Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
Blithe Spirit, 14th to 18th March, 19:30 and 14:30 on Saturday
The master comic playwright, Noël Coward’s famous play makes sparkling use of his arch wit to examine a most unusual domestic dispute… When charming socialite and author, Charles, hosts a séance, he never expected it to work – let alone summon up the spirit of his first wife! Beautiful, seductive and a tad vengeful, Elvira is intent on winning Charles back. But his new wife, Ruth, isn’t giving up without a fight. Ghosts, gasps and other-worldly wit abound in this ‘spirited’ comedy. An Oxford Theatre Guild production.
La Strada, 20th to 25th March
The story of wide-eyed Gelsomina, who is sold by her penniless mother to Zampano, a travelling sideshow strongman, unfolds as they journey through the Italian countryside performing for their keep. Their perilous road trip leads them to a ragtag travelling circus where they meet Il Matto, the tightrope walker, who rekindles Gelsomina’s spirit with a new found confidence. In this much-anticipated new stage production, Fellini’s profoundly impassioned and deeply involving story is sure to stimulate the senses, fire your emotions and stir the soul.
Jane Eyre, 31st March to 1st April
A vibrant, physical production of an enduring classic. Charlotte Brontë’s tale of the orphan Jane Eyre and her journey of self-discovery through injustice and betrayal is known the world over. This adaptation, by the award-winning Polly Teale (Shared Experience), explores the restraints imposed upon women in the Victorian period. Discover what happens when an independent spirit rebels against the status quo to demand a more passionate life of her own.
Abigail’s Party, 3rd to 8th April
It’s 40 years since the appalling Beverly first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesy-pineapple sticks, plied her guests with alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos and slow-danced her way across the shag-pile into theatrical history. The drinks party from hell begins when she and husband Laurence invite round new neighbours, Tony and Ange, along with nervous divorcee Sue; jittery about the bash her teenage daughter, Abigail, is throwing up the road. As that party reportedly gets out of hand, this one too descends into chaos, and comedy, as drama and tragedy combine into an iconic piece of theatre.
Fantastic Mr Fox, 11th to 15th April
Boggis, Bunce and Bean are three smelly, horrid farmers who all really hate the cunning Mr Fox. Mr Fox is smart, clever and rather fantastic, but he doesn’t realise how determined the farmers are to get him. Can he hatch a plan to save his family and friends? Can they outrun the diggers and keep one step ahead of the terrible trio? And can Rabbit shut up for long enough to not give the game away?
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?
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.
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.