The Merchant of Venice
07 July - 01 September
Said Rooftop Amphitheatre
"It tackles big issues and challenges complacency and lazy thinking; it's a cautionary tale about gambling and debt, where the gambler gets off scot-free; a challenge to the dangerous stereotypes that can breed in a multicultural society, where the persecuted minority receives the harshest penalty; and a love story, in which the ladies all see their lovers exposed as weak, fickle and cruel. Just when you feel you know where Shakespeare is going he pulls the carpet from under your feet and demands that you question again." - James Erskine, Chief Executive, Creation Theatre Company
In some ways, I'm amazed The Merchant of Venice is still being performed. It's outrageously anti-Semitic and offensive. I was never a huge fan of this particular story. But the play was being put on by Creation Theatre, and I have come to learn that I like everything Creation Theatre do, and I will see any play they perform, knowing I'll enjoy it. This was absolutely no exception - I loved it!
A demanding play, Merchant was performed by 9 very capable and hard-working actors who all performed multiple roles - I recognised some of the actors from The Factory's Hamlet/The Odyssey season at Blackwell's Bookshop. There were songs, dances, quick changes, multiple instruments, a rotating stage, and lots of humour. Creation make Shakespeare simple to follow and understand. There was a girl around 10 years old in the audience, laughing at all the right parts, and who obviously enjoyed herself. I looked around at the audience a few times, and there were smiles plastered on faces of people of all ages. I can't single out any of the actors for their performances because I enjoyed every single one of them, and was impressed by how well they played their parts. I'm particularly impressed by their ability to not only act, but to sing and dance really well and to play instruments!
The play is being performed outdoors at the Said Business School's amphitheatre. Creation make soft cushions with back rests available, as well as blankets. When it started to rain during the intermission, they even handed out plastic raincoats with hoods to the audience at no charge. Putting on shows outdoors in this country is daring and risky, but wonderfully rewarding. Dress appropriately and you'll enjoy it immensely. Live, outdoor theatre needs to be supported. Most nights tickets are available on the door, so please, do them (and yourself) a favour and get out there on a dry (or dry-ish) night and buy a ticket. It's well worth it.
Come along early on Sunday (15th July) and they'll feed you for free! This Sunday they're serving up a delicious brunch of bacon rolls, fruit salad, croissants and americanos from 10am then performing the show in the midday sun from 11am. Tickets are just £20 (instead of the usual £22) and include food.
Make it a family affair when under 12s come for free. Creation pride themselves on making theatre that everyone can enjoy. So if you're aged 6 or 106 come along to one of the 2.30pm family shows on Sunday where, with every full paying adult £20 ticket (usually £22) an under 12 can get in for free.
Ideas Aloud - We want to stir up your creative juices, collect them in little bottles, then display them for the world to see… Okay that image got a little out of hand but you get the gist. Follow live twitter feeds on the night, share all your responses in our online idea boards, and submit your artworks for a special exhibition. Sunday 29 July, 6pm, all tickets £20. Win tickets to this through Oxford City Guide
BOX OFFICE: 01865 766266 (Monday - Saturday, 9.30am-6pm)
BOOK ONLINE: http://WWW.CREATIONTHEATRE.CO.UK
All images copyright Creation Theatre and Bill Knight