Greater Manchester Fringe Festival: Our top comedy picks

John Stansfield
Comedians Norris & Parker

Our comedy picks from the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2016 – including Norris & Parker, Robin Ince and Ria Lina.

Fast Fringe at The Dancehouse

Chortle’s ‘Fast Fringe’ is a selection of quick, digestible three-minute appearances from stand ups readying themselves for the Edinburgh arts festival in August. Now taking over The Dancehouse in Manchester, go see this flock of talented performers fly by your eyes with their best snippet from their longer shows. Highlights include Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Phil Ellis, Brennan Reece and Chortle Student Comedian of the Year Andy Field. All held ably together by compere Justin Moorhouse, this is a chance to see twenty or so acts for less than a pound a pop. Fri 24 June, 8pm, tickets £15/£12

Ria Lina at Kings Arms

Not one to shy away from the provocative, American stand-up Ria Lina has a tendency to dive head first into the more risqué side of comedy, offending as many people as she possibly can with a scattergun approach. Here though she pens a letter to her young daughter ‘just in case the unthinkable happens and she’s not able to see her grow up’, showing a more tender side – but still one that isn’t afraid of the darker edges of parental advice. Mon 4 & Tue 5 July, 9pm, tickets £6

Norris & Parker at 3MT and King’s Arms

Norris & Parker return once more to the Greater Manchester Fringe for not one but two previews of their brand new show ‘See You At The Gallows’, continuing their love affair with both the festival and the macabre after super successful outings with their previous show ‘All Our Friends Are Dead’. The sketch duo take on musicals, reality TV and bizarre characters for dark comedic gold in the vein of Julia Davis or The League of Gentleman. Not for the faint of heart. 3MT, Wed 6 July, 8pm, tickets £7; Kings Arms, Thu 21 July, 7.30pm, tickets £6

Robin Ince at Soup Kitchen

Though his self imposed two year ‘retirement’ may not technically come to an end until July of next year, Robin Ince still has a lot on his mind, and sometimes he just has to get it out. So this rare stand-up show from his wonderful brain currently in exile is a welcome treat especially at as unique a venue as Soup Kitchen. Here with ‘Fury, Joy and Digression’ this new show (one of only 7 this year) is sure to touch on the professional paranoia that caused him to stand down from standing up as well as what he might find in the weirder recesses of his brilliant mind. Tue 12 July, 8pm, tickets £8

Chris Kehoe at Gullivers

One of the great things about this Fringe festival is that it gives up-and-coming acts that might not have the money (or spare month) to go to Edinburgh for all of August a chance. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, with ‘green’ comedians speaking for an hour on half formed ideas – but with Chris Kehoe you get the sense of something greater. In an increasingly bleak world, satire has becoming a dying comedic art form, perhaps due to events being so absurd that they barely seem worth riffing on; Kehoe, however, mines current affairs intelligently for great laughs. One definitely to watch for the future. Thu 14 July, 9pm, free

Culture Guides

The Bull and the Moon at Instituto Cervantes


With spring’s indecisive weather in mind, we’ve pulled together a whole load of fun indoor and outdoor family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the North.

Poet Helen Mort.


Spring is making an entrance in live literature land with some extra special festival events, writing walks, online launches and in real life readings from local writers as well as international talent.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.