Reactions and Reviews

Here are a selection of comments and reviews about our productions in 2022.

Comments and reviews for 2021 and earlier years are in our archive, here.

If you’d like to get in touch with your own comments, please contact us.

Coram Boy

… with elegance, flair and a great deal of creative imagination from director Simona Hughes … Colin Guthrie’s evocative, clever original music is a magnificent addition … Mr Handel would be impressed … many high spots in this well paced, sensitive production.

(Susan Elkin for Sardines magazine. Awarded 4 stars.)

… a thrilling production hits the stage of the Tower Theatre in Stoke Newington … a well-paced and inventive production helmed by Simona Hughes which uses every inch of the opened-out stage probably to better effect than any other show I have seen there. … The whole is underpinned by superbly intertwined music from Colin Guthrie quoting the works of Handel and some stunning movement work by Nevena Stojkov … Angharad Ormond and Matt Tylianakis are particularly noteworthy … Also making winning contributions are Gately Freeman and Janet South as the Ashbrooks, Nia Woodward as a heart wrenching Toby and a radiant Ruby Mendoza as the spirited Melissa.

(John Chapman for 2nd from Bottom blog.)

Boasting a cast of twenty-six, each member’s performance was superb. However, Paul Graves in the role of Meshak … was outstanding … An incredible accomplishment all around.

(Elaine Chapman for theatreandartreviews.com. Awarded 4 stars.)


Queers

The Man On The Platform is sensitively and stilly played by Simon Christian … (in) The Perfect Gentleman  Rebecca Allan captivates the transgressive nature of her character … Peter Westbury’s costume designs are a joy to look at … Safest Spot In Town lands its punches well and Leon Wander as Fredrick gives a nicely judged performance with moments of spiky humour … (in) Missing Alice Helen McGill delivers a pitch perfect performance … Victor Craven’s direction of all four pieces is nothing short of masterly … Stephen Ley’s beautifully realised lighting is both subtle and evocative … Jude Chalk’s spare Victorian pub setting has something of the church confessional about it … this spare but essential production is everything good theatre should be – educational, enlightening, emotive and above all entertaining – Queers is just about as good as it gets.

(John Chapman for 2nd from Bottom blog.)

“Perfection.” – “Spellbinding.” – “Flawless.” – “I had goosebumps.” – “Enthralling.” – “I’m booking to see it again.” – “Congratulations on creating something beautiful.” – “Absolutely excellent.” – “An absolutely must see production.” – “This production makes me proud to be a member of the Tower Theatre.”

(Various audience members).


Nine Night

It’s so good the interval was an inconvenience. I had just wanted it to carry on. Brilliant performances and direction guys!

(Audience member L.O.)

An absolutely stunning production with a wonderful cast – don’t miss it!

(Audience member L.S.)


Twelfth Night

The evocatively realised and colourful costuming of Laura Fuchs and Lynda Twidale is entirely in tune with the setting of the beachside location (Rob Hebblethwaite and Jessa Evans) with its sand and rocky outcrop. … There’s some beautifully arranged settings of Shakespeare’s words courtesy of Tamara Douglas-Morris.

Emma Miles’s clear headed direction has ensured that the twists and turns are easy enough to follow … Bella Hornby delivers Viola’s set piece speeches with an understated conviction that contrasts nicely with the more raucous comedy propelled by the machinations of servant Maria (Sangita Modgil). There’s an excellent double act from Richard Hague as aging biker Sir Toby and Matthew Ibbotson as a beanpole Sir Andrew struggling to keep his dignity and his money out of his compadre’s clutches; I’ve seldom seen the parts played better. There’s plenty to admire in the rest of the cast too with a particularly stylish Olivia (Sophie Platts-Martin) evolving into a love struck simpering giggler.

Ruth Sullivan makes for a risibly censorious steward, all pursed lips, stiff legged waddling gait and horrendous forced smile. Mostly dressed in a contrasting sombre brown and regularly shaking the sand off her shoes, she appears like a trussed up turkey cock in her cross gartered canary yellow stockings and an array of flowers to hilarious effect.

If Shakespeare isn’t usually your thing then this just might alter your opinion and if you’re a seasoned veteran there is still plenty to delight the eye, the ear and the mind.

(John Chapman for 2nd from Bottom blog.)

“Brilliant show! We saw it last night – funny, touching and wonderfully inventive. Really clear storytelling, terrific performances and great direction” – “What a wonderful production!” – “two and a half hours of delight and laughs from a fabulous cast” – “a joyful evening, not to be missed” – “a real treat!” – “it’s brilliant and so funny…” – “Thought it was brilliant – well done everyone”

(Various audience members)


Death and the Maiden

” .. one of my top 5 plays at the Tower Theatre. Big congratulations to the actors and director. They transported me through time and place – it was brilliant” – “A wonderful, atmospheric production of a modern classic” – ”Clever, involving and terrifically well acted” – “Well-acted version of a good play in a charming theatre with comfortable seats”.

(Various audience members)


Enchanted April

… it turned out to be one of those quite rare  occasions when I was charmed – enchanted, even – almost from the first word … It’s a play – and a production – with warmth and heart. It’s also uplifting to chuckle continuously for two and a half hours.

(Susan Elkin for Sardines magazine. Awarded 4 stars.)


Bouncers and Shakers

The direction of both pieces has been superbly carried out by Ruth Sullivan with a fine eye for telling detail and the introduction of some extremely well drilled movement routines … the underlying soundtrack is completely evocative of the era and which also makes wry commentary on the action at many points – “you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar”, indeed. Samuel Littley’s lighting plot works well with the soundtrack to conjure up a particular era while Lucy Moss has a good deal of fun with the costumes … a great addition to this year’s 90 years celebration programme.

(John Chapman for 2nd from Bottom blog.)

“Fantastic shows – brilliant choreography and high energy entertaining performances from all the cast – plus excellent direction.” – “Seriously not to be missed – one of the best few hours I’ve had in a while!” – “Cannot emphasise enough how UNMISSABLE this show is! 4 brilliant performances, slick choreography, a soundtrack you just can’t keep still to and funny and moving.”

(Various audience members).


Krapp’s Last Tape

The key thing with Beckett is timing and making silence speak. And John Chapman who shuffles, sighs, grunts and yawns very evocatively is master of both … It was a treat in the performance I saw  – as Chapman worked through the opening long silent section including the famous banana sequence – to hear the audience listening intently even when no words were being spoken. There was real theatrical chemistry in the room.

The attention to detail is impressive too … A truly Beckettian evening.

(Susan Elkin for Sardines magazine. Awarded 4 stars.)

Chapman plays Krapp as confused, with sudden, instinctive jerks of the body and distant frowns that perfectly convey the dilemma of memory, namely that reminiscing can seem to make us both happy and sad at the same time…

This is a very Beckettian sort of tension. Similarly, in a number of his plays Beckett juxtaposes tears and laughter, and implies that comedy and tragedy are bound together, two sides of the same coin … In Krapp’s Last Tape Chapman embodies this to great effect, as his sorrowful air is offset by moments of slapstick; he gobbles down a banana, trips up like Oliver Hardy, and you can’t help but laugh out loud in spite of the bleakness of it all.

(Henry Tydeman for LondonTheatre1. Awarded 4 stars.)

Everything about this excellent production is as it should be. With Richard Davies stage-managing, the bananas (slightly overripe) are in the drawer; the siphon hisses off -stage; the dictionary, when it appears, is a filthy old tome – exactly the place for Krapp to find ‘viduity’ – a word he used at a more pompous age. Sheila Burbidge dresses Krapp precisely as directed, even exaggerating the horrible slovenliness, and including the ‘surprising pair of dirty white boots.’ The contrast of light and dark is an important theme in the play. Stephen Ley’s hanging light just covers the desk, the boxes and the tape machine in warmth-less orange. The rest of the stage is dark. Krapp listens to himself the year he acquired this light: it makes him ‘feel less alone’. Since much of the play is a recording, a great deal depends on the sound being right, and Laurence Tuerk achieves this to perfection.

Director Robert Pennant Jones … does the play justice. John Chapman, shambling, round-shouldered and unkempt –  looks like Krapp. He does nothing to undermine the phallic connotations of the banana he slowly consumes at the start of the play. He manages to engage the audience for a long time not only in silence but also with his absence, while seeming utterly oblivious of them  – all his actions are for himself alone. With bushy eyebrows and an uneven complexion, he resembles a surprised scarecrow, but then there is a sweetly boyish smile, even an occasional look of tenderness. His voice is a delight to listen to.

(Rachel Kent for The Reviews Hub. Awarded 4 stars.)