The Actors Centre

We don’t usually do reviews but…

6 April 2017

…one of our own Alan Bates Award alumni “shines” in I Capture The Castle at Watford Palace Theatre.

A magical score and a story teeming with quaint Englishness with a good dash of American sass!

Alan Bates Award 2015 winner Luke Dale shines in his role of Neil in the Watford Palace/Bolton Octagon co-production of I Capture The Castle. Based on the novel by Dodie Smith (who also wrote 101 Dalmatians), this is a must see for both the rose tinted historian and the hopeless romantic.

Led by the wonderfully "consciously naive" and stand out performance of Cassandra, by Lowri Izzard, whose voice carries the story and the delicate masculinity and fragile heart break portrayed by Theo Boyce's, Simon, is a painful joy to watch. The cast is strong and supported well with debut performers as well as the more seasoned musical theatre actor.

The sass and brass flows freely from the powerhouse women of the production. The duets between Julia St John's, Mrs Cotton, and Shona White’s, Aunt Leda, ooze with their experience and "capture" the shift of women and their power in the early 20th Century. Suzanne Ahmet's, Topaz, the eccentric free spirited stepmother, gives a demanding role a heart and spirit. Her voice demands you listen, with its grit and soul, she is alive with 30's bohemia.

Luke Dale expertly owns his role of Neil Cotton with the corn fed confidence of a rodeo cowboy and the suave command of an American socialite of the time; with impeccable voice and accent in both speech and song.

I Capture The Castle is playing at Watford Palace Theatre until 22 April 2017. Then moves to Bolton Octagon from 26 April – 6 May 2017 with a final week at The Oxford Playhouse starting 16 May 2017.

Luke Dale, a graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama, won the Alan Bates Award in 2015 and is one of 12 winners of this annual prize now working hard in the industry. The Alan Bates Award competition awards an actor of outstanding talent and professionalism in their graduating year of Drama School.

The Alan Bates Award 2017 is well underway and we have auditioned more student actors in the first round than ever before.

The Alan Bates Award is produced by the Actors Centre in association with The Stage.

The Award’s final round and award ceremony, kindly sponsored by Nick Hern Books, will take place on Thursday, 4 May 2017.

Who will be our 13th winner? Watch this space.


By Neil Rawlinson