Oxfordshire Theatre Company’s latest production (in conjunction with the Watermill, Newbury) is a witty, fast-paced and moving reflection on the afterlife. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe inhabit a celestial waiting room for the newly deceased, there to cheer confused spirits on their way by allowing them to take part in their favourite film — the legendary comedy Some Like It Hot. Troubled spirit Charlie, touchingly played by Patrick Bridgman, bereft after his mother’s death, has taken an overdose. As a lonely child, he had identified his glamorous but unhappy mum with Marilyn and embraces the opportunity to be whisked back to the happier days of Monroe’s career zenith.

Curtis and Lemmon are pleased to give him the time of his afterlife as they must remain in this limbo until they have despatched enough happy spirits through to ‘proper’ heaven.

TJ Holmes and Paul Matania, as Lemmon and Curtis, help transform this whimsical idea into a sharp, snappy musical comedy. Sarah Applewood’s Marilyn supplies ideal counterpoint, as conflicted and confused in the spirit world as she was in life. All the cast are exceptional musicians (Marilyn plays a super sax) and the show is peppered with fine musical numbers.

Richard Hurford’s script is an excellent framework on which to hang the high-energy performances and some profound ideas.

Director Karen Simpson has pulled it all together with considerable aplomb to create a show worthy of the best traditions of this outstanding company. I hope, in these times of swingeing cuts, that their worth is appreciated and that they will continue.

In the meantime, don’t miss this show at venues throughout Oxfordshire until April 1. For details visit http://www.oxfordshire theatrecompany.co.uk.