Spikey starts the fun, Rory brings the Pope

John and Mark: Matthew Howard and Norman Lee Joseph

John and Mark: Matthew Howard and Norman Lee Joseph

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Dave Spikey launches Lancaster’s comedy festival at the city’s Grand Theatre tomorrow night.

Multi award-winning Spikey, who hails from Chorley, remains one of the most sought-after comedians after a career spanning more than two decades.

The following night Rory McGrath and musical partner Philip Pope, bring their show A Bridge Over Troubled Lager – Volume 2 to the Grand. Expect songs, interrupted by the pair’s backchat and bickering.

McGrath – comedy writer, presenter, actor and singer-songwriter started his career at BBC Radio before becoming a mainstay on sports/comedy show They Think it’s all Over.

Philip Pope first appeared at Edinburgh Fringe with the Oxford Revue in the late ‘70s with Angus Deayton, Geoffrey Perkins and Helen Atkinson Wood with whom he then appeared in Radio Active on Radio 4 for seven series.

Box office: 01524 64695 or www.lancastergrand.co.uk

A courtesan and a nobleman... a black bouncer and a white girl in a working-class Yorkshire town... a boy with blades for hands and the all-American Girl Next Door.

The power of love transcends war, family, society, race and status at The Lowry in Salford this month.

East meets West as Akram Khan dances between Britain and Bangladesh in DESH, and Boy Blue present an electrifying fusion of Hip Hop, Manga and Kung-fu.

The Lowry’s partner company Opera North also return with a full autumn season, bringing three contrasting operas to life, all three exploring the price of love and lust.

Opening the season is high-spirited Czech comedy, The Bartered Bride. Next is the world’s most popular romantic opera, La Traviata, and for one performance only, Opera North present Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea.

Matthew Bourne’s magical Edward Scissorhands returns from November 25-29. Based on the classic Tim Burton film, this touching love story first premiered in 2005 and returns to The Lowry for its first major UK revival.

Set in Yorkshire during the race riots of 2001, Frantic Assembly’s Othello is an electrifying take on Shakespeare’s brutal thriller-tragedy.

Lancaster’s imitating the dog also present the first-ever UK stage adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms – which opened at the Dukes last month. Laura Atherton plays the lead role of Catherine Barkley alongside Jude Monk McGowan. Box office: 0843 208 6000 or www.thelowry.com

Following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, UK Beatboxing Champion and star of National Theatre’s Home Grace Savage performs the most unlikely of musicals at the Lowry next Thursday.

Savage is quite literally a mouthpiece for her generation, exploring songs, sounds and statements and the impressions these gradually form on our lives. Blind considers things women overhear, or learn in the playground and asks how this noise affects the people we become. Box office: 0843 208 6010 or www.thelowry.com

Northern Outlet Theatre Company bring their double-bill to Manchester next week.

John And Mark is a new play by George Gunby about a musical legend and his killer. Set in the cell of a New York maximum security prison, the play sees prisoner Mark David Chapman visited by John Lennon; the man he shot dead years earlier outside the Dakota building.

The second play is the UK premiere of Naked Old Man by Tony and Academy Award nominated writer Murray Schisgal performed by Richard Sails, which follows the ageing playwright and co-writer of the film Tootsie, as he is joined for the evening by three of his closest friends, all of whom happen to be deceased.

See both at the Taurus Bar in Manchester next Wednesday and Thursday.

Box office: www.wegottickets.com/NorthernOutlet