Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
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.
Love From a Stranger , 20th to 24th March
A whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger sweeps Cecily Harrington off her feet and she recklessly abandons her old life to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound love is not all that he seems… Electric with suspense and with a shocking twist, this edge-of-your-seat, rarely seen thriller by the UK’s greatest crime writer is rediscovered in a brand new production.
The Life of Galileo, 27th to 31st March
Galileo advocates the heretical view that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than standing motionless at the centre of all creation. He faces imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Inquisition as a consequence. He is forced to weigh self-preservation against his mission to establish a new age of science. Brecht’s masterpiece provides powerful drama laced with wry humour. It deals in an accessible way with grand themes, setting them in the context of the emotional relationships of the protagonists caught up in the conflict between dogma and science. It has seldom been more timely as we find ourselves in a ‘post-truth’ era in which ideology is increasingly favoured over facts. OTG returns to the Playhouse with a striking production of this classic, translated by David Hare, one of our greatest contemporary playwrights.
Godspell, 4th to 7th April
A compelling tale of friendship, loyalty and love, this joyous, high-spirited show dramatises the teachings and last days of Jesus in a variety of musical styles including rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and ragtime! It features hit songs including Day by Day, Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord, By My Side, Save the People and All For the Best.
George's Marvellous Medicine, 10th to 14th April
By Roald Dahl. Most grandmothers are lovely, kind, helpful old ladies. Not George’s Grandmother. George’s Grandmother likes to gobble up slugs and bugs, and is always telling George what to do. But one day, when his parents leave him alone with the grizzly old grunion, George takes his chance and sets about creating a brand new medicine to cure her of her cruelty. Little does he know that his perilous potion will be the start of a rather marvellous adventure...
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, 17th to 21st April
Perhaps you’ve seen them floating over a Russian village? Or perhaps you’ve seen her toppling forward, arms full of wild flowers, as he arches above her head and steals a kiss. Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall are immortalised as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history, navigating the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and each other.
Périclès, Prince De Tyr, 24th to 28th April
Périclès is one of Shakespeare’s strangest and most heartrending plays. Périclès navigates a stormy sea of pirates, magicians, brothels, kidnappers, tournaments, plots against his life...and divine intervention from the goddess Diana. Yet this remarkable play has resonance far beyond the time when it was written: today’s Mediterranean is no stranger to appalling and desperate voyages. It is a fable of a man who becomes estranged from those he loves. A man who slowly and miraculously becomes reunited with them, more through fate than by his efforts. It is about the mystery of love, loss and of love rediscovered after a painful and confusing absence. The embers dim and glow in one of the greatest and most moving scenes Shakespeare ever wrote. Incest, treachery, murder, love and joy all explode in this giant theatrical firework... Performed in French with English surtitles.
Travesties, 2nd to 5th May
Ageing diplomatic attaché Henry Carr is desperate to recount the events of Zürich in 1917, where amidst the First World War, revolutionary minds collided: modernist author James Joyce, communist revolutionary Lenin, and founder of Dadaism Tristan Tzara. Fizzing with limericks, razor-sharp wit, and parodies of Oscar Wilde, Travesties tells of political and artistic rebellion through the fractured reminiscences of a man on the side-lines. Tom Stoppard’s extraordinary tumble through fact and fiction is brought to life in an energetic new production by University of Oxford students. In a post-truth world, Travesties’ bold exploration of the appeal of fiction could not be more fitting.
A Streetcar Named Desire, 8th to 12th May
“Every man is a king.” Stanley Kowalski is no exception. Until one summer, when his sister-in-law Blanche comes to stay. Anxious, seductive and fiercely clever, Blanche is just about keeping it together. But her arrival threatens his entire way of life. As the temperature soars and passions intensify, a burning desire threatens to tear their world apart. This bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece is a fiery portrayal of what it means to be an outsider, in a society where we’re all desperate to belong.
A Streetcar Named Desire, 8th to 12th May
Every man is a king. Stanley Kowalski is no exception. Until one summer, when his sister-in-law Blanche comes to stay. Anxious, seductive and fiercely clever, Blanche is just about keeping it together. But her arrival threatens his entire way of life. As the temperature soars and passions intensify, a burning desire threatens to tear their world apart. This bold new revival of Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece is a fiery portrayal of what it means to be an outsider, in a society where we’re all desperate to belong.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 15th to 19th May
The Lyric and Filter’s riotous reinterpretation of one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays comes to Oxford after its critically-acclaimed London and international festival runs. Featuring original live music, this classic tale of young lovers and warring fairies is given a unique and irreverent twist. Don’t miss one of the most exciting and inventive Shakespeare productions of recent years.
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain, 11th to 16th June
Could this be the final curtain for the world’s greatest detective? Sherlock Holmes lives in retirement on the South Coast. He keeps bees, occasionally casts his fly fishing rod, even plays his Stradivarius when the rheumatism allows. All too aware that he’s older and slower, he’s concerned that he might have lost his touch, paranoid that he is an easy target for his enemies. There have been so many over the years. He never truly believed Moriarty - his arch nemesis - died at the Reichenbach Falls. Then Mary Watson (wife of his former associate Dr John Watson) tracks him down. She tells him she has seen her long-dead son, James, through the window of 221B Baker Street, apparently alive and well. Now, Holmes is determined to solve the mystery and confront his own demons at the same time.
84 Charing Cross Road, 18th to 23rd June
Adapted from Helene Hanff’s best-selling book, 84 Charing Cross Road is a tender and heartwarming tale of transatlantic friendship. The bittersweet comedy is based on the extraordinary true story of the remarkable relationship that developed over 20 years between a vivacious New York writer and a London bookseller. Through their exchange of humorous and often intimate correspondence a snapshot of Britain from the post-war 1940s to the swinging 60s is revealed, alongside a touching human story that still deeply resonates today.
Peter Pan, 5th to 7th July
This reimagining of Barrie’s magical story sees John returning from the WW1 battlefields in the early Autumn of 1918 to find No. 14 Kensington Gardens transformed; the Lost Boys, once soldiers, recuperate in the nursery, Michael is an unkempt rascal and Wendy is a suffragist too busy campaigning for votes for women to sew on shadows! All is topsy-turvy until Peter Pan flies through the window to transport them all back to Neverland for a final battle with Hook.
Birdsong, 16th to 21st July
In pre-war France, a young Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their world upside down. As the war breaks out over the idyll of his former life, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him. A mesmerising story of love and courage.
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, 22nd to 25th August
Four terrific tales – one superb show! Under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, these terrific tales are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best-loved titles: Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze. Funky moves, toe tapping tunes and giggles are guaranteed!
The Wipers Times, 3rd to 8th September
In a bombed out building during the First World War in the Belgian town of Ypres (mis-pronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discover a printing press and create a newspaper for the troops. Far from being a sombre journal about life in the trenches, they produced a resolutely cheerful, subversive and very funny newspaper designed to lift the spirits of the men on the front line. Defying enemy bombardment, gas attacks and the disapproval of many of the top Brass, The Wipers Times rolled off the press for two years and was an extraordinary tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Othello, 18th to 22nd September
Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most startlingly contemporary plays – an electrifying thriller and masterful depiction of a life torn apart by prejudice. Venice: a western colonial power employs the newlymarried Othello, a Muslim general, to lead their army against the impending Turkish invasion. The difficulties of fitting into a society riven by discrimination, fear and mistrust soon take their toll on Othello. Manipulated by Iago, his life quickly unravels as he turns on everything he holds dear.
Reviews of Jack and the Beanstalk
24th November 2017 to 7th January 2018.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Beans means vines
Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Oxford Playhouse, until January 7
Steve Marmion's third Oxford Playhouse pantomime is a fast-paced, fun show with a wide appeal. It is also a bold critique of rampant capitalism and social evils.
It is set in the 'medieval' town of Oxford, which is facing huge increases in tariffs from a giant who operates the cloud services for the population. The giant, later introduced as a red-eyed puppet of Donald Trump, rules through his purple-clad lackey Judy Hench (not so much a national treasure as a local disgrace), who plans to flood the city with millions of raindrops. Played by Amrou Al-Kadhi, his comic, bitchy performance is a highlight of the show. With his long legs visible through a slit in his skirt, he snarls at the audience, insulting it, attacking its intelligence (it is Oxford), always displaying a smooth, sharp wit.
The pantomime opens unexpectedly, with a sad, but tuneful number, led by Jack, a Brummie (Ricky Oakley), showing the hero growing up from the age of seven. Different boy actors appear in his patchwork green outfit as Jack ages, and over this time his friends, including special pal Jill (Jennifer Wakefield) are snatched by the giant to work as unpaid slaves in his raindrop factory in the sky. Jack is left with his older sister Simone (Emily Burnett) and his gag-telling northern mother Dame Trott (Paul Barnhill, returning to the Playhouse), whose routines are traditional vaudeville silliness. Her layer cake dress for the finale is worth waiting for. The sweetest voices belong to Rebecca Lucy Taylor, as Fairy Nuff, a pink-dressed rapper and Rebecca Craven as a rather dim goose.
Hannah says: "My favourite character was the fairy because she was telling the audience what was happening.
"My favourite song was Roar.
"The boy-girl person, the baddie in purple, was funny because in the last bit she was wearing the rubber ring and said: 'I should have got a different thing to wear because it's very noisy.' Jack kept saying 'hiya': he was good because he was being nice. The cow was called Jagger and was very, very funny because it wanted to dance."
and HANNAH LEWIS (AGED SIX)
There are reviews from The Stage ("the best cow this panto season... the songs are a highlight... brilliantly engaging theatricality" - 4 stars), the Oxford Times ("sensational... the sets are superb, the costumes excellent, and the whole look of the show is lavish" - 5/5), the Oxfordshire Guardian ("a great start to the festive season thanks to the Oxford Playhouse pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk... if you get the chance, go and enjoy the show"), DailyInfo ("a right rollicking ribtickler, it'll have kids and adults alike guffawing... a good dollop of seasonal fun which will appeal to the whole family").
Cinderella (November 2016)
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.