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A few well-chosen words…

Over the years we’ve been lucky to have our productions reviewed by a large number of critics. And when we’ve done well, they’ve often been there to applaud us and sing our praises. But they’ve also been there when things haven’t gone quite so well. Here are a selection of bouquets and brickbats from across our history. For the full reviews, just go to the past productions page and select the production you’d like to look at. If there’s a review, you’ll see a link to it.
From the Croydon Advertiser except where stated.
Permission to quote from these reviews has been sought wherever possible.
The rights of the original copyright owner are acknowledged in all cases.


‘The whole piece was beautifully managed, with first class expressive movement and a team spirit which only comes from enthusiasm and sheer hard work!’
(T.G. on The Iron Workers, 1974)
‘The good news is that this visionary production is being shown again tomorrow… I found it all immensely impressive, sometimes overwhelming…’
(Donald Madgwick on Circles III, 1983)
‘The whole improbable thing was lifted off the boards with Dame Dangle – Tim Young, as one of the best pantomime dames I’ve seen for ages… Very loud, very fast moving and very good, this production should have been given a much longer run… Don’t miss it.’
(Judith Smallshaw on Santa In Space! 1987)
‘A ruffianly crew, splendidly led by Richard Lloyd as Long John Silver. Making light of the discomfort of playing an arduous role with one leg strapped behind him, he presents a fully rounded portrayal of a murderous dog with a redeeming charm and command of irony.’
(Donald Madgwick on Treasure Island, 1989)
‘The costumes, set, sound and lighting were truly magnificent. The battlements towering above the audience deserved a round of applause all to themselves…’
(Kathleen Gallacher on Macbeth, 1990)
‘Theatre Workshop Coulsdon won me over completely with their exuberant production of Jack The Ripper. Mark Hobbs directs with gusto, and there is first class accompaniment from Mark Taylor at the piano… The company are particularly to be congratulated on some good singing.’
(Diana Eccleston on Jack The Ripper, 1991)
‘One of the Workshop’s best efforts… swaggering, swashbuckling, and acted with terrific commitment… a distinct feather in the cap of the company.’
(Donald Madgwick on The Recruiting Officer, 1992)
Theatre Workshop Coulsdon’s open air productions at The Woodman in Woodmansterne are rapidly being assimilated into our local dramatic calendar – long may it continue…’
(Donald Madgwick on Lark Rise, 1994)
‘Theatre Workshop Coulsdon laid on a masterly, emotive, sometimes funny performance, demonstrating the flair and skill that lifts this company out of the realms of amateurism… Theatre Workshop played this for keeps, never allowing the pace or interest to flag…’
(Kevin Black, The County Border News, on Lark Rise, 1994)
‘One thoroughly traditional element does remain, in the raddled, extravagantly costumed persons of Paul Breden and Mike Brown. May I be made to walk the space plank if these are not the best amateur Ugly Sisters I have seen in many a season: raucous, rowdy, and packing a knockout punch…’
(Donald Madgwick, on Cinderella Interstellar! 1996)
‘Bard-In-Open is a great night out for the whole family. Theatre Workshop…simply exuded the spirit of Shakespeare. Mark Taylor composed and played the music in the manner of the cinema. I wondered if it might be distracting but soon found that it complemented the acting.’
(Peter Steptoe, writing about Twelfth Night at The Woodman 1999)
‘If you want to learn the business of Am Dram, this is a group to join’.
(Peter Steptoe, on Tom Jones at The Woodman 2002)


‘Total collapse of the bong tree!’
(JDR on The Owl and The Pussycat went to sea…, 1972)
‘The significances of this play only fitfully reached us – gabbled lines monotonously delivered, shuffling movement, and scenes that trailed off instead of ending.’
(Gwendolen Pearson on After The Rain, 1973)
‘The climax of the play was ruined by a tape recorder that failed, and two members of the audience who childishly let off a stink bomb.’
(Ray Jones-Davies on The Rainbow Chasers, 1978)
‘Chris Argles as Pantalone is rather a dull old gentleman, and certainly needed an hour or two longer in the study with his text.’
(Donald Madgwick on The Servant Of Two Masters, 1980)
‘Settings were generally good, but the effect was spoiled by quite disastrous lighting which did all sorts of capricious things throughout the evening.’
(Donald Madgwick on Toad Of Toad Hall, 1982)
‘One has to be honest and say that the script is not very good and the songs not especially tuneful… Undisciplined and under-rehearsed in parts, inanimate objects were in rebellion with guns refusing to fire at crucial moments, and lighting raising and lowering erractically, or not coming on at all.’
(Lesley Bacon on The Frankenstein Monster Show, 1986)
‘The performance I attended contained one of the longest and most agonising ‘dries’ in my experience, ended by the arrival of a character with the deathless remark ‘How can you stand there and say such a thing?’
(Donald Madgwick on RUR, 1987)
‘Rob Ickinger gave Lysander a jerkiness suggesting a marionette moved by strings… As Bottom, Chris Argles shackled himself with a middle class accent…’
(Donald Madgwick on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1989)
‘It’s nearly five years since I last saw this show. On the evidence of the Coulsdon production, I hope it will be another five before I see it again.’
(Donald Madgwick on Robin Hood – The Truth Behind The Green Tights, 1989)
‘The Witches’ Award for Overacting going comfortably to Tim Young for his blubbering and blustering portrayal of the Reverend Samuel Parris.’
(Donald Madgwick on The Crucible, 1991)