Adderbury Institute, January 27 to 29
After a year’s enforced absence – the first in a 42-year history – Adderbury Theatre Workshop is back with its pantomime. The story follows the traditional rags-to-riches plot of Aladdin, determined to win the hand of the beautiful Princess Blossom, all the time hounded by the evil Uncle Abaneezer and ‘assisted’ by his hapless family. His mother, Widow Twankey, runs the local laundry with Aladdin’s brother, Wishee Washee, who are overseen by the elder stateswoman, Granny Twankey – veteran of many a previous panto. Abaneezer enlists a couple of ridiculous policemen to help in his dastardly plan and is attended by the reluctant but colourful Slave of the Ring. With a magical flying carpet, a magnificent genie, some unbelievable handmaidens and a powerful emperor, the path ahead is not going to be an easy one for our hero. The pantomime is written and directed by group member Jamie Cox and has a cast of all ages, all of whom are from Adderbury or nearby. Visit www.adderburytheatreworkshop.org.uk to book.
2 Mark Watson: This Can’t Be It
The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, January 20
Multi-award winning comedian, author and Taskmaster survivor Mark Watson is bringing his new tour to Milton Keynes. This Can’t Be It is inspired by taking a life expectancy test using an app on his phone and discovering he could expect to reach 78. In other words, he’s just over halfway to, as it were, the finish line. Mark will be asking what we should be doing with our time on Earth, and how we can do it better. Visit stables.org or call 01908 280800 to book or for more information.
3 The Dresser
Oxford Playhouse, January 25 to 29
Ronald Harwood’s evocative, affectionate and comical portrait of backstage life is one of the most acclaimed dramas of modern theatre. Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly star as Sir and Norman, an ageing actor and his devoted dresser. For 16 years, Norman has been there to fix Sir’s wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene. The play is set in 1942 in a war-torn provincial theatre. The award-winning Terry Johnson directs. Visit oxfordplayhouse.com to book.
The Theatre, Chipping Norton, until January 9
There’s still time to catch one of the region’s most popular panto extravaganzas. It’s set in the beautiful and verdant Kingdom of Evergreen where a beautiful new-born royal baby, Rapunzel, is stolen by the evil Gothel, who keeps her imprisoned in a tower. A hero must be found to rescue her and claim the reward of half of the kingdom. Director David Ashley said: “Rapunzel is a festive pantoland treat, full to the brim with toe-tapping tunes and magical delights.” Visit chippingnortontheatre.com to book.
5 Robin Hood
Oxford Playhouse, until January 9
Festive magic and sparkle are in the air in Oxford as panto returns to the Playhouse. Feared by the bad, loved by the good, taking from the rich to give to the poor, Robin and his Merry Band are everyone’s favourite outlaws. But can the rebel heroes outwit the out-and-out wickedness of the Sheriff of Nottingham and build a brighter future for all? Families are promised a cornucopia of popular songs and dances, a great adventure story and much merriment and festive cheer for all. Visit oxfordplayhouse.com to book.