As pandemics escalate and politicians prevaricate, group gatherings become ‘terrifyingly intimate’ in themselves, and an evening of music that promises ‘real darkness’ might not be what the doctor ordered. However, an evidently subdued Manchester Collective (who have already had future shows cancelled courtesy of Covid-19), facing the uncertainty and insecurity of so many freelance artists in the current situation, poured their heart and soul into the music of Gesualdo, Britten and Shostakovich to provide an apt soundtrack to the times in which we are currently living.

There have been many a screen to stage adaptation over the years, some working better than others, but tonight in Manchester a capacity audience witnessed the World Premiere of what I believe to be the best adaptation of them all.

Alan Ayckbourn has compared the business of combining comedy and tragedy in his writing to dancing on the edge of a razor blade. This reflects the challenge also faced in presenting one of his works. Over playing of its humorous aspects could undermine its dramatic elements.

Marisha Wallace at the Waterside Arts on her UK tour was a breath of fresh air on a rainy Sunday night! You felt lucky to be in a room with such an immense talent. Mariah Wallace has one of the best voices I have ever heard, with silky tones and insanely powerful vocals that blew me away. She absolutely blew the roof off with a beautiful mix of soulful and Musical Theatre songs.

Filled to the brim with sequins, glitter and sass; Insane Animals take us on a journey from the beginning of time to the future. The shows two glamorous Gods (Bourgeois & Maurice) are on a mission to save humans from extinction.

First performed at the Hampstead Theatre in 2014, playwright James Fritz’s Four Minutes Twelve Seconds resonates even more strongly today than when it first premiered. Now more than ever, information technology dominates our lives, drives our actions, and determines our futures. Behind a screen, you can be who you want to be, say what you want to say, and do whatever you want to do.

'One Good Night' premiered at Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre last night. Written by Aisling Caffrey and directed by Alyx Tole, this one act play explores the topic of rape and sexual assault. Watching it just the night after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape on numerous occasions, it seems more important than ever that these issues are being written and brought to the stage.

As someone only marginally familiar with the world of the Kit Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin, my knowledge of - and appreciation for - the musical phenomenon Cabaret before seeing this production began and ended with Liza Minelli’s spine-tingling rendition of “Maybe This Time” from the 1966 film adaptation.

In Manchester, February is the month for theatrical adaptations of classic Bronte texts, firstly the uneven production of ‘Wuthering Heights’ currently playing at the Royal Exchange. This has been swiftly followed by this more traditional adaptation of the 1847 novel by the oldest sibling, Charlotte, playing at Sale Waterside this week, as part of a UK tour.

If you first encountered Mari Wilson in the early 80s you may be surprised in some ways to see the transformation in her style. Well known for her beehive hairstyle and pencil skirt, memories of one cool lady with a smattering of kitsch about her come flooding back. Fast forward to the current day, she remains one very stylish lady but with more elegance and stage presence in her performance.