Greater Manchester FringeLGBTQPreview

MANC MINI: Grand Dame Theatre – The Lionheart Phantom

Our Manc Mini series offers short, witty and slightly tongue-in-cheek insights into the offerings at the North West’s largest arts festival. Tess Humphrey of Grand Dame Theatre, tells us about their showThe Lionheart Phantom, which they will be performing at The Castle Hotel.


How would you describe your show in one sentence?

A family farce about a down-on-its-look gay bar, whose fortunes turn around when people start to believe it is haunted.

Is this your first visit to the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, if so what interesting tales have you been told about what to expect?

Yep, this is our first time out! We know it’ll be pretty tough to pull in audiences and make each show a great one, but we’re determined. Grand Dame’s director and I were talking about how great it would be if GM Fringe was as big as Edinburgh Fringe one day – come on thesps, let’s make it happen!

How has the show developed on the way to the Greater Manchester Fringe?

We did this show initially at Salford Arts Theatre, where the director added a child actor, a song, a drag queen and a hamster. Obviously, we’ve had to streamline it for the Fringe because shows are shorter there with less time to set up, so only the hamster made the cut. Our director is fabulous though, for pretty much every line he’s added a little bit of action that makes it twice as hilarious. The Wrecking Ball parody is my favorite.

How have you been preparing for the Greater Manchester Fringe?

Writing, mainly, and bolstering our social media presence up through my new blog The Write Stuff. It’s getting decent numbers of views now; I talk about theatre, writing and personal stuff, I try to be intellectually engaging.

What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?

This is kind of set in a world where being gay is the norm, and a young man has to come out as straight to his mothers. We play with stereotypes like that, so it’s traditional gender-based comedy in a brand new way.

What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Festival (apart from your own!)?

A Holiday From What? “faced with the tundra of the blank page, the soul-sucking self-doubt and the slow descent into madness as he tries desperately to find another topic to write about” – haha! That’s a writer’s life.

If your show was a biscuit what type of biscuit would it be and why?

A Jammy Dodger: crunchy traditional biscuit of farce, with a tender jammy heart of acceptance and love.

Dates and times: 11 &12July, 7.30pm

Ticket prices: £6

Venue: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE

Box Office Details:

Company Twitter: @GdTheatreco

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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