The end of June brings all the best elements of Fringe Festivals to Oxford. Offbeat, created in 2016 by Oxford Playhouse and Old Fire Station, has shows in more venues than previous years, including high profile comedians and fourteen fabulous shows that can be seen before they head off to Edinburgh in August. Now in its third year, Offbeat boasts a truly eclectic programme of theatre, music, dance, storytelling, family shows, comedy and circus, sixteen of which are home grown in Oxfordshire.
The big comedy nights this year include David Baddiel in My Family: Not The Sitcom, Bridget Christie in What Now?, Desiree Burch in Unf*ckable, Laura Lexx in Trying, plus The Great Offbeat Comedy Night with Sara Pascoe, Ed Gamble, Phil Wang and newcomer Laura Pattinson.
The first Saturday, 22nd June, is Family Day with 12 shows specially programmed to intrigue and delight younger audiences. From Blue Planet III to The Actual Reality Arcade and subjects as diverse as politics and owls, the festival offers a wide range of shows at times which will enable young festival goers the opportunity to see several in one day.
Home grown shows feature verbatim theatre, a marathon play reading, theatre pub quiz, excerpts from seven of Oxford’s playwrights and plethora of quality comedy and theatre.
Other highlights include Denim, an outrageous drag musical cabaret act, starring Amrou Al-Kadhi, who appeared as Judy Henchman in the Playhouse panto last year. Not one to miss a topical moment Blowfish Theatre bring its satirical musical Trump the Musical, filled with raucous comedy and, of course, a terrible wig. The Foley Explosion is a rare opportunity to experience live sound effects and looping technology in sound worlds that conjure a movie in the mind. One of the more unusual experiences this year will occur every 15 minutes in a Playhouse dressing room in an immersive, one-on-one experience with three victims of trafficking. And just in case Oxford needs some redemptive advice Shesus & the Sistas are on hand to help.