As it’s the last issue, Cherwell Stage has endeavoured to provide their loyal, likely rather limited, audience with a thoroughly hackneyed ‘round-up’ of this term’s dramatic offerings. Pinter prevailed this term, with an accomplished production of Celebration at the Michael Pilch Studio, along with the famed ‘Hothouse at the Playhouse’: a stellar cast, enormous budget and one of the slickest PR machines in recent years made for a predictable hit. Fry’s Latin! at the Burton Taylor Studios in second week delivered a hit of scandalous preparatory school nostalgia, with Chelsea buns and a certain delightful perversity combining to make for a wonderful evening. Godber’s Teechers, in the same venue, was also set in a school, but there all similarities ended, with a group of stroppy teens being inspired by their charismatic drama teacher in the playwright’s most autobiographical work. If you missed Cherwell’s interview with him last week, have a look online for musings on class and classrooms.
The Barefaced Night was among the strongest of the Keble O’Reilly’s productions, an innovative new piece of dance theatre, with elements of movement, live music, poetry and storytelling coming together to retell a Scandinavian folk tale. Another worthy contender was Lars Sorken: A Norwegian Noir also in 6th week, a pleasingly bemusing and bleakly comic piece of new writing. A retelling of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast was perhaps a little too ambitious, but compensated with some decent performances and beautiful costumes. Chekhov’s Shorts allowed for some comic relief, with outstanding direction and witty characterisation meaning that each of the seven short plays, accompanied by a live string quartet, made for good viewing. The OUDS New Writing Festival as ever provided one with the chance to scope out new talent among the fresh writing and observe the burgeoning of new student directors with characteristic variety: quantum physics, the early life of Enoch Powell and two businessmen in a dinghy all featured.
If you’ve neglected your Oxford drama quota this term, fear not. You can still catch Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, performing at both the Ashmolean Museum and the Corpus Christi Auditorium, if musicals take your fancy. If not, the Oxford Imps are sure to impress with One Arabian Night at the BT, with Alex Mills’ study of human interaction in Out Through the In Door to follow. Hilary’s certainly been generous. Farewell then, gentle audience, and ensure you return refreshed – Trinity’s teeming with theatrical treats.