Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
The Habit of Art, 24th to 29th September
Alan Bennett portrays a meeting between the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. Exploring friendship, rivalry and heartache this multi-layered masterpiece examines the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity.
Women in Power, 3rd to 6th October
350 BC. Athens. The country is in political turmoil. Recent wars and alliances have left Athenians no option but to take radical action: a government of women! Praxagora masterminds and leads a daring coup d’état, outlining her utopian vision of total equality to her crowd of cross-dressing collaborators: a world where power imbalance is eradicated and with it debt, greed and theft. But this has unintended and hilarious consequences. Based on Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen.
Rhondda Rips it Up, 9th October, 19:30
My Ladies, Lords and Gentlemen! WNO cordially invites you to the World Premiere of the rip-roaring, uproarious musical comedy Rhondda Rips It Up! created for your delectation by the illustrious Ms Elena Langer (composer and suffragette) and the inimitable Ms Emma Jenkins (librettist and suffragette). Join us on an unforgettable journey through the life and adventures of unsung heroine of the Welsh Suffrage movement, Margaret Haig Thomas, the Viscountess Rhondda. In this thigh-slapping romp through the world of suffrage and song, told through the lens of music-hall, you will be guided through the story by our very own Emcee (Lesley Garrett) following the escapades of Lady Rhondda (Madeleine Shaw) and her brave battalion of suffragettes as they fearlessly takes on Peers, politicians and post-boxes in their struggle for women’s rights.
The Threepenny Opera, 17th to 20th October
The coronation is approaching, London is restless, and no-one is safe from the corrupt Mr and Mrs Peachum. But their daughter is nowhere to be found, the police are stuffing their pockets, and rumour has it that a certain crook has come home: Mack the Knife is back in town. In the 90th year since its premiere, prepare yourself for an arresting display of grit, wit, blood, sex and politics, punctuated with Weill’s timeless score and Simon Stephens’ bold new adaptation of Brecht’s libretto.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, 24th to 27th October
The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger! Join the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! A stunning stage adaptation of the classic tale of teatime mayhem... expect to be surprised! Age guideline 3+
Shakespeare In Love, 30th October to 3rd November
Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block... the deadline for his new play - a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter - is fast approaching, he’s struggling to finish the first line of a sonnet and he’s in dire need of inspiration. Then he meets the beguiling Viola de Lesseps, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant. Viola is prepared to do anything – including risking the frosty disapproval of Queen Elizabeth I - to fulfil her illicit dream of performing on the London stage and pursuing a passionate affair with the greatest playwright of the age.
Wise Children, 13th to 17th November
It’s 23 April, Shakespeare’s birthday. In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance - twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 70th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all... A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and pain, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, mischief and mistaken identity - and butterflies by the thousand.
Dick Whittington and His Cat, 23rd November to 6th January
Join us for a pirate, pussycat and rat-packed panto party! Dick Whittington’s heading to town to seek his fortune – he’s heard the streets are paved with gold. But when he gets there, it’s hard to see the gold beneath the grime and King Rat is out to get him! And that’s just the start of his adventures. With his trusty cat in tow and pirate ships on the horizon, Dick’s going to need a little help from you if he’s going to win the day.
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.