatre for a three night stint (7.30 pm £10/£8 concs).
As well as the Arts Theatre, there are also events being staged at the Eagle Inn on Collier Street, the Kings Arms on Bloom St and the Lowry Studio at Media City.
One of the biggest events is at The Kings (3rd July, 2 pm) when they host award winning comedian, actor and radio DJ, Justin Moorhouse. This is the premiere of a two hour show called People and Feelings which he'll then be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, before touring the UK. Entry is over 16s and is £5.
The Lowry Studio is hosting the Funny Women regional finals (29th July, 8 pm). As well as showcasing the cream of the North West's female comedy, this night also helps raise money and awareness for domestic violence charity, Refuge (£12/£10)
A show by the Exploding Plastic Inevitable Ensemble, Gypsies, Mancs and Thieves (10th July, 9 pm) is on at the Kings Arms. Through the songs of Tom Waits and the poetry of Charles Bukowski, this show explores the dark underbelly of society and the volatile couplings of two brothers and a married couple (£7).
Earlier on the 10th, The Kings Arms hosts Mrs Boon's Cake Rave. For this event, Mrs Boon serves up homemade cakes, while Inspiral Carpets keyboard player and Radio Manchester DJ, Clint Boon, mans the decks, playing songs from his renowned record collection. As the name suggests, this is an event for mature ravers, but they can now bring their kids. It starts at 2pm, finishes at 4pm and tickets are £4.
For the first time, this year the Fringe is engaging with shows for kids with more on than ever before...
"One of the things that has been said to us in the past is that once people start having kids, they can struggle to get babysitters in the evening, so this year we've put on an unprecedented amount of afternoon shows that both parents and kids can enjoy" says Debbie Manley, press officer for the Fringe "This year is as much for the 2 to 4 party people as it is for the 24 hour party people."
Bubbleshow with Milkshake is on the Kings Arms (22nd, 23rd and 24th July, 12noon) and there's also a matinee on the 22nd at 2 pm. A children's comedy, which features the bubble haircut, the bubbleocalypse and the bubble caterpillar amongst many others, every child gets to go in their very own bubble (£7/£6)
Salford Arts Theatre stages Three (27th July, 2 pm). This children's story sees three actors ingeniously weave together, Rumpelstiltskin, Goldilocks and Grimm's Three Wanderer, through songs and lively storytelling. These stories also all involve the number three (£7/£5).
Salford's hosting of the GM Fringe concludes with Short Tails And Tall Stories - Voiced By Rik Mayall (31st July, 2pm and 5pm) at the Salford Arts Theatre. This show is another premiere for Salford and sees children's television writer and music producer Mike Bennett present audio-book animations of his reworked classic children's stories, including Three Little Pigs, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Narrated by the late Rik Mayall, with the stage show directed by Yvette Warburton, this multi-media performance is presented in a punk-pantomimic style and will give as much amusement to adults as it will to children (£5).
Zena Barrie, Fringe Director and co-founder, told Salford Star that the Fringe is getting bigger every year... "With more venues being used throughout Salford, we're hoping to make it even bigger next year and to encourage more venues in Salford to host events and more talented Salfordians to take part."
Meanwhile, Councillor Anne-Marie Humphries enthused about the Fringe and its benefits to the city... "It's really important for communities, it's important for our identity and it's important for our economy as well. It's a brilliant thing"
GM Fringe roundup by Anthony Murphy
For more details see www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk
Over the coming weeks the Salford Star will carry more features and full listings
*Update: 21st June - The Velvet Afterlife show at the Eagle Inn has been cancelled