Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
Pygmalion, 18th to 22nd April
Over one hundred years after it was written, this radical new production explores one of the most celebrated comedies of the 20th century, Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Witness the transformation of Eliza Doolittle in a world where people can be digitally altered within seconds. Through video and sound technology, director Sam Pritchard’s fearless new staging interrogates class identity and social mobility in Britain today and asks us: how much do our voices still define who we are?
Hot Mikado, 26th to 29th April
Oxfordshire Youth Music Theatre presents Hot Mikado, the Olivier Award-nominated jazz and blues adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic Mikado, complete with lindy hops, ukuleles and skateboards! Nanki-Poo, the son of the Japanese Emperor, is masquerading as a musician, hoping to win the heart of the beautiful Yum-Yum. With an eclectic score of jazz, blues and big band music, mistaken identity and mishaps ensue in this lively musical comedy.
Little Shop of Horrors , 3rd to 6th May
On the twenty third day of the month of September, in an early year of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence... Failing florist Seymour would give a hell of a lot to get out of Skid Row. And when one very special plant comes into his life, it’s time for him to decide just how much he’d give... The plant promises Seymour all he could possibly desire, but there’s a catch: it’s hungry, and only one food will do. Will Seymour pay the price for a shot at escaping with the woman he loves, or will he be trapped in his dead-end world forever? With a host of catchy, well-known songs including Suddenly Seymour and Skid Row, don’t miss this Broadway favourite brought to the stage in a vibrant new production by University of Oxford students.
Reduced Shakespeare Company , 8th May, 19:30
William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged). The Reduced Shakespeare Company are back with another barnstormingly irreverent and breathtakingly hilarious celebration of our cultural heritage – as seen through the eyes of three Americans wearing trainers. In a better-late-than-never nod to Will’s 400th anniversary, the bad boys of abridgement present this ‘new’ play by the man himself, as discovered in a Leicester car park! The play, mercifully abridged by the RSC from its full hundred hour running time to a more palatable ninety minutes, embarks on its debut UK tour.
I Capture the Castle, 16th to 20th May
Cassandra is 17. She’s writing a diary about her eccentric family. They are behind with the rent for the tumbledown castle that seemed so romantic when they moved in; the roof is leaking, and the family is surviving on oatcakes and eggs. But the new landlord is a wealthy young American, with an attractive brother. Perhaps things are about to change. Set in the bohemian England of the 1930s, Dodie Smith’s classic coming-of-age story is thrillingly brought to life on stage in this warm, funny and magical new musical.
Cyrano, 23rd to 27th May
Paris, 1640. Cyrano de Bergerac, a brilliant poet and swordsman, finds himself deeply in love with his beautiful cousin Roxane. Each day of his life is lived only for her – every poem he writes, every duel he fights. Despite his dash and his dare, Cyrano is afraid of revealing his true feelings, certain she could never love him in return... for who would love a man with such an enormous nose?
Room on the Broom, 1st to 2nd June
The Witch and her cat are travelling on their broomstick when they pick up some hitch-hikers – a friendly dog, a beautiful green bird and a crazy frog. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – it snaps in two... just as the hungry dragon appears! Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the Olivier Award-nominated show that’s toured Britain and the world!
Golem, 13th to 17th June
Like a giant graphic novel burst into life, 1927 invites you to take a step through the looking glass into a dark and fantastical tale of an extraordinary, ordinary man. Robert’s life is full of dead-end jobs, unrequited love and bedroom-rehearsals for his revolutionary punk band. But when he buys Golem, things change... Golem helps him pick out better clothes, further his career and win the girl of his dreams. Suddenly, everyone wants one. Wouldn’t you? After all, don’t you deserve the best? Blending 1927’s handmade animation, claymation, live music and performance, Golem took audiences and critics by storm when it premiered in 2014 with rave 5-star reviews. It is a dystopian fable for the 21st century, cleverly and satirically exploring one of the great questions of the modern world – who or what is in control of our technologies?
Emma, 20th to 24th June
Young, bright and beautiful, Emma Woodhouse has the world at her feet. When the dashing Mr Elton comes to town she decides to take it on herself to perform the role of matchmaker to her new friend Harriet Smith. But to Emma’s great surprise, the more she tries to manipulate the destinies of others, the less success she has. And she herself, determined never to wed, is forced to face her own feelings and perhaps even dare to love another.
Waiting for God, 27th June to 1st July
Olivier Award-winning actors Roy Hudd (Broadchurch) and Nichola McAuliffe (Lady in the Van) star in this premiere stage production of the BAFTA-nominated Waiting For God. Reimagined for 2017, all your favourite characters are back as they face the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully in the era of the silver surfer. At Bayview Retirement Home, battle-axe extraordinaire Diana Trent conspires with new resident Tom Ballard to give the conniving manager his comeuppance through a hilarious conspiracy with unexpectedly heart-warming results.
Children of the Night, 6th to 8th July
A contemporary re-imagining of Dickens’ classic, Oliver Twist, it explores the journey of a group of young people homeless on the streets of London.
Death of a Salesman, 11th to 15th July
Willy Loman is not as young as he once was, and boy is he feeling it. After half a lifetime on the road, this once successful travelling salesman is unable to keep up in a changing workplace; he’s on the brink of unemployment, and he and his wife have got bills to pay. When his drop-out son Biff moves home again, Willy decides to give success one last shot. Can he prove to everyone he’s got what it takes?
Around the World in 80 Days, 25th to 29th July
The mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his life’s fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. Join Fogg and his loyal valet, Passepartout, as they voyage from the misty alleys of Victorian London to the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in a race against the clock.
Twelfth Night, 25th July to 3rd August at Old Schools Quadrangle, Bodleian Library, Oxford
Set in the 1920s with Europe reeling in the wake of war, Shakespeare’s tale of mistaken identity, mischievous mishaps and misplaced love is accompanied by unforgettable jazz music inspired by the likes of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Brought to life by an ensemble of actor-musicians, this dazzling production balances comedy, romance and live music, showcasing The Watermill’s critically acclaimed bold and playful style in the glorious, historic setting of the Bodleian Quad.
Bring on the Bollywood, 15th to 19th August
New and old collide in this colourful comedy, full of intertwined love stories, dazzling dance and a sensational soundtrack. Bring on the Bollywood takes a love story inspired by real life, filters it through classical comedies from Goldsmith to Shakespeare and infuses it with all the energy of a great Bollywood musical. Come and join Katrina, our headstrong heroine, as she returns to her parents’ home to attend her brother’s wedding. Here she finds a meddling mother, a line of suitors and, just possibly, true love.
The Gruffalo, 22nd to 26th August, daytimes
Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party-mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo! – is there?
The Wipers Times, 22nd to 26th August, daytimes
The extraordinary true story of the satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme. 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 decide to create a newspaper. Defying both authority and gas attacks, it proves a huge success with the troops on the western front.
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?
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.