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 2017 ...

Nell Gwynn Nell Gwynn

Amateur dramatics, done well, do not require reviewers to take into account that the production in question is an amateur production in the first place. Such is the case in this Tower Theatre Company production of Nell Gwynn ... the band, visible on stage and led by Jonathan Norris, did brilliantly, themselves dressed in period costume ... overall, there were a lot of laughs in a very warm and exuberant production.
(Chris Omaweng for London Theatre 1. Awarded 4 stars.)

Grace Wardlaw is simply charming as Nell. She easily carries the weight of the title character with ferocity, grace and always a cheeky look in her eye. Wardlaw will be snapped up by the West End very quickly if casting agents are paying attention.
James Dart (King Charles II) has an excellent time swanning about the palace in tights, playing at royalty, and his relationship with Nell is sweet and touching. Simon Brooke is a gorgeously camp, scene-stealing Edward Kynaston. In kimono and wig-cap, Brooke's comic timing and physicality leave him as an audience favourite. Felix Grainger is spritely and enthusiastic as tortured playwright, John Dryden. And Valerie Antwi comes into her own in the second act playing the comical serving lady and reluctant actress, Nancy.

(TheatreFox for The Spy in the Stalls. Awarded 4 stars.)

Many congratulations on a terrific show.
(Composer Nigel Hess.)

Superb production of Nell Gwynn today. I've seen this twice professionally and I can honestly say that this was just as good. A truly well directed production with a great cast. We all loved it and want to say huge congratulations.
(Audience member C.A-D.)

Saw Nell Gwynn last night and just wanted to say to all the cast and crew that I LOVED IT. Last night's performance had me belly laughing, thank you all for a great show!
(Audience member B.A.)

Nell Gwynn is comic, bawdy and heartfelt, led by an energetic and vigorous cast. I'd implore any fan of the Restoration to attend this production to support both the theatre and this group of encouraging actors. In its capturing of seventeenth-century London, the evening promises to delight. At the end of the production they all sing the song Nell Gwynn first performed at her first production, charged with the fun refrain "I can dance and I can sing and I am good at either, and I can do the other things when we get together". Truly, this cast is as versatile as Gwynn herself.
(Anthony Walker-Cook for the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies)

Pravda Pravda

Fisher glides menacingly round the stage being alternately despotic and slimily reasonable ... he is explosive, manipulative and unpredictable. It's an impressive piece of acting.
It's a good show for such a group because there are lots of smallish but meaty roles. And there's plenty of ability in this company. John McSpadyen delights as the unapologetic, past-his-sell-by date editor, Hamish McLennan ... there's a chillingly funny performance from David Hankinson as the squirming, sycophantic MP who will do anything for a backhander or a favour ... Nick Mouton is fun as Le Roux's Australian sidekick . and how long did Bill Boyd spend listening to elderly clerics in order to get the voice and speech mode of the Bishop of Putney to sound so authentic?
Given the constraints of the space this quite complex show is remarkably smooth running - this is, after all, a stage without wings and no high tech equipment ... so congratulations to stage manager Kathryn Newbould.

(Susan Elkin for Sardines Magazine)

... the cavernous space of the Bridewell is used well for the multiple scene changes and the lighting and sound are effective,
Max Fisher is properly menacing ... as Le Roux's protégé, Oliver Ferriman conveys well the moral dilemmas that come with dining with the devil ... Ciara Robley is outstanding as the wife of Le Roux as is Nigel Campbell, playing an editor who falls foul of Le Roux's machinations.
Among the wider ensemble too, there are other very good performances - Bill Boyd as the Bishop of Putney and Madeline Gordon, who demonstrates excellent comic timing as a bemused journalist and a drunk princess, while Michael Mayne is thoroughly convincing in various roles and David Hankinson plays a corrupt MP as if he was born to it.

(Louis Mazzini for London Theatre 1)

The 39 Steps The 39 Steps

Adam Moulder (who is on stage pretty much throughout) took the lead role of Richard Hannay. His performance was polished and he maintained his character superbly throughout. His occasional asides to the audience were perfectly timed and delivered, accompanied by some facial expressions that would challenge Lee Evans. Moulder's various love interests were brilliantly portrayed by Sophie Mackenzie who, accompanied by an assortment of wigs, was able to portray clearly distinct characters throughout. Whilst she was, much of the time, the "straight man" to the comedy going on around her, when she had the opportunity within the script to push her comedic side, it was well executed.
The remaining characters (and there are lots of them) were portrayed by the two "clowns". Both Grimson and Ward delivered excellent performances.

(Paul Wilson for London Theatre 1. Awarded 4 stars.)

An accomplished performance by all concerned ... an incredibly entertaining way to spend an evening. I thoroughly enjoyed this pacy piece as did my companion, and the rest of the audience!
(The Spy in the Stalls)

The Tower Theatre Company is a highly productive amateur company with a long and successful history. There is plenty of talent on show : Hannay is played by Adam Moulder, who gives an increasingly assured performance, has the audience rooting for him and holds focus well. The company of four actors have a good chemistry, Ward and Grimshaw provide dynamic comedy throughout, and Sophie Mackenzie, as the foil to Hannay, judges her performance well. The Gatehouse Theatre is well worth the visit; an ample yet intimate space with good sight lines.
(Michael Kelly for London Pub Theatres)

Firstly, it was obvious that the actors were having a lot of fun doing the show, and when the actors enjoy it, the audience enjoy it. Secondly, my friend didn't realise The 39 Steps was an amateur theatre production until she read the programme. Both these things, if nothing else, show the quality of the show ... I look forward to seeing a lot more of their work.
(A Pint and a Play)

The Ladykillers The Ladykillers

The play is staged with great exuberance at the Gatehouse by the always entertaining Tower Theatre Company ... The Ladykillers is perfect light-hearted evening entertainment ..
(The Blog of Theatre Things)

Alison Liney portrays the perfect mix of the innocent, harmless yet opinionated and fiesty Mrs. Wilberforce - you wouldn't want to cross her! Whilst Ed Malcolmson brings the character of Professor Marcus to life with over the top charm, graces and a terribly prim and proper accent.
The set, designed by Michael Bettell, Jude Chalk and Bernard Brennan instantly transports the audience back to their own grandmother's living room - expertly combining a classic floral pattern with military photographs and of course, a good tea cosy.
Lynda Twidale has got it spot on with costume in this production.

(Stephanie Legg for The Spy in the Stalls)

An Enemy of the People An Enemy of the People

Much can be said for the warm welcome offered by the company and the theatre ... a very welcome and relevant performance ... an admirable performance of a complex tale, I did leave feeling empowered; at the finish, Dr. Stockman's visionary eyes shone with purpose.
(Dean Wood for Everything Theatre)

Enjoyed recent performance of An Enemy of the People - well done to all the cast, crew and director ... some great acting plus good crowd scene.
(Audience member A. D.)

Much Ado About Nothing Much Ado About Nothing

In a strong cast, Sarah Evans and Shane Sweeney stand out with excellent comic performances as Beatrice and Benedick ... Paul Isaacs and Asma Mani are equally well matched as the far too trusting lovers Claudio and Hero, and natural comedian John Chapman is a joy as Dogberry ... this straightforward production is extremely accessible and thoroughly entertaining throughout. The show also looks great and has an infectious energy ... another excellent and highly recommended production from the Tower Theatre.
(The Blog of Theatre Things)

Kindertransport Kindertransport

Superlative production of Kindertransport tonight. Incredible staging and production values and great onstage soundscapes. All of this before mentioning the spellbinding performances. Congratulations to Angharad Ormond, Ruth Sullivan, Colin Guthrie and all the Tower cast and crew involved in an outstanding show.
(Audience member J.K.)

Just watched a wonderful production of Kindertransport. Beautifully directed and staged by Angharad Ormond with some powerful performances, particularly from Ruth Sullivan and Katrin Larissa Kasper. And not forgetting some very imaginative music and sound design from Colin Guthrie. If you can get a ticket, do go!
(Audience member L.C.)

Important play and beautifully done. Glad is almost sold out. It should definitely have a longer run.
(Audience member E.T.)

Congratulations to cast and crew - it's hugely impressive. Powerful, moving and strikingly, shockingly relevant. Seriously, don't miss this.
(Audience member E.M.))

Well, that was good. Kindertransport is terrific - see it if you can.
(Audience member S.L.)

A very moving and well acted performance. Was very impressed by the lady who played 'Eva' - very authentic. A great cast, really enjoyed the use of the piano and glasses for music (eery, made the hairs stick up on your neck a bit) and the use of shadows - really gave me the creeps, no idea how I got to sleep last night. A fantastic show all round, highly recommend!
(Audience member C.G.)

A terrific production - so imaginative and moving.
(Audience member S.B.)

Under the Blue Sky Under the Blue Sky

... terrific characterisation of Anne (Lily Ann Green), an elderly teacher, and Robert (Leon Chambers), a slightly younger former colleague ... Chambers portrays Robert as a sincere but charmingly gauche Essex-bloke; Green has a twinkle in her eye and a hint of inner strength and passion worthy of Judi Dench. Their inhibitions released by music and dancing, Anne and Robert gaze up at the blue sky and dare to dream of happiness. It's heart-warming. How often does "modern" theatre leave an audience with a prevailing feeling of comforting optimism?
(Review by Claire Seymour for the British Theatre Guide.)

The Importance of Being Earnest The Importance of Being Earnest

In London ...

After a long and stressful day, the Tower Theatre Company's production of The Importance of Being Earnest was just what the doctor ordered. This absurd little story never fails to tickle me, and makes me curiously proud to be British - especially when done as well as it is here.
(The Blog of Theatre Things)

This is classic Oscar Wilde wit performed with gusto in this faithful rendering ... The set in this show is gorgeous, with highly different atmospheres created for a townhouse and a country residence ... A lively and fun production.
(Chris Omaweng for London Theatre 1. Awarded 4 stars.)

In Gloucester, Massachusetts ...

We've got to find a way to keep them. Maybe there's some clause in Brexit : if they leave England, they can't go back. Talking about London's Tower Theatre Company, which is visiting the Gorton Theatre this week. Smart, crisply performed and thoroughly prepared comedy is hard to come by in the states. Thank goodness they brought some. This staging of Wilde's preposterous parlor farce was a winner on almost every level.
(Review by Keith Powers for the Beverly Citizen)

Puts you right in Victorian London and instills a dire need for a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich. Unabashedly frivolous and totally fun.
(Audience member I.O.)

Bedroom Farce Bedroom Farce

This Alan Ayckbourn revival from the 1970s is excellent. Its smoothness and pace could serve as a perfect example to modern day writers on what can be achieved.

Veteran actors Anne Connell and Jonathan Norris lead the line brilliantly as Delia and Ernest. They are totally believable and at the same time warm and funny.

The production by the Tower Theatre Company is perfectly understated, just as Ayckbourn would have envisioned it back in 1975 when it was written. It is however fast paced with brilliant humour coming thick and fast.

(Review by Graham Archer for West End Wilma. Awarded 5 stars.)

The set fills the large performance space very snugly, and the scene changes are entirely seamless accordingly. The sound effects (Colin Guthrie) were excellent throughout, particularly with regard to an off-stage fight scene ... a memorable and enjoyable production.
(Review by Chris Omaweng for London Theatre 1. Awarded 4 stars.)

Doctor Faustus Doctor Faustus

London' most active amateur theatre company, the Tower Theatre, has been in business for more than 80 years - but shows no sign of getting tired. Their new production of Doctor Faustus at Theatro Technis is dramatic, intense and gripping ...

... a relatively traditional interpretation of Marlowe's text, featuring two central performances that wouldn't look out of place on a professional stage. Jonathon Cooper is charmingly eccentric as Faustus, skilfully embodying every side of the character : the frustrated genius, the cocky celebrity and the terrified dead man walking. It's hard to feel sympathy for a man who's entirely responsible for his own downfall, but Cooper's Faustus is just likeable enough that we can't help hoping he'll find a loophole as his final minutes tick away.

He's joined by Tower Theatre veteran Robert Reeve as Mephistopheles, the demon charged with sweet-talking Faustus into giving up his soul, and then being his constant companion for 24 years until it's time to collect on the debt. Dressed all in black, Reeve radiates a quiet authority, and it's clear from his sly grin whenever Faustus isn't looking who's really in control of the situation.

Once again, The Tower Theatre Company has made it clear that amateur doesn't have to mean unprofessional or poor quality. Every member of the company volunteers their time and talent for the sheer love of theatre, and that passion shines through in this and every production I';e seen.

(The Blog of Theatre Things)

The Tower Theatre Company tackle his tormented spiritual journey with enough of a modernist tilt to stay true to Marlowe's vision but not even the great Marlowe was blessed with the pluck to give the deadly sin of Lust a Benny Hill-like characterisation. Actually, Benny Hill in a leopard-skin mini skirt leering and salivating all over Faustus after the Seven Deadly Sins strut out onto the stage as if it were a fashion show, led by a white-turbaned, red-lip-sticked, incredibly camp Pride who'd make John Inman pale in comparison.

Are You Being Served? You will be because this magnetic and fixating production directed by Lucy Bloxham offers a clever take on the Faustian tragedy with lead actor Jonathan Cooper conducting this quest for limitless knowledge with an anguished, spirited and passionate performance which suggests a sliver of demonic possession even before the angels warn him of Lucifer.

Many of the cast play several parts, switching effortlessly as they do so. Notable, in this respect is a scene where Faustus messes up the Pope. Faustus attends a papal feast and is invisible to the guests but intent on causing havoc. A good few of the sombre clergymen around the table were also in earlier scenes donning mini skirts, turbans, Sly and the Family Stone-style felt hats and iPhone head sets when parading as the seven deadly sins.

This, of course, doesn't apply to Robert Reeve as Mephistopheles. His powerful presence and bassy tones are central to Lucifer's demon alone. The long leather jacket is a nice touch by costume designer Julia Collier.

(Eddie Saint-Jean for What's Hot London. Awarded 4 stars)