Bongo’s Bingo is hands-down a cracking night out. Mix up some cocktail pitchers with a rave in a historical hall and you’ve got a recipe for success.
But it’s also more than your average Manchester event. Bongo’s Bingo is mad, unadulterated entertainment: A Year Six disco crossed with an office Christmas party. Only this time, boys and girls are not lingering in opposite corners and the teachers are stood on tables singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ – fuelled up on Woo-Woos and jaeger bombs whilst waving glow sticks.
With Rich Furness and his two hype-men dressed in drag headlining the show, Bongo’s cranks up the volume and turns Albert Hall into an absolute riot.
Bongo’s is always that night-out where ‘that crazy thing’ happened.
During the event we attended, a lad stopped the game and proposed – a gesture greeted by hoots from an auditorium of smashed strangers and awarded with a pat on the back from Rich.
And that’s the best thing about Bongo’s – nothing is off-limits, and no one cares. Everyone is there for one thing and one thing only – to get smashed and have a cracking night out.
Oh, and to play Bingo, of course.
Bongo’s version of bingo is on steroids – and so are the prizes.
Here’s a bit more about what’s involved…
Bongo’s version of bingo is split into five games with three rounds.
First round is won by crossing off just one horizontal row, the second is won by two rows and the third by getting a full house.
Huge numbers flash up on the screen and are read out seriously quickly, so you’ve got to be on the ball. But that also means the more tequila consumed by your competitors, the higher chance of winning the later prizes (just a tip from us).
Then, the steroids kick in. Bongo’s takes a pensioner’s hobby and makes it wild, verging on an X-rated Mad Hatter’s party.
One false call and the crowd shouts “D*ckhead!” repeatedly at you – public humiliation you won’t forget.
Shout “Bingo!” at the same time as someone else, and you’re in for a dance off.
Prizes at Bongo’s range from a box of Coco Pops (sprayed over the crowd) to a life-size cut out of Michael Bublé – that’s right, you could win the king of Christmas himself.
If you’re really lucky, you might even wheel home a new Henry Hoover or a huge set of Disney Princess Barbies. There’s even a karaoke machine up for grabs – if you’re willing to sing for it.
Lucky winners can take home £50, £200 and £1,000 – and all you have to do is get drunk and turn up.
Everyone’s a winner at Bongo’s, though. Singing Take That whilst ordering in another round of shots… it’s a class night out.
Jesus Christ Superstar kicks off massive UK musical tour in Manchester
Celebrated musical Jesus Christ Superstar is finally back out on the road – and its first port of call is right here in Manchester.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit production opened at the Palace Theatre earlier this week, before heading out on a UK tour that will run all the way to August 2024.
In the role of Herod is legendary comedian Julian Clary, whose every word drips with theatrical sarcasm.
Dressed in shimmering robes and a tonne of make-up, it’s like he was born for this role.
But the star of the show, as it should be, is Jesus Christ, played by Ian McIntosh.
He completely dominates the stage even when he’s bumping elbows with a dozen other people, in a musical that’s more rock concert than nativity play.
Jesus Christ Superstar is famed worldwide for its 1970s rock score, with its original production in London running for more than eight years – at the time, the longest-running musical in West End history.
Such was its success that it was even turned into an ITV reality show competition to find the next Jesus, with Ben Forster cast for an arena tour of the show.
Jesus Christ Superstar is produced by David Ian for Crossroads Live and Work Light Productions, featuring lyrics and music by Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The musical follows the final weeks of Jesus’s life, seen through the eyes of Jesus.
And we all know how that ends (not well).
But while the overall plot line is pretty dark (obviously – it’s about the death of Jesus), it’s lightened and brightened with clever details.
There’s the way they throw glitter across his back instead of lashing him with whips, the sparklingly sharp performance from Julian Clary, and that sing-along soundtrack.
Jesus Christ Superstar is as wonderful today as it’s always been.
Every now and again, we get invited down to see some of the best music acts.
And when the opportunity to see Christine and the Queens at Manchester Academy popped up, I jumped at the opportunity.
This is the second stop on Chris’ European and US tour for his new albumPARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE – which is inspired by Tony Kushner’s play, Angels in America – and a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed 2022 album Redcar.
There is a tense air of anticipation for the show to begin, and the stage is dotted with Angelic figures, before Chris starts the show topless – which gets a couple of gasps from the crowd.
The show is split into three parts, reflecting the three elements of the album name. The band puts on a haunting performance, a far-cry from the upbeat, pop-style music that many may have been expecting.
The show definitely splits the crowd, both in who was attending, and in how people were reacting.
Christine and the Queens has a broad reach and diverse audience, with a surprising number of older concert-goers. From the murmurings I could hear around me, some people were hugely-impressed with the entrancing battle on stage between love, pain, and religion, whilst others seemed to be frustrated and disappointed that they weren’t playing the classics.
Me, on the other hand? I was captivated.
Like a moth drawn to a flame, the mesmerising light show and performance from Chris was like something I’ve never come across – and I loved it.
It’s clear that this performance, and the album, is reflective of Chris’ journey with his queerness, recently announcing his new pronouns as he/him. The band itself is named after the drag queens that Chris lived with in his younger years, and a love letter to the way they helped him explore his gender and self.
The performance is a poetic and dramatic exploration of ones’ self, with Chris transitioning between his topless form, to an armoured warrior, and finally becoming an angel himself, and it was magical (if you like that sort of thing).
This new album and tour isn’t going to be for everyone, and if you’re expecting some pop hits, then this isn’t for you.