Beaumont Street, Oxford. A map is here.
BT Studio productions are here.
The Oxford Playhouse is closed until 29th March
The Woman in Black, 16th to 21st March
A lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a Woman in Black engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It all begins innocently enough, but then, as they reach further into his darkest memories, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds.
Alone In Berlin, 24th to 28th March
This timely story follows Otto and Anna as they negotiate the insidious effects of absolute power on every aspect of daily life. When they decide to make a stand in their own unique way they find themselves players in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Gestapo – a game that will eventually lead them down through ever-narrowing circles of totalitarian hell.
Doctor Faustus, 31st March to 2nd April
Faustus. A brilliant scholar and man of learning. So clever he can conjure up the devil. Absolute knowledge, infinite power, sorcery and magic are all within his reach. But in return, he must give up his soul. An Oxford Playhouse 17|25 Young Company production.
Room on the Broom, 4th to 5th April
The witch and her cat are travelling on their broomstick when they pick up some hitchhikers – a friendly dog, a beautiful green bird and a frantic frog. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – it snaps in two... just as the hungry dragon appears! Will there ever be room on the broom for everyone? Find out in the magical Olivier Award nominated show for everyone aged 3 and up.
Chess, 8th to 11th April
Competitive gamesmanship, super power politics and passionate liaisons combine in a gripping story set against a background of the Cold War. An arrogant American and an earnest Russian meet at a high-stakes international championship in a show full of shadowy intrigue and romantic rivalries.
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, 13th to 15th April
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! This delightful production is the perfect treat for all ages!
The Birthday Party, 21st to 25th April
Harold Pinter’s most popular and widely performed play comes to Oxford in this dramatic new re-imagining. Set in a dilapidated seaside boarding house, the mysterious Stanley Webber receives a visit from two sinister strangers, Goldberg and McCann. They arrive on Stanley’s birthday – or is it? What do they want and why do they want to turn Stanley’s quiet world upside down?
The Cherry Orchard, 28th April to 2nd May
When Madame Ranevsky returns to her family estate after an absence of five years, the cherry orchard is as glorious as ever. But unpaid debts and family strife have brought her ancestral home to the brink of ruin. The tide of change is coming, and a civilised and complacent culture is on the brink of collapse. An Oxford Theatre Guild production.
I Think We are Alone, 5th to 9th May
Two sisters are estranged and bicker over text. Their brittle and aggressive language is pushing them further apart when what they really want is to meet, clear the air and talk about the events that happened when they were young girls and haunt them still. Josie is not allowing grief to get in the way. All of her focus is on what is best for her son, Manny. She desperately wants him to fly but can she let him go? There is a person shaped hole in Graham’s heart and it is driving him to some dark places. When a stranger returns an act of kindness both find themselves opening up and connecting in a way that might just bring a bit of light in.
Giraffes Can't Dance, 29th to 31st May
Gerald the Giraffe has a tall, thin neck and long, slim legs. He’s great at reaching the highest shoots on the tallest trees, but he’s not so good at dancing. Now the annual Jungle Dance is just around the corner, and Gerald is longing to join the waltzing warthogs, rock’n’rolling rhinos and cha-cha cha-ing chimps on the dancefloor. But everyone knows that giraffes can’t dance… or can they?
The Kite Runner, 9th to 13th June
Afghanistan is a country on the verge of war and best friends are about to be torn apart. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul, the skies are full of colour and the streets are full of the excitement of a kite flying tournament, but no one can foresee the terrible incident that will shatter their lives forever.
A Bunch of Amateurs, 9th to 13th June
Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that this is not the birthplace of Shakespeare, but a sleepy Suffolk village. And instead of starring alongside Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast are a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from ruthless developers. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!
Reviews of Beauty and the Beast
19th November 2019 to 12th January 2020
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
It’s tea-time at the Playhouse
Slick song and dance and a marvellous mash-up
Beauty and the Beast, at the Oxford Playhouse, until January 12
This year's Playhouse panto, written and directed by Steve Marmion, is loosely set in a Belgian version of Oxford, where the dominant personalities are the slightly wicked witch Kardashia (Dev Joshi, blessed with a gorgeous voice) and her snarling sidekick Slick Rick (Ed Kingsley, son of Sir Ben). They transform a pair of siblings into a melon man (Paul Biggin) and a teapot dame (Philip Pellew), and turn the mayor (Adrianna Bertola, a star in the making) into a cute vixen. The dame's daughter, Belle (Roseanna Frascona) and her inventor father Endo (Stephen Hoo) involve the townsfolk in the affairs of the doomed Beast (Matthew Staite) while the unlikely presence of the town's orangutan Brian (Ricky Oakley) cheers everybody up.
The song and dance routines are slick affairs, with tributes to Iggy Pop's The Passenger, Katrina and the Waves' Walking on Sunshine and Ylvis' jolly What Does the Fox Say?. These numbers would not be out of place in a West End musical, the professionals reinforced by well-drilled local children.
The dame is a one-trick pony, delivering puns about tea and Shakespeare plays which didn't get many laughs, but the Melon Man emerges as the show's brightest comedian. There's a superb mash-up of Les Mis at the barricades and a Hammer Horror peasants' attack on the Beast's castle, the protesters bizarrely holding up an old-fashioned banner of 'Thatcher Out'.
Hannah says: It was not as dramatic as the Playhouse's previous pantomimes. I would have preferred the Beast to be like a real person with real voice rather than a recorded one.
My favourite character was Belle because she cared for the Beast and was not afraid and she never backed down. I also liked the orangutan because he tries to dance but falls asleep, tries to be a fairy godmother, but is just pretending.
My favourite part was when the Beast came out from nowhere and the stage went dark and the only thing you could see were his red eyes, and then, pow, they were gone. I would definitely recommend it for your child because it is very entertaining.
JON LEWIS & HANNAH LEWIS (8)
Review from the Guardian.
A giggling, melon-racing feast of fun
An empowered Belle leads an energetic cast in this song-packed extravaganza, featuring nifty shadow play, terrifying puppets and infectious 80s classics
With the general election looming, writer-director Steve Marmion promised to “go lightly on the politics” in his new pantomime. A wise decision, given the fractious national mood. Instead, Marmion’s fifth panto in a row at the Oxford Playhouse turned out to be a song-packed feast of fun, with a tremendously energetic cast cranking the momentum up to a furious pace.
In place of topicality, Marmion dribbles a few classics through the show. Some nifty shadow play sets the scene at the beginning of each half, and the Beast – when he appears – is a Gruffalo-style giant puppet on stilts, with a detachable claw that shoots in and out of the early scenes. There’s a clever bit involving the Beast’s flaming red eyes just as the curtain falls for the interval – “mildly terrifying”, according to my nine-year-old.
Much more up her street was the way Belle (Roseanna Frascona) was self-assertive and empowered – very much in the modern Disney mode – even suggesting to the prince (Matthew Staite) that she might prefer him in monster form. Brian the Orangutan (Ricky Oakley) and the mayor-turned-fox (Adrianna Bertola) also got the children in the audience on side – especially judging by the pair of kids hauled up on stage for a little friendly melon racing. Philip Pellew’s teapot-shaped Dame had the youngsters giggling, and gothic sorceress Witch Kardashia (Dev Joshi) induced a shock or two in the little ’uns.
Best of all, perhaps, was the infectious song and dance that formed the bulk of the show: 80s classics such as Toto’s Africa and Katrina and the Waves’s Walking on Sunshine did a lot of the work, but the presence of Iggy Pop was a bit of a leftfield surprise. By the end, the nine-year-old was jigging and clapping with reckless abandon, which is the ultimate tribute.
Dick Whittington and His Cat (November 2018)
Jack and the Beanstalk (November 2017)
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.