A sucker born every minute in Manchester

Brian Conley as the legendary showman P.T. Barnum
Brian Conley as the legendary showman P.T. Barnum

The laughs are on Preston this weekend with two top comedians bringing their latest shows to town.

The delightfully leftfield Dave Gorman leads the charge at the Charter Theatre on Friday night when he Gets Straight to the Point.

The innovative mind behind Modern Life Is Goodish (Dave TV), Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack Adventure has a new live show that promises more of his unique blend of stand-up comedy and visual story-telling.

This time it’s in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. But before anyone nods off it follows the phenomenal success of his critically-acclaimed UK Tour, Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation, which included a sold-out five-night run at London’s Southbank Centre.

On Sunday night it’s the turn of Jon Richardson to take over the venue. as his most recent TV outing showed the perennial singleton and misanthrope is determined to become a more easygoing person for the sake of his friends and his future health.

Away from his live stand-up, the British Comedy Award 2013 nominee is best known as team captain on 8 Out Of 10 Cats. Box Office: 0844 844 7710 www.prestonguildhall.com

Audiences at the Continental in Preston will be left in the dark next Friday and Saturday by a unique sound journey coming to the city venue.

Fiction is theatre experience through complete darkness that plays on the senses, and undermines theatre convention. At times unnerving, it invites its audience to travel through the sprawling architecture of their dreams.

The show is the second collaboration between director David Rosenberg, co-founder of Shunt and director of Electric Hotel, and writer/novelist Glen Neath, whose previous work includes Romcom and The Bench, which have been performed in 14 countries to date. They previously worked together on Ring, which won acclaim from audiences and critics alike, and was a hit at The Continental on Fuel’s 
previous visit there in 2012.

By setting Fiction in complete darkness, with the audience wearing headphones, Rosenburg explores ways of creating an alternative reality, building on his previous use of technology and sound in earlier works. Box office: 01772 499 425, 01772 253 731 or online from Skiddle & SEE Tickets.

A dazzling new production of the classic musical Barnum, starring Brian Conley as the legendary showman P.T. Barnum, comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester next week.

Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre’s production will also star Linzi Hateley as Chairy.

The musical follows the irrepressible imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, America’s Greatest Showman.

The story of his life and marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who saw the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and reveals she was the practical one who made Barnum’s dreams come true.

Cy Coleman’s exuberant score includes the hits Come Follow The Band, The Colours Of My Life and There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute.

Conley, above, is one of the UK’s most versatile actors and performers. He most recently scored a success as Fagin in the national tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver!

Barnum was a smash-hit when it opened on Broadway in 1980. Starring Glenn Close and Jim Dale, it won three Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award. When Barnum opened at the London Palladium in 1981 Michael Crawford took the lead, winning an Olivier for his performance.

It runs in Manchester from Tuesday to November 15. Box office: 0844 871 3019 or www.atgtickets.com/manchester.