Amazing dramas

Amanda Abbington starring in Abigail's Party
Amanda Abbington starring in Abigail's Party

Fabulous plays including the iconic Seventies hit Abigail’s Party, a new bittersweet comedy from Sandi Toksvig and a drama about soldiers’ suffering are part of the new season programme at Oxford Playhouse.

Abigail’s Party, a comedy of manners starring Alison Steadman, was first shown on television in 1977 and became an instant classic.

The play is set in the suburban home of Beverly and Laurence who are having a drinks party and hope to impress their guests with their cheesy pineapple sticks, alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos records. Amanda Abbington (pictured), best known for her roles as Mary in Sherlock and Miss Mardle in Mr Selfridge, takes on the leading role in the play, which will be at the Playhouse from Monday, April 3 - Saturday 8. Tickets cost from £15 - £32.50.

Earlier in the season, Sandi Toksvig brings her play Silver Lining to the stage. Set in the Silver Retirement Home, five elderly ladies are trading stories of their remarkable lives when a flood occurs but no help is forthcoming. With no rescue in sight these five extraordinary women band together to recreate The Great Escape - senior citizen style.

This world premiere production of Silver Lining will be at the theatre from Tuesday, February 21 - Saturday 25. Tickets £11.50 - £28.

Pink Mist is on the week before. This play tells the story of three young men deployed to Afghanistan. But as they return to the women in their lives, who must now share the physical and psychological aftershocks of their service, Arthur, Hads and Taff find their journey home is their greatest battle. Written by award winning writer and poet Owen Sheers, Pink Mist was inspired by 30 interviews with returned servicemen and was first staged at the Bristol Old Vic in 2015 to huge critical acclaim. The drama is on at the Playhouse from Tuesday, February 14, to Saturday 18. Tickets £11.50 - £28.

Other highlights of the season include An Evening with Pam Ayres on Thursday, January 12, tickets £24; and a week long visit from legendary comedian and Playhouse patron Stewart Lee from Monday, January 30 - Saturday, February 4, tickets £23.

Other February plays include Tennessee Williams’ most poetic work, Suddenly Last Summer from Wednesday 8 - Saturday 11, tickets £11.50 - £19; and Shakespeare’s tragicomedy A Winter’s Tale from Tuesday 28 through to Saturday, March 4, tickets £11.50 - £28.

In March, there is a chance to see Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures with a selection of the dances that established the choreographer’s early career. Monday, March 6 - Wednesday 8. Tickets £11.50 - £26.

For full details and to book tickets visit www.oxfordplayhouse.com or call 01865 305305.