The Tower Archive

Reaction to our shows
The Tower Archive

Reaction to our shows

Here's a selection of comments we received on our productions in 2014 ...

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

... the director (Ruth Sullivan) has the confidence and skill to allow some of the best writing of modern times to do its work. That is not to say that there is no directorial hand here, for there most certainly is - most clearly in the stylised opening scene, which was very tight and set the tone very well ...
... some spectacular costumes by Deb Lonnon ... the set (Jude Chalk) is brilliantly simple yet amazingly constructed .. and the lighting (Robin Snowdon) and sound is pretty nigh on perfect ... and the performances on show here are outstanding. Simply brilliant.
Rosencrantz (Justin Stahley) and Guildenstern (Andy Murton) are superb - brilliant comic timing, wonderful pathos, and perfect pace. A casual, off-hand seeming portrayal - but with exactly the right sense of fear and impending doom. Throughout the cast there is a brilliant air of 'meta-but-not-too-meta'. Knowing - or at least suspecting - but not laying it on too thick.
The Tragedians, too, are exceptional. Headed by a wonderful turn from Martin South - treading brilliantly the razor thin line between ham and subtlety. To just be over the top is not enough - there needs to be more, it needs to be deeper - and South carries it off splendidly. Janet South too, is very very strong indeed, seguing from bawdy Tragedian to regal Gertrude with ease.
This is quite simply one of the best amateur productions I've seen - and knocks a fair few professional ones into a cocked hat. It's absolutely unmissable - a fantastic play staged pretty nigh on perfectly. Huge congratulations to the cast and crew.

(Jacqui Marchant-Adams for Remote Goat). Awarded 5 stars

The Kitchen Sink The Kitchen Sink

The Tower's production opens very nicely, introducing us immediately to a family kitchen, and we are treated to yet another outstanding Tower set - with an attention to detail that astonishes - from the calendar that clearly came from a dairy, to every conceivable accoutrement you might find laying around an untidy kitchen, to a toaster that toasts and a kettle that boils! The "outside" set also doesn't disappoint, with a brilliantly realistic road sign - complete with obligatory single bike lock and discarded fag packet.
Costume too, was imbued with this air of authenticity, coupled with lighting that very successfully creates a sense of time of day - and even of year - provide a solid, natural background that allows the performances to really shine.
The performances here are really very good indeed - you never doubt for a second that these are genuine people with real relationships and feelings ... in a cast of very strong performers, Joseph Burke is worthy of particular mention, for demonstrating Pete's arc so skilfully and yet so naturally, without ever losing a sense of where the character began. This was just beautifully portrayed, and really stood out.
Huge congratulations to the production team for a very very strong addition to the Tower season.

(Jacqui Marchant-Adams for Remote Goat). Awarded 4 stars

The Producers The Producers in Cornwall

Amazing show tonight one of the best I have seen - I laughed from the start to the end. Outstanding show well done to all
(Audience member S.F.)

We saw the matinee last Tuesday on a particularly hot day. Great show and the cast were brilliant, despite the difficult conditions (bet the evening performance felt like hard work after that!) We watched the DVD film version last night and I have to say, it wasn't nearly so entertaining as your show and, without singling people out, thought some of your characterisations were far better. Thanks for some great entertainment!
(Audience member C.W.)

Wonderful show this afternoon, thoroughly enjoyed it! Will have to see it again as I'm sure I missed some of the jokes & one liners, there were so many!
(Audience member D.M.)

Nous étions au théâtre le vendredi pour la cl&ocird;ture. Très belle presentation. Bravo à toutes l'équipe. On ne peut qu'encourager le monde à venir voir!
(Audience member G.K.)

What a great cast. A real display of talent, from so many performers. Chorus and leads were working in harmony. The contributions of stagecraft from those not performing were equally brilliant. I have worked in the West End for many years and understand what constitutes the real deal, and you my friends are it. Congratulations to cast, crew, designers and directors.
(Audience member P.W.)

Just got back from the riotous performance of The Producers - great fun from start to finish! Love the Minack - our third visit, great weather again which always helps. Thanks!
(Audience member W.N.)

As a Minack "friend" and supporter for over twenty years I am writing to congratulate you on a superb production - I went with three others on Wednesday and we all agreed it was one of the best performances we had seen there. The acting, singing, dancing, choreography and overall enthusiasm were all top drawer and worthy of the West End.
(Audience member J.A.)

What can I say about The Producers? This was a particularly challenging show for the Tower Theatre and they met the challenge full on! Mel Brooks' politically incorrect sense of humour may not be to everyone's taste, but this show as performed at such a high level that it proved a massive hit with audiences. A brilliant cast well directed by David Taylor never missed an opportunity to extract every last bit of humour. One of the highlights of the season.

... a final word of congratulations must go to the Tower Theatre for being brave enough to bring The Producers and for 'nailing it' with a superb all round production, worthy winners of the Minack Trophy for 2014.

(Theatre Manager, Philip Jackson)

After the Dance After the Dance

The performances were excellent. Lisa Castle was incredibly moving as the seemingly bright and irrepressible Joan Scott-Fowler ... her moments of stillness and repressed sobs when she learns he is leaving her for a younger woman, were achingly painful. Dom Ward was convincing as the self-destructive alcoholic historian ... the scene where he and Joan belatedly realise that they have misunderstood each other for most of their married life was beautifully understated in its sadness ... Amy Harrison's Helen, was performed with an elegant self-confidence which completely captured the personality of this naïve woman on a mission to redeem an older man at the expense of his marriage ... George Turner, as Peter Scott-Fowler, showed the repressed anquish of the level-headed, young cousin who had only allowed himself a few chaste kisses with his intended and did not feel it necessary to drink before dinner ... Joel Cottrell gave a witty, touching performance as the supposedly opportunistic friend, John, delivering his one-liners with great aplomb ... There were also some strong cameo performances by other members of the cast, notably Philippa Tatham as the overbearing Julia and Ruth Antony, who performed both her roles as the drunken aviator, Moya and as the stony-faced, acerbic Miss Potter to great effect.
However, the company as a whole worked well together to create the ensemble scenes and provided appropriate characterisations which added to the overall feel of the period.

(Caroline Jenner for Sardines magazine)

The Last of the Haussmans The Last of the Haussmans

Congratulations to the director, cast and crew for a fantastic production this evening ... theatre as it should be!
(Audience member J.S.)

Cracking show - funny and thoughtful. Outstanding performances from all of the cast.
(Audience member R.I.)

The Producers The Producers in London

Warning : this show will give you face ache. I smiled the whole way through.
(Audience member S.O.)

I can't remember laughing so much possibly ever !!! Top class !
(Audience member Z.S.)

Phenomenal! Power house professional quality production in every dimension. Huge well done to everyone involved.
(Audience member J.A.)

As You Like It As You Like It in Paris

The moment I came home I had to let you know how delighted I was by this year's production .. particularly as regards the LOVELY songs with 18th century music (Arne etc) that suits these so well. What with birds singing all around us, just as in "the only pretty ring time", and NO rain, it was unmitigated bliss! Congratulations to cast and stage managers and indeed all involved.
(Audience member A.N.)

We are still under the spell of Shakespeare and your production. Thanks to you we rediscover Shakespeare every year and we appreciate this very much. There were so many good performances by your actors - we loved Rosalind and Touchstone in particular.
(Audience member L.C.)

As every year you have charmed and cheered us with your play. Many thanks for bringing us Shakespeare every June.
(Audience member L.L.)

Dumb Show Dumb Show

This production benefits from some strong acting. Justin Stahley is memorably smarmy, while Helen McGill gradually transforms from timid assistant to a razor sharp temptress in the final scene. Leon Chambers is also able to show the sad clown behind the boorish jester. Robert Irvine's set design perfectly evokes the antiseptic nature of business hotels.
(Matthew Partridge for the Remote Goat)

As You Like It As You Like It in London

Like the languishing Orlando, "full of pretty answers", so too was this play full of pretty instances. An early fight scene between Orlando and Charles packed a punch; the pairing of Martin Shaw's Touchstone by Martin Shaw and Gina Jackson's Audrey made for the most dynamic duo, their chemistry strong and their foolishness never foundering, and another pleasant performance came from Sarah Evans as Rosalind, who masterfully grasped the gender-swapping role with authority. A similar mention must be given to the delightful Ian Recordon as the melancholic Jacques.
(Nicholas Winchester for the Camden New Journal)

Tartuffe Tartuffe

The production was spot-on. Playing in the round, it was fast, funny, and very stylish! Superb performances all round
(Audience member A.F.)

Thoroughly enjoyed this yesterday - sparky, witty and brilliantly performed by all.
(Audience member E.C.)

Largo Desolato Largo Desolato

James McKendrick (playing Nettles) is extraordinarily good at the neurotic heart of this impressive cast. For all the clever dialogue, and of this there is much, it was McKendrick's physical nuances that I found most engaging ... also excellent is Emily Carmichael, whose initially vivacious Lucy transforms seamlessly into crushed, tearful disappointment via a spell in the wilds of wide-eyed intensity; she's utterly compelling ... Matthew Pert's Edward provides a refreshingly boyish counter-foil to the nefarious intrigue surrounding him ... the two Stanleys provide some well earned laughs ... Ian Grant's Bertram is beguilingly insidious ... and Anna Raine's Suzana communicates a weariness revealing she is the only one who knows just what a let down Nettles really is.
(Cameron Dunham for Remote Goat. Awarded 5 stars)

Coyote on a Fence Coyote on a Fence

Before I ramble on with the details, let me just sum up this performance - wonderful! Well what did you expect? It is the Tower Theatre after all ...
All the American accents were clear and spot on - not easy with a play set in the South. Both lead actors, but most notably Dan Usztan, inhabited their characters' physicality beautifully and displayed a natural ease in their performances that made their characters that much more real ...
Everything from lines, a fantastically clever set, to lighting and sound design (flickering blue light of a television, the constant clatter of prison voices and noises) was professionally slick ... director Dom Ward truly did a fantastic job.

(Marianthe Smart for Sardines magazine)

The Accrington Pals The Accrington Pals

So polished were the performances that we wouldn't have known it was opening night save for the smell of fresh paint disseminating from the set. Jillian Bradley handles the character of introvert May skilfully, provided with the perfect antidote in Amy Harrison's Eva. Support characters Sarah (Michelle Fox) and Bertha (Jenny Ross) tread a fine line between girly giddishness and pantomime fodder.
(Laura Reynoldsa for The Londonist)

Two Two

A hugely talented cast and a skilful director make for an extremely worthwhile evening at the theatre; the two performers truly hold the cast in the palm of their hands (particularly during an exceptionally uncomfortable scene during which you could hear a pin drop) and do the outstanding language of the play tremendous justice. Do catch this production if you can.
(Jacqui Adams for Sardines magazine.)

One of the joys of the production is watching Arrowsmith and Murton assume very different personas. To do this, they use every aspect of their bodies and voices, one moment assuming the laboured gait of the aged, the next pirouetting to disco music. While they are also able to use costumes to help their transformation, with one of the main characters entering to fill the gap left by their absence, the timings of the play mean that they have to be extremely quick. Credit must therefore go to Stage Manager Michelle Roebuck, as well as Director Colette Dockery, for making sure everything moved like clockwork.
(Matthew Partridge for Remote Goat)

Telstar Telstar

The tale of innovative record producer Joe Meek and his time recording worldwide hits over a shop on the Holloway Road in Islington comes to life in the Tower Theatre's revival. Opening with funny and chaotic scenes reflecting the DIY approach Meek produced in a standard 60's flat. As the play goes forward the darkness, violence and desperation of Meek's business, love and musical life start to seep in so when sunlight literately floods into his world it has a vampiric effect. Alan Maddrell is simply stunning as Meek, playing his descent into paranoid madness with such pathos, making Meek a totally believable character, funny and frightening. Helen McCormack provides light relief as his landlady, and The Outlaws (featuring future musical greats) spark off each other brilliantly with insults and quips. The dim Heinz "Just Like Eddie" Burt is brilliantly portrayed by Danny Stokes, showing great physical comedy as he attempts to master dance moves. For any music fan this is an absolute treat.
Director & designer Phillip Ley did a brilliant job in bringing the world of Joe Meek to life.

(dogfacedboy for The Afterword blog)