07-08 Arts Roundup

Academic Year 07-08 was a good one for arts with local drop-out stars Foals hitting the big-time, plays like Spring Awakening catching the eyes of national media and Oxford-friendly films gracing the silver screen yet again.

Wadham’s Figment made a splash at the college’s Wadstock festival

Cherwell said of Foals’ March debut: “Antidotes is a layered album that works on a number of levels, taking the best parts of bands like Bloc Party and mixing it up with unusual time-signatures”. Sorted, then.

The Ting Tings also made an impression on the ‘ford when they visited a few weeks ago and there were college-based music festivities at Wadstock (which was deemed a rowdy success by all involved). Classical music munchkins Oxford University Orchestra get a nod for having had a very successful year, with sell-out concerts performing Mahler’s 9th and last month Elgar’s 1st Symphony. “We’ve had a really fun year – the programme choices were excellent and every section of the orchestra worked hard to pull off some spectacular shows” said a first violinist in the orchestra.

Tipped by the Beeb and starring notorious Narnia familiarity Anna Popplewell, Spring Awakening put the icing on a year’s cake of theatre. Cherwell’s reviewer was “truly gripped” by a “marvelously successful” performance. Other memorable productions treading Oxford’s boards this year included The Duchess of Malfi at the Playhouse (great costumes, excellent Duchess) and one which I think deserves special mention, The Nose. Despite being a smaller affair, Sam Caird and David Wolf’s adaptation of Gogol was a delight to watch and entertaining throughout.

Adam St-Leger Honeybone in The Nose

Cinema saw thought-provoking titles like Persepolis and The Darjeeling Limited rubbing shoulders with less-than inspiring releases such as the dismal fourth instalment in the Indiana Jones series and disappointing production, The Golden Compass – though it did provide familiar shots of Christ Church and Radcliffe Square.

One cultural boon that shouldn’t go un-noticed is the launch of Cherwell’s creative and literary supplement, Etcetera, in Michaelmas, which finally plugged the yawning gap for a mainstream creative publication in the swirling mass of newspapers and magazines that is Oxford student journalism.

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All of this and we’ve still got Brideshead to look forward to…