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first_imgTrinity Term is always an exciting time for Oxford theatre, as the hope of balmy summer evenings in picturesque collegiate settings draws the drama world outside for Pimms and plays on the lawn. When you’re three hours into a Shakespeare tragedy, it’s been drizzling since Act 1 and you’re ready to sell your soul for a patio heater, the idyll of the garden show may seem somewhat soured. However, there are some great incentives to risk the weather this term, including a good smattering of the traditional Shakespeare.Two productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are on in Queen’s (4th Week) and Merton (7th Week), although if you’ve seen the current RSC production in Stratford, you’ll be wondering how either could beat it. After James Methven’s brilliantly bawdy interpretation of Twelfth Night at Oriel last year, Love’s Labour’s Lost, on there in 7th, promises to be another highlight. For something slightly different, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Christ Church (6th Week) sounds an exciting project. With the imminent release of the film, however, one may suffer from a surfeit of oompa-loompas. In 4th Week the Univ Gardens host Noel Coward’s Nude with Violin, a highly Parisian affair with all the hallmarks of Coward’s darkly comic genius, while Magdalen features The Rover by Aphra Behn, the Restoration dramatist. Several of the garden shows are staged as part of wider college arts festivals and the Brasenose Arts Week in 3rd looks particularly enjoyable, featuring both Shakespeare’s The Tempest in the quad and Hercules Furens by Euripedes in the chapel.This is not to suggest that the drama in Oxford’s regular venues isn’t up to its usual standard. The team behind many of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society productions is staging Orpheus in the Underworld in 6th Week at the Playhouse, an operatic romp among the gods that includes Offenbach’s ever-popular can-can. The following Monday, the Oxford Revue and the Cambridge Footlights are performing a one-night special of sketches and stand-up. After last term’s success, the Revue keep going from strength to strength, with key performances by Rose Heiney and Will Pooley, and musical input from MofO.MofO themselves are looking to build on their productions of Godspell and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with Assassins (OFS 4th Week), the excellent Stephen Sondheim musical that exposes the flipside of the American dream. If you’re a fan of the dark underside of life, you might consider the two Beckett productions on in 7th Week. The same team who produced Waiting for Godot last term now tackle Endgame at the OFS, while over at the Burton Taylor, Krapp’s Last Tape fills the late slot.The proven track record of Original Sin productions suggests that Philip Pullman’s I Was a Rat! (OFS 3rd Week) will be worth watching, while the casting of Nick Bishop and Charlie Covell in Oleanna will make for absorbing viewing at the BT in 2nd Week. Absolutely! (Perhaps) at the OFS in 2nd Week is worth a mention for its website alone, see www.trapdoor-oxford.blogspot.com for all information and an entertaining diary of an Oxford production. If you found the Burlesk shows too tame, rumour has it that Four Nights in Knaresborough (BT, 3rd Week) features naked men with swords. All of which makes for a summer term that’s set to be a scorcher at least in terms of theatre, offering some great excuses to forget about finals for a while.ARCHIVE: Oth week TT 2005last_img read more

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