Disabled actor and comedian Mat Fraser stars in the premiere of Group K's Presto - Or the Secret Life of Swift and Gulliver. The physical theatre production, which opened last night (26 September 2002) at Manchester's Royal Exchange, now embarks on a 15-venue UK tour, culminating in a limited London season at Riverside Studios from 5 to 23 November 2002.

Presto - devised by the Group K company from a script drafted by director Patrick Kealey and dramaturg Athena Mandis - is as much about 17th-century propagandist Jonathan Swift as his most famous novel Gulliver's Travels. The piece is set the night before Swift, alone and dying, faces a tribunal to assess his sanity. As his mind unravels, past and present, private and public, fantasy and reality, converge.

Fraser, who plays Swift/Gulliver, is the star of TV's Freak Out, Metrosexuality and Born Freak as well as his own one-man stage show Sealboy Freak.

Presto is designed by Ruth Finn and features a specially commissioned electronic sound score composed by Saulyos Chyamolonskas and Martin Stiksel from NBAW.

Following Manchester, the production visits Ormskirk, Jersey, Peterborough, Darlington, Bristol, Portsmouth, Huddersfield, Alsager, Derby, Aldershot, Uley and Alnwick ahead of London's Riverside Studios.

- by Terri Paddock