A play inspired by memories of an actor’s dresser is on this week starring Julian Clary.

The Dresser, written by Ronald Harwood, is an affectionate and hilarious portrait of backstage life.

It pulls on the background of Donald Wolfit’s dresser as a young man.

Oxford Mail:  Julian Clary as Norman with Matthew Kelly as Sir and Emma Amos as Her Ladyship. Picture Alastair Muir Julian Clary as Norman with Matthew Kelly as Sir and Emma Amos as Her Ladyship. Picture Alastair Muir

It is 1942 and in a war-torn provincial theatre an ageing actor-manager, known to his loyal acting company as ‘Sir’, is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his 227th performance of King Lear.

For 16 years Norman, Sir’s devoted dresser, has been there to fix Sir's wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene. It is down to Norman, played by Clary, to ensure that in spite of everything, the show goes on.

Julian Clary has performed across the world and is renowned for his many successes across television, radio, film, writing and stand-up comedy.

His roles on stage include Leigh Bowery in Boy George's Taboo, the Emcee in Rufus Norris's Olivier Award winning production of Cabaret, and Le Grand Mort.

His many TV credits include Trick or Treat, Saturday Night Live, Sticky Moments, Terry and Julian, All Rise, Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and QI. He toured the UK earlier this year with his latest one-man comedy show Born To Mince.

‘Sir’ is Matthew Kelly who is best known for presenting the television series Stars in their Eyes and You Bet!.

However, he has received critical acclaim for other West End credits include Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees and as Lennie in Of Mice and Men for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor.

His many television credits include the award-winning Cold Blood, Benidorm, Bleak House and Moving On.

The Dresser runs at the Playhouse from Tue 25 to Sat 29 Jan 2022. Tickets are priced from £10 and are available from the Box Office on 01865 305305 or book online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com