Following our first GM Fringe last year, we were delighted to have been one of the central venues for the whole of the festival. We housed over 30 shows and not only recieved several nominations but the shows we had accepted to the arches, bagged those awards. This year, we're back and working in exactly the same way.
On this page, you'll see a list of exactly what's on in July, in chronological order, with a direct link to book tickets!
If you have any questions, drop us an email!
By Jack Thorne
“I think life can be basically divided into two things: suspense and surprise…I prefer surprise to suspense. But that’s basically because I feel suspense all the time.”
A summer of love. A fight. A car chase. A siege. When Katie’s boyfriend is attacked on the streets of Luton, she is propelled outside of her borders on to the frontier of council estates and concrete jungles. Amidst the sweltering heat, the baying for blood and longing for love, Katie is forced to decide her future.
A vital tale for our times by multi-award winning playwright, Jack Thorne, Bunny is an interrogation into the mind of one young girl struggling to find her place within a world lacking intimacy and connection. Join her in overcoming barriers as she rides through one extraordinary evening.
2 - 5th 90 mins £8 7pm
Trollope, the new comedy by R.J. Leek lets loose 23 characters played by 3 actors and requires copious pinches of salt to be taken with each scene. Although the piece is based on facts, these facts have been finely tuned and blended to be little more than gossip. Why waste time on history books when Percy Trollope can tell you first hand about the relationship between Sid Vicious and Julius Caesar, how he managed to help William Wordsworth out of a spell of writers block and reveal who influenced HG Wells. If you're willing to be lied to for an hour, made to part with money that could well have been put to better use and possibly even smile against your will, you might enjoy yourself! Caveat: If you’re looking for an evening of culture avoid. May contain nuts and foul language.
With Simon Hallman, Ali Kahn and Jennifer Banks.
7pm 2nd 60 mins £8
Evil has been defeated. Now, you're more likely to see superheroes on lunchboxes and Jimmy Fallon instead of fighting crime. Everyone thinks they're finally safe. Until three new wannabe villains hire out a conference room in the local community centre and get to work tackling all the usual problems supervillains face.
From world domination to a dynamic way of advertising a group of individuals who want nothing more than the destruction of society as we know it, Pretty Evil is full of laughs but remembers even villiains sometimes need the power of friendship.
4th, 27th & 28th 60 mins £7(£5) 9:30pm
by Andrew Siddall
Danny must break down the barriers created by his own tragic actions to go where no entity has gone before. Refusing to cross he will have to defy the laws of the known universe and those of his own kind to keep hold of his most precious gift.
5-7th 60 mins £8 7pm
JUBILEE DEBTORS CLUB
Liza is drowning in debt. And so are you! Debt is a feeling we all know, a void or obligation we have to fill. And it’s something that Liza can help you get out of … or not. Welcome to the Jubilee Debtors Club! As Liza leads you through a journey of self-help seminars and wacky last-ditch solutions in an effort to get out of the red, debt becomes more than dollars and cents. It's the currency of love and forgiveness. Both heart-wrenching and hilarious, Jubilee Debtors Club is a refreshing, original and darkly comic performance that talks about dad, Deuteronomy, baseball cards, raspberry tart … and asks us to reevaluate what we owe and to whom.
'Elizabeth Wautlet delivers a performance that is both heart-wrenching and funny - a rare gem. A Fringe ‘coup de coeur’.'
- Reka Polonyi, Artistic Director Paris Fringe Festival
5th & 6th 60 mins £12 9:30pm
Talented performers with an eye for the absurd" (RemoteGoat) Thespianage Productions are cultivating a reputation in Manchester for being far too suggestible! From Gregorian chanting life advice, to miming how an amorous dragon made a slightly baffled employee late to work, via explaining how sex is like Jeremy Corbyn (It’s for the many, not the few!) - it seems that these “masters of every style” (Edfringereview) will take on any suggestion thrown at them! So, what are you waiting for? A night of silly scenes won’t suggest themselves!
Having performed regularly in Manchester over the past two years and in the run up to a debut performance at the Great Yorkshire Fringe, you can expect a spectacular showcase of your favourite improvised games performed by your favourite funsters! There will be ridiculous impersonations, cutting-edge satire, dodgy accents, terrible puns and a couple of silly sketches for a bottomless comedy pick-n-mix!
6th 60 mins £5 (4) 7pm
by Stewart Campbell
After debuting last year with 'Absolute Certainty?', and being shortlisted for the WFTS New Writing Award, Qweerdog are excited to be bringing their latest piece of LGBTQ writing to the arches at 53Two : OUT, a family drama with comedy at it’s heart.
Luke, played by Adam Gardiner, has been out for a while. A confident, gay eighteen year old who seems to be in a constant battle with his single-mum, Debbie, played by Leni Murphy. She has known about his sexuality for years, it all unfolded without drama. Until now. The fractious nature of their relationship is pushed almost to breaking point when Luke starts dating an older man! Neil, played by Stewart Dylan-Campbell, is unwittingly the catalyst for this out and out family drama, where more than one skeleton is in the closet.
All families have secrets, it's how they come out that matter!
7 & 8th/21 & 22nd (Mat 21st) 60 mins £10 (9) 4/7pm (Check Link)
AS FAR AS I CAN SEE
by Steve Vertigo
Steve Vertigo is an ex-illegal rave DJ turned stand-up. His new one-man show, “As Far As I Can See”, deals with data and how it deals with us. What is our future as we allow ourselves to become segmented, isolated and stupid? This is a tale of one man's quest to fight the tide, to hold back his data, and beat the billionnaires at their own game. It is a quest of immense proportions where he must duck vigilantes, dodge data-gathering algorithms, outwit Artificial Intelligence and ultimately find a way for everyday folk to achieve immortality whilst rewriting their lives in parallel universes. Then find love. Then maybe go for a pint. If there's time.
8th 60 mins £8(£6) 9:30pm
by Nick Payne
Marianne meets Roland. Or, even, Roland meets Marianne… Constellations stretches across the course of one couple’s relationship; one a beekeeper, the other a quantum physicist. Each scene takes place in a different parallel universe, showcasing the varying degrees of their relationship. Ultimately, we are asking if every outcome that could ever exist ‘exists’ then to what extent are we living a life of freedom?
9-11th 90 mins £12 9:30pm
DON'T CHA WISH YOUR SCOUSER WAS BOSS LIKE ME
Forget your Beyonce & your Ariana; Kate’s in town... & she’s brought her own Sasha Fierce! The best thing to come out of Liverpool since the Superlambanana, is back in Manchester by popular demand! 17 year old Kate and her imaginary friend Mabel with added material, a piano & some tales from the North to shock even the strongest of audiences; same old potty mouth, new smash hits from the musicals. Join Kate on her struggles with social-media, growing up and teenage-dom. Messy! Musical theatre, stand-up and a play, all mixed together in a smorgasbord of chaos!’
Following two successful runs in Manchester, Kate, our protagonist, took London by storm, receiving 5 star revews, before heading back North for a stop-off, before hitting her home town of Liverpool with an extended, two-act play.
9:30pm 3rd & 4th 60 mins £8
The creators of multi-award-winning The Marriage of Kim K return with an uplifting new musical about modern masculinity, body image, and the hook-ups and downs of dating in the 21st century. Starring X-factor finalist and favourite Seann Miley Moore, GUY’s heart-pounding electronic score will hook you into this infectiously catchy gay rom-com.
Previous Praise for leoe&hyde
Fringe Guru - “Takes your breath away... A must-see."
North West End - "An original, creative and dazzling musical..."
Guy, a shy and overweight millenial, is failing in the departments of mates, dates and fun - dating apps can be cruel if you don’t look like a model. But in a reality of lonely binges, dirty sheets and unattainable bodies, you have to learn the hard way that the only person you need to be is yourself.
Follow @leoeandhyde and @guythemusical on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more.
11th & 13th 90 mins £10 (£8) 9:30pm
by John Tueart
A chance encounter may have lead Jake to the love of his life; Paige. But what secret is she hiding? What does it have to do with Jake? And more importantly, how can he fix it, before he loses the one thing he never thought he'd find.
The latest play from Manchester writer John Tueart, following the success of 'The Agency' in July 2017.
11-13th 90 mins £8 (£6) 7:00pm
THE NEW IRISH PLAYBOOK
by Joe O'Neill
The New Irish Playbook: Joe O'Neill is a series of short dramatic & comedic plays written & directed by Joe O'Neill, These plays include Themes of Loss,Heartbreak & Acceptance of ones self, these plays will leave the audience looking deep into themselves once they leave the Theatre.
'Joe is a very talented writer and director with the ability to deliver genuinely surprising and humorous twists.'
-Jason Figgis (Film Director)
'Coming Out and Our Child, two great little shorts showcasing the emerging talent of Joe O'Neill.'
-Nicky Alt (Playwright,ScreenWriter)
'Joe O’Neil is too f**king talented of my liking. One of the sharpest comedy writers, you’ll know all about him in the not too distant future.' - Dougie Brimson (Writer of Green Street).
Twitter: @Theatreshadow @ActingJoe
12th & 13th 60 mins £8 (£5) 7:00pm
I'M GONNA JUMP
"Date nights. Hashtags. Workouts. Updates. Cat gifs - does your head in sometimes, don’t it?"
Following a tragic incident, Ella decides to live-stream her version of events from the rooftop of her school. “I’m Gonna Jump” is a touching and funny one-woman play about friendship, rivalry, and social media.
Post-Show discussion: Mon 16th
Cast: Stacey Harcourt
Director: Nick Connor
Produced by Fabricate Theatre
15-17th 60 mins £8 7:00pm
PROUDLY STOCKING PROUD BEER FOR
THE RUN OF 'GUY'
“Flushed is a satisfying and thought-provoking hour of theatrical pleasure which blends comedic silliness with the harrowing despair of helplessness” - GM Reviewer
Two women, one diagnosis and approximately 7 different bathrooms: Flushed follows a changing time in the lives of inseparable sisters, Jen and Marnie. When Marnie is diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency, her life is altered and the relationship between the two girls is tested. Flushed is a play about the everlasting bond that is made within the cubicle walls; where friendships are formed, secrets are shared and girls poo.
After a successful five star run in March, 53two first FOUNDation production, Flushed, is back in the arches! Flushed is the debut production of new Manchester based theatre company, Theatre Unlocked.
15th & 16th 60 mins £9 (£7) 7:00pm
Root & Branch Productions present 18 Victoria by Cody Daigle-Orians, 17-20 July (17th-19th at 7pm, 20th at 9.30pm.)
Imagine the world is ending in three weeks. What would you do? Get drunk? Have sex? Say goodbye?
Now imagine your family is a dysfunctional nightmare, torn apart by secrets and revelations. Can you - do you want to - find resolution in time?
Described as 'outstanding... an intimate and incredibly powerful production with an excellent ensemble' when it received its UK premiere in April, Root & Branch's '18 Victoria' is shocking, darkly comic, and like nothing else you'll see at the Fringe.
Featuring haunting, live music by 'We Were Strangers', Root & Branch have created a highly-charged piece that pulls no punches, working with the playwright to adapt his text and make it relevant to a north of England audience. Root & Branch were nominated for two awards at last year's Fringe for their production of Brecht's ' A Respectable Wedding', described by Manchester Theatre Awards as 'a high quality production.'
WARNING: 18 Victoria contains strong language, deals explicitly with themes of a sexual nature, and references subject matter that people may find disturbing.
18 Victoria. Three siblings. Three weeks to live.
17-20th 90 mins £10(£8) 7:00pm
PEG & BESSIE
by Drew Tosh
Share in the lives, laughs, loves and losses of two formidable sisters this Summer as Peg & Bessie head to 53two for the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival. In this new play by Drew Tosh, these sixty-somethings reminisce about times gone by and prove that age is just a number. They just keep on going and prove that in good times and bad, there were never such devoted sisters.
Inspired by the writer's two aunties, the play is a love letter to a strong, stoic generation of women who adapt to their lot regardless of what life throws at them.
Peg & Bessie is directed by Sue Jenkins, best loved for her iconic role as Jackie Corkhill in 'Brookside' and now enjoying great success as a theatre director.
18th-21st 60 mins £8 7:00pm
Westernized! is a brand new comedy spoof by Nathan Smith that explores one of the most exciting periods of history – The American West... With hilarious consequences. Taking place in a pop-up saloon, four wannabe storytellers join forces to tell the ultimate Wild West Story. Expect: Vengeful natives, seedy cat houses, love struck prospectors and ermmm a Delorean? Will Crow find and kill his Father? Can Layla escape the brothel? And most importantly – can the storytellers work together to tell a coherent tale... Probably not.
The show is sound tracked by live, original Country & Western songs and is full of Death By Pie’s signature slapstick comedy. Starring Benidorm’s Hannah Hobley as Layla Layloo and a cast of multi-roling buffoons... Get ready for a root-tooting good time!
NOTE: In true frontier style this show will be staged in a tent outside!
18-21 & 25-28th 120 mins £10 7:30pm
Abbi and Beth want to be Kate and Naomi, walking the fashion week in Paris or partying with rock stars in London. Instead, they’re stuck in a small northern town, incarcerated to pre-fab science labs and cold wet playgrounds, English and Maths and PE. But teenage friendship is tested and the bonds of loyalty severed at a heartbreaking cost.
Spanning a decade, from the mid-nineties to the noughties, taking in London and New York, POP moves at breakneck speed to a Britpop soundtrack, from past to present and the contemporary aesthetic of The Face, Vice and ID Magazine.
Created by EVENTHORIZON.THEATRECO., POP features Martha Godber (RIGHT, Old Vic Theatre; The Empty Nesters’ Club, John Godber Company) and Sade Malone (BAFTA Scholarship Winner 2017) in an audacious theatrical presentation, mixing music and fashion in an intercultural, funny and tender production.
19th at 9:30pm 20th at 7:00pm 21st at 9:30pm 60 mins £8(£6)
Six lives led against the odds collide in a Manchester bookmaker’s shop. By closing time, one of them is dead. Stephen Dodwell’s darkly comic political drama comes to the intimate, shadowed space of the Pod at the 53Two theatre. Examining issues such as poverty, illness and the impact of the collapse of manufacturing plus the lure of gambling, its narrative nods to the likes of Jim Cartwright and John Cooper-Clarke.
Created by Made it Theatre and featuring a cast from across the North of England, including Pete Gibson who starred in last year’s GM Fringe hit “Bleeding with Mother” staged at 53Two.
24-27th 60 mins £8 7:00pm
THE VERY PERRY SHOW
Written & performed by Kate Perry
Directed by Jeremy Stockwell
The cleanest show in town featuring a pair of glasses, a wooden spoon, some goggles and a can of WD40. A happy hour of funny monologues inspired by people Perry has ‘collected’. An Amish woman with Shoofly Pie envy, an unhinged documentary maker, a pigeon fancier, a celebrity obsessed pensioner, a short-sighted butcher and a six year old ‘entertaining’ a captive audience on a long distance flight. Perry’s hilarious sketches have enthralled audiences in London, Dublin, Edinburgh, San Francisco and New York. Winner of Best Comedy Show, United Theatre Solo Festival, New York, 2017.
‘Perry is a major talent’ Edinburgh Festival Magazine.
‘Comedic genius’ Pocketsizetheatre
‘Refreshing, unpredictable, an absolute pleasure to see’ London Theatre1
24-26th 60 mins £10(£8) 9:30pm
CONSPIRACY THEORY : A LIZARD'S TALE
"Compelling, shocking, essential" - Al Murray
Marlon's a Jew. This didn't bother him much until he discovered that some people he knew didn't believe the Holocaust happened.
From 9/11 to shape-shifting lizards and Holocaust denial, this is a darkly comic tale of one man's journey through the conspiracy underworld.
Marlon explores why conspiracy theories are more popular than ever and how fake news gives fresh currency to ancient slander. A comic tale which is no laughing matter.
*A new, improved and updated version of the highly acclaimed show that premiered at last year's Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.
24-27th 60 mins £9(£6) 7:00pm
FUNNY STUFF #1
An evening of Edinburgh Previews from Manchester's top stand-up comedians!
Brennan Reece: After the sold-out success of Everglow and Everlong, English Comedian of the Year winner, Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and voice of ITV's Survival of the Fittest is back with a lovely story from a loveable boy about loving things. Lovely.
Dan Nightingale: Another great hour of stand-up from of the UK circuits very best (award winning) comedians. Heartfelt, funny and as ever brutally honest this is the story of a huge shift in circumstances for Dan. A little over three years ago he was a single, fairly selfish party man-child/comic and now he lives with his with his wife and small child in a sleepy seaside town, in his Grandparent's old bungalow.
23rd 90 mins £8 7:00pm
FUNNY STUFF #2
An evening of Edinburgh Previews from Manchester's top stand-up comedians!
Following a critically acclaimed UK tour Justin Moorhouse is pleased to announce his highly anticipated return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the premiere of his brand new show. These days Justin’s not certain about anything apart from his uncertainty – Brexit looms, it appears the Cold War is being rebooted and that’s before we begin to worry about what’s happening in America…..closer to home he’s starting to feel redundant as a parent.
Alun Cochrane: YOU. ME. NOW.
Come on then! (To my show) You want some? (Comedy) You wanna go? (Buy a ticket then)
I'll be joking about you, me, and this wonderfully odd time to be alive.
24-27th 60 mins £8 7:00pm
Brian and Tom, together for ten years, would like to have a child, to be as Tom says, ‘a proper family, with two dads‘.
When their friend, Jane, agrees to act as a surrogate, it really seems they can have it all. But after Tom is very reluctantly pressed into finding out about his biological parents, what he discovers will turn their dream of a family, into their worst nightmare.
Nominated for Best New Play, Brighton Fringe 2018. Winners of National GALA Award for Irish Arts and Literature 2017.
28 - 29th (Inc. Matinee 28th) 60 mins £8(£6) 7:00pm (4:00pm)