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June, 2003
Twelfth Night
One of the big cabaret numbers.
One of the big cabaret numbers.

A play with trees instead of walls? It can only mean the latest Creation Theatre production has started.

Tim Bearder went along to enjoy the show.


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Twelfth Night
Creation Theatre Company
June 06 - July 28
Headington Hill Park

By Tim Bearder

The Creation Theatre Company is the jewel in the crown of the Oxford arts. How could Liverpool claim to be more cultured! Every year I wait in great anticipation of their latest summer run.

The company is dedicated to staging performances in unusual locations and in the past has staged many shows at Magdalen School on the banks of the Isis. It has even done a production of Macbeth in the BMW Mini factory!

Viola, the main love interest played by Lydia Fox
Viola, the main love interest played by Lydia Fox

This production of Twelfth Night is the first in a new location on Headington Hill Park. Despite living in Oxford all my life, I'd never ventured into this leafy area of the city.

This sense of discovery added to the suspense and excitement that can only be conjured up in this kind of unique location.

Twelfth Night is an interesting choice of Shakespeare's plays to choose. The ambiguous title gives scant clues to the play's story, which is a farcical comedy.

The implausible story is one of the Bard's more contrived attempts at leading the audience on a merry dance. For example, one young girl puts on a hat, calls herself a man and men and women alike are left swooning at her feet. All this without the aid of the magic of A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Though the clumsy story might grate, the buffoonery of Sir Andrew Aquecheek and Sir Toby Belch is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

Entire songs are used in the play. At times they are as enthralling and poignant as those used to similar effect in Moulin Rouge. On a few occasions they stand out like poor concert hall flights of fancy where the modern lyrics jar with the Shakespearean script.

Despite its minor flaws this play is a fantastic treat and a unique experience that shouldn't just be enjoyed by American's visiting on a day trip from London. The people of Oxfordshire should make every effort to enjoy this enticing treat.

And if you're walking up Headington Hill late one evening, don't be too hasty to call the police if you hear someone shouting bizarre Shakespearean prose.

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