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North West Theatre Highlights this Autumn

From show-stopping musicals that dazzle and amaze, to the most intimate performances in pubs and even in the street, the North West has plenty to offer its audiences and these next few months are no different. From singing schoolgirls to Shakespeare’s masterpieces re-imagined, Carlie Hedmann lists ten productions to take note of this Autumn.

1) Matilda the Musical – Palace Theatre, 18 September - 24 November

‘EASILY THE STANDOUT MUSICAL OF THE DECADE’ - Sunday Times

‘THE QUEST FOR A GREAT NEW MUSICAL IS OVER’ - Evening Standard

Matilda is a very special girl, stuck with two cruel parents who refuse to let her imagination grow. Dreaming of a better life, one full of curiosity, she stands up against these obstacles and takes her destiny into her own hands.

Dazzling audiences since 2009, Matilda is a wonder of a show, and promises to be an absolutely wicked night out for the entire family.

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2) Ovo (Cirque Du Soleil) Manchester Arena, 26 - 30 September

Featuring 50 performing artists from 17 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts, Ovo promises to be a spectacle from start to finish. Based in an ecosystem full of insects that flip, tumble and somersault, a mysterious giant egg suddenly appears, disrupting their daily lives. The show also stars British gymnast Alanna Baker – who was crowned European Champion in 2011, and won a bronze in the World Championships in 2012 - as ‘The Black Widow’.

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3) The Lovely Bones – The Everyman Theatre, 25 September - 6 October

★★★★ ‘A mesmerising spectacle’ - The Telegraph

The stage premiere of Alice Sebold’s famous novel comes to the Everyman. Susie Salmon is just like every other girl – she loves charms bracelet, fancies a boy from her school – except that she has been murdered. Unable to simply watch, Susie is desperate to contact them and help them move on – and she might just have found a way.

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4) Macbeth (The National Theatre) – The Lowry Theatre, 29 September - 6 October

Following the success of War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the same team re-imagine and re-invent Macbeth, bringing it to the Lowry after a sell out run in London.

Following a bloody and brutal civil war, Rory Kinnear’s Macbeth is fighting for the crown in a bloodthirsty post-apocalyptic world that is full of darkness at every turn.

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5) Lost Dogs’ Romeo and Juliet – The Lowry, 2 October

★★★★ ‘Glorious. Full of warmth and intimacy.’ - The Independent

The second of the Bard’s plays on this list, Lost Dog’s version of the lover’s tale sees them surviving and thriving – well, kind of. In the midst of a mid-life crisis, the lovers feel as if they are under pressure to be the ‘poster couple’ in love and are seemingly haunted by the passion of their teenage selves. Despite their therapist’s best efforts to stop them, they decide the best way to get out of this rut is to stage a play – about themselves.

Combining dance, theatre and comedy this production looks at a cultural obsession with youth and all our issues surrounding longevity.

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6) The Guilty Feminist Live (Manchester Podcast Festival) – The Dancehouse, 7 October

The first ever Manchester Podcast Festival is on its way, and its bringing with it live episodes from a whole host of the most listened to podcasts that are currently streaming today.

“Hilarious, irreverent, eternally surprising, classy as hell, genius.” - Phoebe Waller-Bridge, The Guardian

Included in that is award winning comedian Deborah Frances-White, as they record a live version of her podcast ‘The Guilty Feminist’ (which since 2016 has been downloaded over 40 million times!). Join her and a number of special guests as they discuss topics that ‘all 21st century feminists agree on’, whilst discussing their thoughts, doubts and any underlying guilt when tackling these topics.

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7) The Pride – Hope Mill Theatre, 16 - 20 October

“It was the first time, when we were together, when we were embracing that I felt that I had a pride. A pride for the person I was.” Oliver – The Pride

Green Carnation Company present their interpretation of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s powerful debut play. The Oliver from 1958 loves Philip, but Philip is married to Sylvia. The Philip from 2008 loves Oliver, but Oliver is addicted to sex with strangers. Sylvia loves them both. Flitting back and forth between the years, this piece examines changing attitudes towards sexuality, exploring gay pride, intimacy, identity and the courage required to simply be you.

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8) Orbit Festival – HOME, 23 October - 3 November

Orbit Festival 2018 is a twelve day festival led by a number theatre makers from across the globe, exploring who we are; how we face the world, our relationship with the past, how we remember, the stories we tell ourselves and what it is that makes us who we are today.

Throughout the festival there are a variety of performances; Dante or Die’s ‘User not Found’ explores what happens to us digitally after we die. Audiences will be given a smartphone and a pair of headphone to watch the performance through. Tangram Theatre’s A Hundred Different Words for Love’ and Antler Theatre’s ‘Lands’ explore relationships and communication. I would personally recommend ‘Windows of Displacement’ by Akeim Toussaint Buck, a staggering solo performance that combines dance, spoken word and song to explore themes of immigration and refuge, using his own experiences as a Jamaican immigrant, struggling to get British citizenship.

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A festival pass is available on the website that allows entry to all the shows.

9) Show, choreographed by Hofesh Schecter – HOME, 31 October - 3 November

“There is no sitting in thoughtful contemplation at a Shechter gig. For pure, heart-pounding excitement, there is simply no one to touch him.” - Daily Express

After a sell out run in January with ‘Grand Finale’, Hofesh Schecter returns to HOME with ‘Show’, a riotous and energetic performance in three acts (The Entrance, Clown and Exit). It follows a group of performers, almost anarchic in nature, as they all take their roles in circus that invites comedy, murder and desire. Pulsing with energy, an almost gig like atmosphere is created, as the dancers throw themselves around the stage with reckless abandon. For any fans of dance, this is something that you can’t afford to miss.

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10) Benidorm – The Palace Theatre, 26 November - 1 December

The Neptune is coming to the Palace! Swapping Sangria for the stage, the TV favourite is making its stage debut in 2018 with Benidorm- live! Bringing all the favourite guests and staff members from the Solana to audiences across the nation, show creator Darren Litten has written a whole number of new escapades for the cast members.

Cast members include - Jake Canuso (Mateo), Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline), Adam Gillen (Liam), Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage), Shelley Longworth (Sam), Tony Maudsley (Kenneth)

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