Simon James Collier & Fallen Angel Theatre

in association with

Brockley Jack Studio Theatre


Blavatsky’s Tower

By Moira Buffini

Directed by Chris Loveless

On the twenty-fifth floor of a monstrous tower block Hector Blavatsky - visionary, architect and patriarch - dominates his family with God-like authority. Fearful of being tainted by the rest of humanity below (‘the crushed’) the Blavatsky’s are in full retreat from the world. But Hector is dying. And when an outsider arrives in their miniature universe the family must finally consider flying the nest and joining the crushed - but at what cost?

Moira Buffini’s black comedy takes a wry look at that most dysfunctional of establishments: the family.

Tues 16 March – Sat 3 April 2010
(No Performances Sun/Mon)
Tues – Sat 7.45pm

Brockley Jack Studio Theatre
410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH

Box Office: 0844 847 2454 OR

Book online

Tickets: £12 / £9 (No booking fee)

Rail: Honor Oak Park – 15 mins London Bridge
& Crofton Park – 10 mins Blackfriars

Bus: 171, 172, 122 & P4 – stop in front of theatre


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fourbluestarsblack.jpg (1177 bytes)  Review of Blavatsky's Tower
"Darkly comic and insightful drama"

by Chris Sims for remotegoat on 21/03/10

Can mankind aspire to a higher state of being? And if not, what happens to those whose life-consuming efforts to transcend the mundane world can only end in disappointment? The philosophical questions at the heart of Moira Buffini's intriguing play are as high-reaching as the tower of the title, but they unfold through a series of very human encounters between a damaged and isolated family and a bewildered outsider.

The Blavatsky family see themselves as above the rest of the world, both spiritually and physically as they eke out their lives in self-imposed quarantine on top of a huge, dilapidated tower block designed by their dominating father, Hector. In reality, they are a mess of unspoken resentments and overpowering fears, and the arrival of a doctor from the outside world to tend to the blind and increasingly deranged Hector precipitates the collapse of their universe.

Buffini's script begins with comedy in the first act as the doctor is confronted with this collection of misfits, and grows increasingly dark as the family's world begins to fall apart and their efforts to control events grow more and more desperate. The full truth of the situation, and the true nature of the characters, unfolds gradually - the questions the audience is left with at the end of the first act are answered with great satisfaction in the second. The strength of the script is its ability to observe fine details and truths within a strong story arc and tightly defined thematic focus; its one weakness perhaps a tendency to intersperse realistic dialogue with overtly theatrical moments at odds with the characters' naivety.

The most challenging work on stage falls to the three Blavatsky siblings, and Annabel Bates, Emily Bowker and Anthony Hoskyns all rise impressively to the challenge. Bates is wonderfully natural as idealistic youngest sibling Ingrid, while Hoskyns physically and vocally inhabits the childlike and petulant Roland admirably. Bowker displays tremendous comic abilities in the first act, as oldest sibling Audrey tries to deal with the unprecedented entrance of a newcomer into the Blavatskys' lives, before descending into desperation and autocracy in the second act with equal dramatic skill. The one weaker element in the cast is Robert Wilson's doctor Tim Dunn, who seems only vaguely surprised at the bizarre lifestyles he uncovers and who does not really convince as the saviour figure he ultimately becomes - though not for all the family.

Ultimately, the perspective of the play seems to be that lofty dreams are dangerous, and that freedom can come in the most mundane and safe of forms. Not an outlook on life with which all will identify, but Blavatsky's Tower should certainly provoke reflection on the best way to live one's life - and any piece of theatre that can do that is worth making the effort to go and see.

British Theatre Guide
Review by Sandra Giorgetti
Domineering architect Hector Blavatsky housed himself and his family in the top floor flat of the tower block he designed. But the utopia he had imagined failed to be realised and, overwhelmed by the ugliness of his own creation, he turned his back on the world and never set foot outside the flat again.

In the absence of a mother, the three children were raised by a monstrous father who stayed within the confines of the 25th floor. Now, even from his deathbed, he continues to tyrannise them and they, for fear of contamination from those who live below, revealingly called 'the crushed', have adopted a similar seclusion.
Only the eldest Audrey, who has a job, has contact with the outside world which gives her power over her brother Roland, who remains aloof from society in "a battle to remain uncorrupted" and sister, Ingrid, who is kept in by her "will".

The status quo of their unconventional living arrangements teeters precariously with the arrival of a stranger, and the pretence that they are an "ordinary family" becomes increasingly transparent as it emerges that they are not always sure exactly what is 'ordinary' themselves.

The writing is packed with well-observed contradictions of family living: the compromise between duty and personal want, the changes of allegiance, the reigning in of hate and the calculated giving of affection. Here the perversities are more extreme but no less believable as Buffini reveals the savage side of this love-to-hate, hate-to-love institution.

Director Chris Loveless has assembled a first class cast for this revival of Moira Buffini's 1998 play. Emily Bowker has a strong stage presence and gives a powerful performance as Audrey, frustrated by the dilemma of being in charge of the family without being the one in control.
Robert Wilson is Tim Dunn, the person who represents 'normality', complete with questionable motives, in the form of the doctor who goes to the 25th floor flat by a quirk of fate and becomes embroiled with this most dysfunctional of families. Wilson is adept at the comic elements of the role and gives the confused and disbelieving doctor a pleasingly humorous physicality too.

Annabel Bates engenders sympathy for the vulnerable Ingrid in a sensitive portrayal of a disturbed and fragilely innocent victim whilst still hinting at an ability to manipulate things to her own advantage. Oliver Hulme by contrast is a raging tortured Hector Blavatsky but nonetheless moving when he says to his son, "I wanted it to be true, but nothing ever is".

Roland is played by Anthony Hoskyns, in a thoughtful performance that reveals the complexities and inconsistencies of a troubled mind.

Blavatsky's Tower is a compelling piece of writing that is both darkly comic and thought provoking. It covers a lot of issues, may be too many, but Chris Loveless' direction maintains a tight pace and delivers a gripping evening's entertainment.

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Kate Bannister & Karl Swinyard - Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Kate Bannister (Artistic Director) and Karl Swinyard (Theatre Manager) have programmed and produced over 100 different productions at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, including the recent new writing season, Write Now, classical revivals, musical theatre, comedy and community art events. They have also introduced film, Scratch nights and writing workshops to the venue. Their own in-house productions include: Fighting, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, The Importance of Being Earnest, Worlds Apart, Xanthippe, A Fans’ Club, Teechers and A Christmas Carol.

As director and designer or as co-designers Kate and Karl’s productions also include: Orion (Wilton’s Music Hall); Measure for Measure Malaya (Riverside Studios); Twelfth Night (Courtyard Theatre); Extensions of Love (Oval House); Firelines, W.C., Fishmonger, Mystery of the Rose Bouquet (Blue Elephant Theatre); You Don't Kiss (Stratford Circus); Uncle Ebenezer (BAC); A Bill of Divorcement, The Girls’ Consent (Greenwich Playhouse); Amah (Tara Arts); Accidental Death of an Anarchist (UK Tour); Canterbury Tales (UK Tour); As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet (Hertfordshire Festival); The Smilin’ State, A Mother Speaks (Hackney Empire); The Dorchester, No Shame No Fear, My Matisse, Preacherosity (Jermyn Street Theatre); Purlie, Notes Across A Small Pond, The Ballad of Little Jo (Bridewell Theatre); Question Time (Arcola Theatre). Their youth and community art projects include: Pass the Baton, The Miracle (Lewisham Senior Youth Theatre) Is it Art? Art in You (multimedia installation); Alice, Six Men, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Bushey Story. Most recently they have collaborated with Heart and Soul at the Albany Theatre, Deptford and at the Southbank.

Michael Brydon - Production Photographs

Moira Buffini - Playwright

Moira is currently Writer in Residence at the National Theatre Studio.  Her writing for theatre includes Dinner (2002) which was commissioned by the National Theatre, nominated for an Olivier Award for best new comedy and has recently enjoyed a revival at the Bay Street Theatre in NY.

Other theatre credits include Loveplay (2001) for the RSC; Silence (1999) Birmingham Rep and Plymouth Theatre Royal, winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn prize; Gabriel (1997) for Soho, winner of LWT award and Whiting award; and Blavatsky’s Tower (fringe). More recently Moira wrote Dying For It, a free adaptation of The Suicide by Nickolai Erdman, and Marianne Dreams, based on Catherine Storr's book, both for the Almeida (2007). She also wrote A Vampire Story, for the National Theatre's Connections Festival (2008). Her latest play Welcome to Thebes opens on the National Theatre Olivier stage in June.

Moira has also written a screen adaptation of A Vampire Story for Number 9 Films and an adaptation of Jane Eyre for BBC and Ruby Films, for theatrical release. Her screen adaptation of Tamara Drewe for Ruby Films, directed by Stephen Frears, finished shooting in Autumn 2009 and is awaiting release.

Simon James Collier - Producer

Simon is CEO and Co-Founder of the noted Okai Collier Company and has produced and been the creative director on over fifty plays and musicals in London, throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. These include Oliver Twist and Supernatural (Lion & Unicorn); Love Horse (White Bear); Collision (also directed • Hackney Empire); Normal (Tobacco Factory, Bristol); Moonshadow (Time Out Critics’ Choice, White Bear); In His Hands (Hackney Empire/Oxford House); The Smilin’ State (Hackney Empire); Dracula (White Bear); Hedwig & The Angry Inch (K52 Theatre, Frankfurt); A Mother Speaks (Hackney Empire/New Wolsey, Ipswich/The Drum, Birmingham); The Dorchester (Jermyn Street); The Last Session (Hackney Empire); My Matisse (Jermyn Street); Shiny Happy People, with Victoria Wood (Hornchurch Theatre); Passion (Bridewell); A… My Name Is Alice (Bridewell); Whole Lotta Shakin’ (Belgrade, Coventry); Great Balls Of Fire (Cambridge Theatre, West End); A Wrongful Execution (also directed • Hackney Empire); Spooky Noises (also book & co lyrics • Merlin Theatre); Countess & Cabbages (also book • Merlin Theatre); Preacherosity (Jermyn Street); Purlie (nominated for 4 What’s On Stage Awards • Bridewell); Elegies For Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (also Executive Producer on 2001 Cast Recording • Bridewell, Globe Centre, Three Mills); La Vie En Rose (King’s Head, Towngate Theatre); Viva O Carnaval (also co book & lyrics • Lilian Baylis Sadler’s Wells) and Ruthless (winner of 5 Musical Stages awards • Stratford Circus, London).

He has also written and published over twenty children’s books and novels including the Mr. Dark trilogy (optioned for an animated television series), the Towards the Light Fantastic Trilogy and the Norman series. Simon recently produced Dance With Me, his first feature film, which will be in cinemas in 2010 and is currently developing two other features for production in 2010/11. He also directed The Difference We Make, a documentary for Southern Housing Foundation as well as presenting celebrated events at St. Martin in the Fields (The Crusaid Requiem), Hackney Empire (Inspiration Innovation Integration Season) and St. Paul’s Cathedral (Service of Thanksgiving, Remembrance & Hope for World AIDS Day).

Simon has created and project directed a series of award-nominated social investment projects that encourage youth creativity and literacy within the community, produced a number of documentaries and short films, and promoted various exhibitions focusing on the work of up and coming artists.

He has also been the Executive Director of London’s Bridewell Theatre, Artistic Consultant to Jermyn Street West End Studio Theatre and Chair, Trustee, Director and Consultant of numerous charities.

Productions for 2010 include: Tapestry (also directing); Gifted (White Bear); More Dead Black Children; Stairway to Heaven (Blue Elephant), The Remains of the Day (Union Theatre) and Still Life.

Adam Dechanel - Graphic Design/Illustration

Adam Dechanel is a prolific author, illustrator and graphic designer whose career spans nearly a decade. He has worked in television, film, books, short stories and graphic novels for many years. Throughout his wide-ranging career he has had a series of novels published including the high profile Superman: Tempered Steel. Adam is well known in the illustration field and has worked extensively with Warner Bros, DC Comics and The Walt Disney Company. He also exhibits his artwork in galleries around London, including the prestigious Old Truman Brewery. He is the co-creator of publishing label Okai Collier Kids that pioneered the CDbook entertainment format. His concept for graphic novel anthologies Vanston Place: The Secret Adventures & The Timber Wharves Gang were short listed for a SNAC award.

In theatre Adam has worked on productions including Collision, Passion, A… My Name Is Alice, My Matisse, In His Hands, The Smilin’ State, The Sister Wendy Musical, The Dorchester, A Mother Speaks and Dracula, and also spearheaded the marketing campaign for the critically acclaimed European premieres of Purlie and Preacherosity. He also wrote A Wrongful Execution, which featured as a reading for the acclaimed Inspiration, Innovation and Integration Season.

Fallen Angel Theatre Company - Producer

Fallen Angel was established in 2007 and focuses on new writing and innovative revivals of provocative and challenging works. Productions to date include Normal (Tobacco Factory), Moonshadow (White Bear), Ray Collins Dies On Stage (Alma Theatre, Bristol), Dracula (White Bear) and The Custom of the Country (White Bear). All have received widespread critical acclaim.

Matt Gardner - Fight Director

Matt Hall - Sound Design

Matt started working in live music predominantly in the Jazz and Folk scene, working on anything from big band jazz to solo guitarists and everything in between. He then moved into the theatre world and was the resident Sound Designer and Deputy Chief Technician at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick for 3 years. He has recently moved from the North and now works in the busy Chichester Festival Theatre’s sound department. Recent sound design credits include: CollisionA Chorus of DisapprovalBlackbirdChris Dugdale’s Magic & MindreadingThe Maid of ButtermereA Christmas CarolArsenic and Old LaceThe Bogus WomanThe Lady in the VanThe Lonesome WestThe Importance of Being EarnestIn ExtremisThe CaretakerOur Country’s GoodThe Recruiting Officer, The Borrowers, Jordan, Taking StepsDays of Wine and RosesOf Mice and MenOn Golden Pond.

Chris Lince - Lighting Design

As lighting designer, Chris has most recently lit Compression at the Brockley Jack. He has worked extensively with director Benet Catty on productions of Howie the Rookie, Edmond, Speed-the-Plow, Popcorn, Sweet Charity and Sweeney Todd. He has been award-winning comedian Brendon Burns’ technical director for five years, as well as designing the lighting for numerous comedy shows in Edinburgh and London. He is regularly based at the Cockpit Theatre, coordinating their long-running scratch night, Theatre in the Pound. As a director, Chris’s Edinburgh Fringe production of Emily Juniper’s Restitution transferred to Theatre 503, and his more recent Edinburgh production of Brett Goldstein’s Success Story will be revived later in 2010. He is also a writer and graphic designer.

Chris Loveless - Director/Producer

Chris trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (2007). He is Artistic Director of Fallen Angel Theatre Company and an associate director of the White Bear Theatre and Stepping Out Theatre Company.

Directing credits include Normal (Tobacco Factory, Bristol), Moonshadow (Time Out Critics' Choice & Show of the Week, White Bear), Ray Collins Dies On Stage (Alma Theatre, Bristol), Thursday Coma (Alma), Walter's Monkey (Alma), Dracula (White Bear) and The Custom of the Country (Time Out Critics' Choice, White Bear). Assisting credits include Othello (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory) and The Demon Box (Alma).

Producing credits include studio and fringe productions, and an internship with ATG in their West End production office. Chris has also worked in theatre and TV as an actor and is a former member of the National Youth Theatre.

Nod 'n' Wink Designs - Graphic Illustration

Nod 'n' Wink Designs are a group of creative graphic designers who believe in the power of thought and conceptualization. We try not to look at the world as it is, but imagine the world as it could be. We talk about projects, not orders. We develop your projects with love and passion, dedication and sensitivity: ingredients we believe essential in the creative process of an artistic work. Email:    Web:

Christina Pomeroy - Costume

Chris has worked as Costume Designer on a number of Okai Collier Company productions including Elegies (Bridewell); Purlie (Bridewell, nominated for 4 What’s On Stage awards); Ruthless (Stratford Circus, winner of 5 Musical Stages awards); Preacherosity and The Dorchester (both at Jermyn Street West End Studio Theatre); The Sister Wendy Musical, The Smilin’ State, Collision and In His Hands (both Hackney Empire) and Dracula (White Bear Theatre).

Amy Rycroft - Casting/Associate Producer

Casting credits for the English Theatre Frankfurt include; The Full Monty, Educating Rita, Hysteria, Hair, Gaslight, Death Trap, Laughing Wild, Nevelle’s Island, The Last Virgin, Blithe Spirit, RENT; Other theatre casting credits include; A Day at the Racist (Finborough Theatre), The Tenants (Drill Hall), Ruth (New End Theatre, London) A Wrongful Execution (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); Borrowed Time (New End Theatre, London); Purlie (Bridewell Theatre); Passion (Bridewell Theatre). Music Video & Commercial casting credits include: Andre Rieu (Decca Records), Dreamboats & Petticoats 3 (Universal Music Op), Bingo Wings Music Video (MJNA Records). Associate Producer and Producer credits include: Circus Agogo (New End Theatre); A Wrongful Execution (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); The Last Session (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); Bridewell Theatre Farewell Gala (Bridewell Theatre); Purlie (Bridewell Theatre). Production Assistant on Death of a Salesman (Lyric Theatre, London); The Countess (Criterion Theatre, London); I Am My Own Wife (Duke of York Theatre, London).

Renell Shaw -  Music

London born lyricist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Renell Shaw has been uniquely placed between the genres of African-classical, soulful hip-hop, Jazz and world music. He is an innovative songwriter/producer working within the worlds of film, theatre, and dance and as a session musician.

As well as being involved in the creation and performance side of music his entrepreneurial skills have thrown him into the music business partaking in facilitation, events production and artist development/management.

Renell Shaw has performed at many prestigious venues including The Royal Festival Hall, Roundhouse, Jazz Café and The Barbican alongside respected musicians including Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch, Nitin Sawhney and The London Philharmonic Orchestra. He continues to thrive on the challenges of working on varied, eclectic and creative projects and remains committed to pushing the boundaries of his various art forms.


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Annabel Bates - Ingrid Blavatsky

Annabel trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama (BA Acting), graduating in 2006.

Theatre includes Princess Lotus Blossum in Aladdin (Brewery Arts Centre), Judy in Moonshadow (White Bear), Irene in Tuesday (The Pleasance), Elle in Elle and the Cabaret of the Cavendish Club - Musical (295 Regent Street), Kitty in The Last Maharajah - Musical (Hoxton Hall) and Zenocia in The Custom of the Country (White Bear). 

Film includes Girlfriend in Ikea Furnishing Project, Lisa in Ohms (Bruno Centofanti) and various decapitated zombies in Colin (Marc Price).

Audio includes Narrator in Love in the Lakes (Hart McLeod) and CUP Projects (Cambridge University Press). 

Viral includes Girl (lead) in The Lung (Channel 4 and Cancer Research).

Annabel is an experienced teacher of acting for film, theatre, voice and Shakespeare technique. She also prepares students applying to drama school.


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Emily Bowker – Audrey Blavatsky

Emily trained at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Her theatre credits include Too True to be Good (Finborough) Lie of the Land (Arcola), Present Laughter (Theatre Clwyd), Poor Cousin (Hampstead Theatre), A Great Undertaking in Little America (Cheltenham Everyman), Daisy Pulls it Off (No.1 Tour), Look Back in Anger, A Midsummer Nights Dream (The Garrick Theatre Rep Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Ripley Castle), Antigone (Bristol Old Vic) and Noises Off (The Torch). 

Emily enjoys being involved in the development and performance of new writing. Recent work includes I see Myself as a bit of an Indiana Jones Figure at The Old Red Lion, Devon Country and Seven Sisters for The Tobacco Factory, Newfoundland for the Ustinov Studio/Theatre Royal Bath, and The Primrose Cresent Party for Attic Theatre Co. She is also a member of 'The Company Project', an actor/writer ensemble that she regularly workshops new scripts with, and recently performed in their productions of Playlist and Playground at the Arcola and Theatre 503.

Her work for television includes Dr. Rees in Holby City (BBC), Alex in Shameless (Company Pictures/Ch.4), Ellie Johnson in Torchwood (BBC), Leanne in Wire in the Blood (Coastal), Mandy Cook in The Bill (Talkback Thames).

Radio includes High Table, Lower Orders, Swimming Lessons (BBC Radio 4) and various characters in comedy sketch show Roundabout (BBC Radio Wales).

Film work includes playing Carla in the British black comedy feature City Rats starring Danny Dyer (Face Films/Urban Way).


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Anthony Hoskyns - Roland Blavatsky

Graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2007. Previous theatre includes: Romeo and Juliet (BAC), She Stoops to Conquer (Nuffield theatre, Southampton), The Age of Consent (The Drill hall), Lonestar and Hard Feelings (O.S.O. Barnes). Television and Radio include: Trinity (ITV3) and A Dance to the Music of Time (BBC Radio 4).


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Oliver Hume – Hector Blavatsky  

Oliver was born on tour and grew up around theatres from Salisbury to Pitlochry. After a wild youth of getting a maths degree he settled down, working his way into the business as a stage manager on his father’s one man show Old Herbaceous and then re-training as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

He spent 7 years doing weekly rep in Norfolk and Wolverhampton doing a total of 50 plays over the course of 7 summers. Then after being shot by a Dalek in The Dalek Empire III by Big Finish productions he fled to Germany where he toured in Macbeth for the White Horse Theatre Company before returning to the UK to appear at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park as a dirty bald giggling psychotic fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Last year he did a one man show at the Brighton Festival about a Stand up Comedian; over the summer he appeared in a new play about psychiatry (directed by Chris Loveless, produced by Simon James Collier and co-starring Annabel Bates) called Moonshadow which was given 4 stars and Critics' Choice in Time Out and then went on to be a Terrifying Torturer at Warwick Castle for Halloween. Over Christmas he was an Ugly Sister in the Solihull Arts Complex Pantomime Cinderella, and most recently he has been a Jules Verne type scientist (at Warwick Castle once more), inventing stink bombs!

As acting can be a slightly temperamental occupation, he has also been reliving the hedonistic times of his youth and tutoring mathematics in and around London just for fun. Feel free to quiz him about quadratic equations!

Oliver is at present living out of a suitcase, likes to think of himself as sesquipedalian, loves pizza and owes an enormous amount to A Zed & 7 Gastronauts. He is delighted to be working once again with Chris, Annabel and Simon.


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Robert Wilson - Doctor Tim Dunn

Robert trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His theatre credits include MacDuff in Macbeth at Catford Broadway, Jed in Faust with Punchdrunk/National Theatre, The Emperor Jones at The Gate Theatre directed by Thea Sharrock, Wittipol in The Devil is an Ass at The White Bear, Paul in Up the Feeder Down the 'Mouth at Bristol Old Vic and Duke Vincenzio in Measure for Measure (tour of India). Also: Slave in The Magic Flute - Welsh National Opera (tour), dir Dominic Cooke. TV includes Casualty (BBC).

Fallen Angel Theatre Company