Iconic film flies as magical

Round & About

New Theatre Oxford

An Officer and A Gentlemen will soar into New Theatre Oxford from Monday 27th May until Saturday 1st June. Director Nikolai Foster shares his thoughts.

An Officier and A Gentlemen: The Musical follows the hot-headed and determined naval candidate Zack Mayo (played by Richard Gere in the movie) who has a fiery, passionate relationship with factory worker Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger on screen) before sweeping her off her feet in the soaringly romantic finale.

The film’s writer Douglas Day Stewart co-wrote the book with Sharleen Cooper Cohen for a musical which had a short run in Sydney in 2012, with original songs by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner. Now, Oxford audiences can look forward to a brand new, perhaps surprising, outing, directed by Nikolai Foster.

“I think a lot of people associate it with being cheesy ’80s romcom,” says Nikolai when asked about the stage version of the film… “There’s nothing wrong with a cheesy 80s romcom – and we offer some tasteful cheesy choices in our production – but audiences will be surprised by the depth of this story and how moving the show is. It is genuinely uplifting because we invest in the lives of these characters and care about them.

“Audiences will be surprised by the depth of this story”

“It delicately charts the lives and experiences of working class people in Pensacola, Florida. In some ways these appear to be ordinary and unremarkable lives but the characters created by writer Douglas Day Stewart (based on his own experiences) have remarkable stories to tell. When you throw a load of ’80s pop hits into this world, it truly is uplifting and sings in the way only a musical can. The songs in our show don’t propel the narrative forward but express something of the characters’ inner lives and emotions that they are unable to speak in their everyday lives. The music heightens the emotions.

“All of these characters are seeking some kind of escape, including from a factory which doesn’t allow women to move up the hierarchy. In our play Casey Seeger is the first woman in history to ‘get jets’ and Lynette believes her only escape from an abusive, alcohol-soaked home life is literally on the wings of a naval aviator.

“This is a completely new production, created by our incredible team at Curve. Alongside original screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart we have worked with his writing partner Sharleen Cooper Cohen and the team at Jamie Wilson Productions to take the film from screen to stage. It’s been an exhilarating ride for all of us – almost as exciting in taking off in a fighter jet!”

To book your tickets visit atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford/

Paloma Faith April music star Q&A

Liz Nicholls

New Theatre Oxford

Musician Paloma Faith tells us about her new break-up album The Glorification of Sadness ahead of her UK tour which starts this month

Q. Hello Paloma; congratulations on your album, your best yet! Are you happy with it?

“Thank you. Well, yes but it’s difficult! I’m the sort of person who takes any sort of success with a pinch of salt… When people say ‘oh it’s really great’ you never know whether that’s going to translate into popularity or streaming figures.”

Q. Do you have imposter syndrome?

“Yeah and I think it’s part of what drives me. We live in a real era of isolation; it’s all internet or social media-led and quite confusing. I’m not quite sure what’s real and what isn’t. I look at my following of 800,000 and then I look at peers of mine, who have 2 milllion and they don’t sell as many records. So I tend to be a bit blinkered and just go: ‘oh I’m gonna give the best show that I can’.”

Q. Do you think women have to play a role to win popularity?

“It’s funny, I didn’t announce my break-up but when the press reported it all the comments underneath were either ‘she’s a bloody handful’ or ‘I’m sorry he cheated on you’. It’s so weird that people think in those two narrow-minded terms and neither one is correct. As a woman either you’re a victim, and if you’ve got kids with them you’re expected to stay and suffer, or you’re perceived as this nightmare femme fatale character. I don’t think I’m either! So it’s wrong on both counts. There’s the expression of sadness [on this album] and remorse and vulnerability but also there’s a lot of empowerment, standing up for myself and saying this isn’t for me. In this way society needs to catch up. Quite often I listen to songs by women and they’re celebrated when they express vulnerability or victimhood but not so much when they express their strength.”

Q. You were moved by something Madonna said…

“Yes, Madonna says the most controversial thing she did was to stick around & I relate! A woman’s longevity is always under attack more than a man’s. I’m lucky; I’ve always looked quite young for my age, partly because I don’t do the injectables that, I think, make people look old. I hope to stick around!”

Q. Who would be your dream collaborators, alive or dead?

“I think I’d like to stick with the people who are still alive, please! I would love to work with SZA and Miley Cyrus.”

“Performing is my favourite thing to do and the only time I’m not anxious”

Q. How do you take care of your mental health?

“I do exercise and I go to therapy. I’ve done EMDR [eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing] and think it’s really good. One thing I’m learning more recently in my life is that avoidance or distraction mean your issues just come back to bite you in the bum. You can choose to address & face your issues and own up to who you are or else you’re just prolonging the agony.”

Q. Do you like being on tour and will you take your children on this one?

“I’ll take my youngest but the oldest is in school so she can only come for the dates in the Easter holidays; she’s gutted about it and has real FOMO! I love touring. I get a bit nervous beforehand but performing is my favourite thing to do and the only time I’m not anxious.”

Q. Are you looking for love?

“I tried dating for a bit and it just feels difficult to navigate when you’ve got children. The last time I was single I didn’t have any kids and I wouldn’t ever put anyone before my children. And I just don’t have the tolerance I used to have. When we as women are looking to pursue relationships and we don’t have kids, we compromise a lot. People keep talking to me now about compromise but I think ‘oh f***  off with your platitudes, I don’t have to compromise, I’d rather be on my own’. Maybe I am a nightmare woman after all, haha! You know better than you did when you were younger that you can do it without anyone.”

Paloma Faith is on tour including the Hexagon in Reading on 3rd April and New Theatre Oxford on 14th May as well as starring at Southampton Summer Sessions on 28th June. Visit palomafaith.com

Review – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Liz Nicholls

New Theatre Oxford

It turns out everybody’s talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and it’s easy to see why.

With energy levels flagging and skies gloomier than Sheffield smog everyone’s in need of a boost at this time of year.

So it’s a delight that the award-winning hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has landed at Oxford’s New Theatre.

The opening night shone brighter than a rave rainbow thanks to star performances and plenty of laughs from Ivano Turco (Get Up, Stand Up!, Cinderella) as Jamie New, the indomitable stage legend Darren Day as Hugo/Loco Chanelle and Shobna Gulati (Coronation Street, Brassic).

The ”musical for all” tells of Jamie New, who is 16 and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight with plenty of humour courtesy of drag queens and superb support from a star cast who are clearly having a ball. Their northern humour, accompanied by the live orchestra and fabulous costume and stage sets are sure to have you feeling brighter and full of hope as you strut out into the rainy streets.

Set to an original score of catchy pop tunes that will ‘blow the roof off the theatre’ (Mail on Sunday) by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae (Doctor Who). Choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince (Into The Woods, Some Like It Hip Hop, SYLVIA, Message In A Bottle). This ‘sparking coming-of-age musical’ (The Times) will have everybody talking about Jamie for years to come.

Darren Day said “It’s a wonderfully uplifting show filled with great music and humour and has a beautiful message at its heart. I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

Following a record-breaking three-year West End residency, sold out UK & Ireland Tour and Amazon studios award-winning film, the show runs at New Theatre until 30th January. Watch the trailer here

Dirty Dancing takes to Oxford stage

Round & About

New Theatre Oxford

Get swept up in the holiday romance vibes of Baby and Johnny thanks to this smash hit West End tour at Oxford’s New Theatre 25th-29th July.

With standing ovations at every performance this spring at the Dominion Theatre, Dirty DancingThe Classic Story on Stage finished its record-breaking run at the end of April to sashay on to a 24-week UK & Ireland tour.

Michael O’Reilly (West Side Story, Leicester Curve; Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies, Theatre Royal Plymouth) and Kira Malou (Fame, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre; Penny on Mars, Disney Plus) are winning hearts with their roles as Johnny and Baby.

Producer Karl Sydow says: “I’m thrilled about the success of the second Dominion Theatre season and to be out on tour for the fifth time since 2011. We have an amazing cast for this new tour.”

“We have an amazing cast for this new tour”

Exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion and sensationally sexy dancing, this triumphant stage production, inspired by the wildly popular film, features the hit songs Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? And, of course, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.

Completing the cast are: Georgia Aspinall (Penny Johnson), Jack Loy (Dr Jake Houseman), Taryn Sudding (Marjorie Houseman), Daisy Steere (Lisa Houseman), Danny Colligan (Billy Kostecki), Colin Charles (Tito Suarez), Christian James (Neil Kellerman), Mark McKerracher (Max Kellerman), Lydia Sterling (Elizabeth) with Mark Faith, Lowri Hamilton, Tyler Lotzof, Jody Zimmerman, Eva Philips, Callum Fitzgerald, Michael Nelson, Joel Benjamin, Akeem Ellis-Hyman, Jenna Warne, Taylor Bridges, Daisy West, Aaron J Smith, Ayden Morgan and Thomas Inge.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, written by Eleanor Bergstein, is directed by Federico Bellone (West Side Story, Milan; Sunset Boulevard, Milan) and choreographed by Austin Wilks. The creative team are completed by costume designer Jennifer Irwin, lighting Designer Valerio Tiberi, Sound Designer Chris Whybrow, Music Supervisor Conrad Helfrich and supervising musical director Richard John.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage is produced by Karl Sydow is association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions. Book your tickets at Dirty Dancing.

Cher show dazzles with diva power!

Liz Nicholls

New Theatre Oxford

The Cher Show at Oxford’s New Theatre until this Saturday (25th February) is sure to make you feel shiny & new

Do you believe In life after love..? Well The Cher Show has the power to mend any broken or glum heart. It might even top you up with the kind of badass girl power that had us taking our sequinned 40-something selves off to Sandy’s Piano Bar to take to the mic after the show…

However much you know or don’t know about the life story of the “Goddess of Pop” Cher (born as Cherilyn Sarkisian in 1946 California) this show is a full-tilt, eye-opening inspiration.

Directed by Arlene Philips and with joyful choreography by Oti Mabuse, you can’t fail to be moved by the vibrant performances, with a show jam-packed with 35 of Cher’s biggest hits, including If I Could Turn Back Time, I Got You Babe and The Shoop Shoop Song.

The holy trinity of Millie O’Connell, Debbie Kurup & Ingrid Olivia (replacing Danielle Steers) gave dazzling performances in their turns as Cher at different stages of her long, legendary & continuing career. This is no mean feat, not least because of the sheer vocal power it takes to do this diva’s hits justice, but also to speak in Cher’s trademark low, growly southern voice throughout the show following the twists and turns of this grafter’s life. The effort this must have on those vocal cords was rewarded with standing ovations, whoops of joy and, I’m sure, many a sparkly outfit shopping spree after the show (it can’t just be me, can it?).

I can’t think of any other show that would leave you with such levels of joy, wandering out into a nippy February evening, so book your tickets now! And see you at the piano bar!

Call 0844 871 7615 or visit New Theatre Oxford Box Office

Dom Joly at New Theatre Oxford

Karen Neville

New Theatre Oxford

Award-winning comedian takes to the stage with tales of his weird travel adventures

Despite being a highly successful, multi-award winning comedian, Dom Joly have never been a stand-up. His work always been on television or on the written page.

Under pressure to tour he finally gave it a go in 2011 and was given a severe kicking by the comedy elite and press. This put him off for years.

Then 10 years later, he had an idea for a show about his weird travel adventures.

He was immediately told by several promoters that such a show would never interest more than a handful of people. Dom decided to prove them wrong.

He put the show together and then set off on a mammoth tour around every tiny UK venue that would have him. Slowly he learned how to handle an audience, how to perform live.

After 199 shows he is finally ready. Dom wants to end the tour with a big one and sell out the New Theatre in Oxford and prove everybody wrong, but will he?

Dom has also never done radio before. He joined JACKfm as the main station voiceover in July 2022 and also hosts the weekly show Dom Joly’s Sunday Session every Sunday afternoon, where he gets to play his own songs and chats to some of the singers who performed them.

JACKfm have booked the New Theatre Oxford for 20th January for his Holiday Snaps show.

Dom and the show are finely honed. All he needs now is for everybody to come and enjoy the end results.

Tickets are £26pp plus £3.80 transaction free and on sale at www.jackfm.co.uk/tickets

Dom Joly’s Sunday Session can be heard every Sunday from 12 to 2pm on JACKfm. Listen on 106 FM in Oxfordshire, smartspeakers (“play JACK fm”), online at https://www.jackfm.co.uk/ and on the JACK Radio App in mobile app stores.

Motown magic

Round & About

New Theatre Oxford

Book in for the smash-hit West End musical Motown The Musical which roars into the New Theatre Oxford from Tuesday, 17th December to Saturday, 4th January.


Motown The Musical tells the story of Berry Gordy’s world-famous Motown record label, which gave rise to huge stars such as The Jackson 5, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

The record label celebrated its 60th anniversary on January 12th this year. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy went from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, discovering and launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

With music and lyrics from the Motown catalogue and book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Charles Randolph-Wright’s production features a live orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks, including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, Stop! In The Name of Love, My Girl and I Heard It Through the Grapevine and tells the story behind the classic hits.

The show features Edward Baruwa in the leading role of Berry Gordy, Karis Anderson as Diana Ross, Nathan Lewis as ‘Smokey Robinson’ and Shak Gabbidon-Williams as Marvin Gaye.

The original Broadway cast recording of Motown the Musical is available via Motown Records, a label of UMG Recordings – www.classicmotown.com


For tickets & more information please call 01865 320775 or visit