I would argue that February showcases some of the best productions yet, but that might only be because I’m definitely obsessed with Les Misérables.
The proof is the pudding with this line up….
Annie @ Opera House
Saturday 2nd – Saturday 16th February
Everyone’s favourite orphan and arguably some of the most notable and revered songs from a musical, Annie comes to Manchester for quite a limited run. Don’t wait until ‘Tomorrow’ to get your tickets!
2084 @ Manchester Central Library
Tuesday 5th – Thursday 14th February
A futuristic retelling of Orwell’s dystopian novel, 20184 is an immersive experience set around the Central Library, placing the audience at the heart of the action. Each person must decide what price they would pay to defy a regime that seeks to control them. 2084 tells the story of two people who defy the regime and find that their intimate secrets are turned against them with shattering consequences.
Mother Courage and her Children @ Royal Exchange Theatre
Friday 8th February – Saturday 2nd March
Brecht’s universally renowned classic with Julie Hesmondhalgh reprising the classic role comes to the beautiful Royal Exchange Theatre, but in a way you’ve never seen it before – a sharper take on Anna Jordan’s work.
SparkPlug @ HOME
Wednesday 13th – Tuesday 19th February
A new play by David Judge, SparkPlug is set in Manchester in 1983 and tells the story of a white man who becomes the adoptive father, mother and best friend of a mixed-race child, David. Inspired by autobiographical events and exploring the playwright’s background as an actor and spoken word artist, SparkPlug is a lyrical and energetic monologue that examines what family means in today’s society.
Billionaire Boy The Musical @ The Lowry
Thursday 14th February – Sunday 17th February
Perfect for half term, this story of Len Spud and his son Joe who become overnight billionaires has been a hit up and down the country for a fair while now. Based on the bestselling book by David Walliams, expect plenty of laughs and tons of songs as Joe learns just how difficult having money can be.
Take On Me @ Broughton Leisure Centre
Friday 15th – Sunday 17th February
Taking place after hours inside Broughton Leisure Centre, Take On Me is set in the 1980’s world of headbands and leg warmers, following a lonely woman coming to the gym for the first time and a lifeguard who has never saved anyone. Expect a wealth of classic 80’s hits including ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ and ‘Flashdance’, as well as a few 80’s film characters making an appearance.
The Full Monty @ Opera House
Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd February
Personally I’d argue the film is Robert Carlisle’s best role (apart from Begby in Trainspotting of course). Now The Full Monty is hitting the Opera House stages! The brainchild of David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, the play has won the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production – one to watch for sure!
Rough Crossing @ The Lowry
Monday 18th February – Saturday 23rd February
This month sees the long-awaited return of Rough Crossing, the tale of two famous playwrights, one jealous composer, an unorthodox waiter, and a mistimed lifeboat drill. This comedy from Academy, Tony and Olivier award-winning writer Tom Stoppard stars John Partridge, Olivier-award nominee Charlie Stemp and a whole host of other zany characters.
Tea & Two Sugars @ 53Two
Tuesday 19th – Friday 22nd February
Penned by two local talents, this funny, touching and powerful tale focuses on two sisters, one of which is diagnosed with cervical cancer. Inspired by true events and verbatim interviews, Tea and Two Sugars looks at sibling experiences, as well as the all too relevant topic of the age of screening and dealing with this terrible disease that affects so many.
Les Misérables @ Palace Theatre
Tuesday 19th February – Saturday 30th March
Now for a special, special one. Les Misérables. Arguably the best musical of all time? I’ll fight to the death with anyone that disagrees. This version, branded Les Mis for the 21st Century, brings to life Victor Hugo’s melancholic and tragic story of the struggles in a 19th Century France in need of a revolution, plus all the painfully sad stories of the main characters, brought to life in wonderful, gut-wrenching, unbelievable songs. If you don’t cry beyond the barricade, there’s something wrong with you.
The Italian Job (with live orchestra) @ Bridgewater Hall
Tuesday 19th February
They’ve only gone and blown the bloody doors off at Bridgewater Hall, showcasing The Italian Job with a live score. An iconic British film with an even more iconic soundtrack.
A Skull in Connemara @ Oldham Coliseum
Friday 22nd Febraury – Saturday 9th March
Written by BAFTA and Academy Award-winning writer Martin McDonagh, who has penned such modern classics as In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – A Skull in Connemara has been described as “Quentin Tarantino meets Father Ted”. Catch it at the Oldham Coliseum this February (and March).
The Abandoned Room presents Dynamo @ The Lowry Hotel
Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd February
That wee magician from Bradford that everybody loves is gracing the Lowry Hotel with a few magic tricks and slights of hand etc. Only joking, he’s one of the UK’s top magicians who will have you gasping and applauding in equal measure.
Motown – The Musical @ Opera House
Tuesday 26th February – Saturday 23rd March
Prepared to be moved while you sing and shake to the story behind how Motown came to be. Motown The Musical follows the struggles, relationships and history behind the music we all know and love.
The Last Yankee @ Bolton Library Theatre
Thursday 28th February – Saturday 16th March
Arthur Miller’s examination of relationships, fatherhood, addiction and mental illness heads to the Bolton Library Theatre this month, courtesy of the Bolton Octagon. It’s a funny, compassionate play about the difficulties you can face as people struggle with depression and addiction to prescription drugs. It’s been called by The Guardian; “A first rate play … unbearably moving … a political play with a strong human texture.”