Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
Things I Know to be True, 27th to 30th September
As beautifully touching as it is funny and bold, it tells the story of a family through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations. Parents Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and, with their four children grown and ready to fly the nest, it might be time to relax and enjoy the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths. Featuring Frantic Assembly’s celebrated physicality, Things I Know To Be True is a complex and intense study of the mechanics of a family that is both poetic and brutally frank.
People, Places and Things, 11th to 14th October
Emma was having the time of her life. Now she’s in rehab. Her first step is to admit that she has a problem. But the problem isn’t with Emma, it’s with everything else. She needs to tell thr truth. But she's smart enough to know that there's no such thing. When intoxication feels like the only way to survive the modern world, how can she sober up?
Bacchae, 18th to 21st October
The god Dionysos has come to the city of Thebes, where Pentheus rules with cool composure. The young king seeks to ban all worship of his cousin Dionysos, whom he insists is a fake divinity. Little does he know: the god is watching his every move. Dionysos turns the women of the city mad, and plays cat and mouse with Pentheus. Things are about to change. Euripides’ Bacchae, performed and translated ceaselessly since its first production in the 5th century BCE, tells a story of divine revenge. This version, performed in the original Ancient Greek (with English subtitles) explores the boundaries between masculine and feminine, individual and community, human and divine.
Rita, Sue and Bob Too, 24th to 28th October
Best friends Rita and Sue get a lift home from married Bob after babysitting his kids. When he takes the scenic route and offers them a bit of fun, the three start a fling that each of them think they control. Andrea Dunbar’s semi-autobiographical play, written for the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 when she was just 19, is a vivid portrait of two girls caught between a brutal childhood and an unpromising future, both hungry for adult adventure.
Driving Miss Daisy, 30th October to 4th November
In Atlanta 1948, the prickly 72-year-old Jewish widow, Daisy Werthan, crashes her car. Deemed too old to drive, her son hires her a chauffeur, an African-American named Hoke Colburn. Daisy and Hoke’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but as times change across the course of a 25-year backdrop of prejudice, inequality and civil unrest, a profound and life-altering friendship blossoms.
Candide, 8th to 11th November
All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds… In the fairy-tale town of Thunder-ten-Tronckh, Candide is taught that all is for the best. However, after being cast out into the harsh realities of the world, our hero is exposed to a comic array of injustice and misfortune, calling into question his optimistic philosophy. Based on the famous work by Voltaire, this Grammy award-winning musical from Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, brings the satire to life. Inspired by Monty Python, this playful production journeys across the globe with Candide, enjoying the absurd contrasts between the bright musical style and farcically tragic chain of events.
As You Like It, 14th to 18th November
Shakespeare’s poetic and irresistibly funny comedy of mistaken identity and love. Set in the modern world of alternative facts and fiercely jealous leaders, the young Rosalind and her friend Celia find themselves pawns in a power struggle. Together they decide to flee the city and its politics for the forest where they discover a countryside wonderland of peace and harmony. Disguised as a boy, Rosalind meets Orlando and, amidst the intoxicating atmosphere of the forest, counsels him in the art of love.
Jack and the Beanstalk, 24th November to 7th January
Scale new heights with Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse's spectacular family pantomime for 2017. After getting into humungous trouble with his mother for selling their hapless cow for a handful of beans, Jack's dreams come true when they start to grow… and grow… and GROW. Join him on the adventure of a lifetime as he outwits the giant and is reunited with his childhood sweetheart Jill...all with a little help from his friends…and you, of course! Add into the mix hilarious jokes, lots of sparkle and bucket loads of music and dancing - fabulous festive fun is to be had by all. So go on, get practising your boos and hisses and cheer for our Jack as he climbs to the top of the beanstalk. Who knows what surprises he will face but there is only one thing that’s for sure – it'll be the best panto in the land.
The Kite Runner, 5th to 10th February
This haunting tale of friendship follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. Based on the bestselling novel, The Kite Runner begins in Afghanistan, a divided country on the verge of war where two childhood friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and the skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite flying tournament. But neither boy can foresee the terrible incident which will shatter their lives forever.
The Winslow Boy, 12th to 17th March
Terence Rattigan’s classic family drama. Having been expelled from the Royal Navy College for stealing a five-shilling postal order, young cadet Ronnie Winslow’s entire family are pulled apart by the repercussions of his charge. Set against the values of 1910 Edwardian London, the Winslow family fight to clear his name or face social ostracism as the case becomes a national scandal. Based on a real-life event, The Winslow Boy is a courageous and often delicately humorous window into the class and political hypocrisy of the time.
Reviews of Cinderella
25th November 2016 to 8th January 2017.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Ace show beats Trump
Oxford Playhouse's Cinderella has the comedy and spirit of the fringe
Cinderella, at the Oxford Playhouse, until Sunday, January 8
Soho Theatre director Steve Marmion's second Oxford Playhouse pantomime Cinderella is a joyful fusion of pop songs and traditional fare. It boasts a fringe aesthetic by casting Edinburgh comedy award winners alongside actors who have trained in physical theatre. In a year that has lost so much musical talent, Marmion included prominent tributes to David Bowie and, since this is Cinderella, Prince.
There are topical jokes about Brexit, where somehow 'phone with no charge' is rhymed with Nigel Farage. It's inevitable that Cinderella's truly evil character is Donaldina Trumpetta (Julia Innocenti), a part created by Marmion before Trump was elected president.
As last year, Liz Cooke has designed sumptuous backcloths, often containing witty, subtle homages to Oxford such as the Four Kindles pub (already a Two Ronnies joke, the Four Candles). These little details matter for local authenticity.
The stand-out star is Rochelle Rose, who has grown in stature since she performed as the Spirit of the Ring in last year's Playhouse panto. She's a Cinderella who worries, like many teenagers, about her body image, and you care more about her because she comes across as a person, not a stock character. Rose has a wonderful rapport with the audience as she expertly pays homage to Beyoncé with Marmion's versions of Single Ladies and Crazy in Love. She plays well opposite the super-cool Prince Charming (Max Olesker).
As Cinderella's stepsisters, Arthur (Stephen Ventura) and Martha (Joe Alessi) are pantomime dames without the corrosive humour that often cheapens pantomimes. They are both very entertaining, and somehow natural in their overblown outfits. Their jokes come at speed, balloons inflating their busts while belting out The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin's Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves.
Hannah said: "I liked the cat, Dandini (Lucy McCormick), because she is so funny. She wore the Prince's clothes and he was wearing the cat's fur clothes. People will think she really was the Prince.
"And I liked the mouse. Buttons (Matt Ralph), with his big bottom. I laughed a lot when he was holding a pumpkin for no reason at all. Everything was fantastic."
and HANNAH LEWIS (AGED FIVE)
There are reviews from The Stage ("High wattage pantomine that honours tradition while also remembering it’s 2016... an up-to-date seasonal treat" - 4 stars), Oxford Daily Info ("a jolly good laugh and a show that actually represents Great Britain today: colourful, creative, crazy, and unapologetically amused by its own ridiculousness... In short, go. You will have fun").
Aladdin (November 2015)
Beauty and the Beast (December 2014)
Robin Hood (November 2013)
Dick Whittington, 30th November 2012 to 13th January 2013. See the reviews in the Archive.
Mother Goose, 2nd December 2011 to 15th January 2012. See the reviews in the Archive.
Cinderella, 3rd December 2010 to 16th January 2011. See the reviews in the Archive.
Jack and the Beanstalk, 4th December 2009 to 17th January 2010. See the review in the Archive.
Sleeping Beauty, 5th December 2008 to 18th January 2009. See the review in the Archive.
Aladdin, 30th November 2007 to 13th January 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Dick Whittington, 1st December 2006 to 14th January 2007. See the review in the Archive.
Cinderella, December 2005. See the review in the Archive.
Guys and Dolls, by Oxford Operatic Society, 21st to 26th November 2005. See the review in the Archive.
Peter Pan, December 2004. See the review in the Archive.
For more details
see the Playhouse's web site at www.oxfordplayhouse.com.