Guildford Shakespeare Company production of King Lear (2015)

Reviewed by Jeff Thomson, The Surrey Advertiser

“Ben Ashton as Edmund offered a textured interpretation with an enviable stage presence.”

Reviewed by Graham Gurrin, The Stage

“It’s easy to forget just how evil the characters in the play are, but Rosalind Blessed as Goneril, Sarah Gobran as Regan and Ben Ashton as Edmund all flesh out the wickedness in Shakespeare’s text… The grandeur yet intimacy of this 18th-century church seem to inspire a beautifully balanced production of a Shakespeare classic.”

Reviewed by Sarah Parnell, Remotegoat

“King Lear is vividly brought to life by a talented cast… Ben Ashton is the handsome, mercurial, scheming Edmund… Long may theatre of this calibre grace the lucky city of Guildford.”

Blackeyed Theatre production of Not About Heroes (2014)

Reviewed by Julie Watterston, The Stage

“The whole interpretation is directed with passionate sensitivity by Eliot Giuralarocca and gives rise to ardent and demonstrative emotion from James Howard as Sassoon and Ben Ashton as Owen … Ben Ashton’s Owen has a quiet strength which pushes through his diffident exterior… Howard and Ashton give exhaustingly emotive performances and leave the audience with the unanswerable question as to whether the enigmatic attraction between Sassoon and Owen would have developed deeper had the latter survived the war.”

Reviewed by Sharon MacDonald-Armitage, The Public Reviews

“Ben Ashton is superb as Owen and develops nicely from the timid, lacking in confidence admirer of Sassoon’s work into the self-assured writer that we know Owen to be. There is a deeply intimate moment when the two men are editing one of Owens poems and you can see how much their symbiotic relationship acts as a panacea for their pains. There is a strong relationship between the two actors. This striking play leaves the actors vulnerable on stage with nothing more than each other, the poetry and letters between Owen and Sassoon for security and both Howard and Ashton do not disappoint.”

Reviewed by Amanda Thyme, Do More Magazine

“The casting of these two very strong actors along with a master class in direction from Eliot Giuralarocca has turned what could have been a very wordy and worthy play into a wonderfully emotional theatrical experience, captivating the audience from start to finish.
Ashton’s portrayal of Owen is beautifully pitched. When he bursts into the text of his letters home to his mother, he has us alternately laughing or on the brink of tears, and his eager idolisation of Sassoon switches deftly into the more confident man and poet.”

Reviewed by Terry Adlam, Windsor Express

“James Howard and Ben Ashton gave faultless performances as Sassoon and Owen, performing within a creative set, complete with a very effective back projection, which enhanced this captivating piece.
Stephen Macdonald’s script almost read like a well-crafted poem, packed with emotional and thought-provoking dialogue and, of course, the poetry of the futility of war by the two poets.”

Reviewed by Lisa Sibbald, Southside Advertiser

“There are only two actors in this play – James Howard as Sassoon and Ben Ashton as Owen – and they both play their roles with great feeling. Owen’s growth from a nervous, shaking young man to one who gains in confidence as he starts to have poems published is portrayed convincingly by Ben Ashton.
It’s not the sort of play you can really say you “enjoyed”, but it’s one that stays in your mind long after the performance is over.”

Reviewed by Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post

“The shaping of these damaged lives is achieved in rich performances from James Howard (Sassoon) and Ben Ashton (Owen) where the actors take you deep into the incalculable emotional turmoil of men who shared a horror of what was happening in the filth of the trenches, with a gradual awareness that it was Owen who would become the best poet.
The final moments of the play, with Owen’s dead self leaning lovingly on the grief-stricken Sassoon’s shoulder, left an indelible memory of an evening which will not easily be forgotten.”

Reviewed by Jeremy Miles, Remotegoat

“This excellent production from Blackeyed Theatre, directed by Eliot Giuralarocca, evokes beautifully the curious mixture of despair, fear, weariness and thrill of what can still be achieved.
The nervous young Owen (Ben Ashton) and the arrogant Sassoon (James Howard) forge a friendship that gradually finds them becoming utterly inter-dependant. The homoerotic attraction between them is tangible but destined to remain unexplored.”

The Watermill Theatre, Newbury, production of The Miser (2013)

Reviewed by Robin Strapp, British Theatre Guide

“Ben Ashton is marvellous as the ostentatious strutting peacock of a son Cleante. There are some magical moments of sheer clowning that echoes the Commedia dell’Arte genre and are filled with comic invention and audience participation.”

Reviewed by Julie Watterston, The Stage

“Ben Ashton is perfectly superficial as the flamboyant Cleante. The young performers examine and capably develop their characters, blending typical commedia influence into the unique Watermill setting and utilising the theatre’s intimate space by connecting with the audience on just the right level.”

Reviewed by Judi Herman,

“Meckler’s fresh and energetic young cast frolic and plot with great panache. The dandyish, wily brother Cleante, the ardent lover played by the elegant Ben Ashton…The Watermill audiences may well be in on the start of some glittering careers both on & off stage”.

Reviewed by Peter Coe, The Good Review

“As Harpagon’s son Cleante, Ben Ashton has a waspish, foppish persona reminiscent of a young Alan Cumming…Meckler’s work with her young team has resulted in a lively, colourful production”.


Guildford Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth (2013)

Reviewed by Sarah Flinton,

“The ‘weird sisters’ (played by Hayley Doherty, Matt Pinches and Ben Ashton) were gripping and imaginative as they proved physically compelling to watch. Their use of the entire stage helped encapsulate the audience even more, crawling along the aisles and up to audience members they brought their sorcerous nature even closer to reality.”

Reviewed by Chris Adams, Play Shakespeare

“Ben Ashton as Malcolm and Morgan Philpott as Macduff bring a dark stillness to their duologue with strong acting that gets to the heart with good storytelling”

Reviewed by Graham Gurrin, The Stage

“The ‘something wicked this way comes’ witches scene is a superb piece of stagecraft, the atmosphere created by movement, lighting, sound and of course, the text, neatly setting up Macbeth for his fall”

Reviewed by Alex Packer,

“One of the performance’s most electric moments is the Witches’ prophecies which are stylised with striking physicality and slickness.”


Guildford Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet (2011)

Reviewed by Sheila Connor, British Theatre Guide

“Performances are stupendous, meaning and clarity in every word, gesture and expression, especially with Ben Ashton’s Hamlet. We feel his pain, confusion and occasional lifting of spirits every step of the way with all his changing moods. He spits venom when discussing his murderous step-father Claudius, yet can smile at him while his eyes betray mistrust and loathing. He broods introspectively about the meaning of life and whether it is enough revenge to kill a man while he is at prayer, yet he also manages lighter moments. The meeting with university friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern banishes his assumed madness in an ecstasy of greetings and horseplay (the unlucky Rosencrantz gets a ‘wedgie’) and in his sword fight with Matt Pinches’ Laertes he shows exhilaration in action and the joy of combat.”

Reviewed by Louise Phillips, Remotegoat

“Ben Ashton is a riveting and empathetic leading man; his Hamlet deteriorating swiftly from initial grief at losing his father and anger towards his mother, to a man teetering on the very edge of self-control as he learns the truth about his father’s death and begins to plot his revenge. Absolutely mesmerizing during his soliloquies, Ashton’s performance is sensitive and highly intelligent; his manner of catching and holding audience members in his unflinching gaze disquieting and compelling in equal measure.”

RSC production of Such Tweet Sorrow (2010)

Reviewed by Thom Dibdin

“You can forget your Romeo and put your Juliet to one side – when it came to Such Tweet Sorrow, the RSC’s social media version of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, the people’s favourite was Mercutio. His death was, indeed, a fitting end. People cried real tears at Mercutio’s online funeral, despite themselves. It was a testament both to the power of the story, but more than that, it was a testament to Ben Ashton’s ability as an actor.”


RSC production of Romeo & Juliet (2008)

Reviewed by fineeyes.wordpress

“Ben Ashton made an entertainingly fatuous Count Paris.”

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School production of Jack & the Beanstalk (2007)

Reviewed by Venue

“On the Dame front, there’s Ben Ashton, an engagingly over-the-top “leading lady” who should his previous success in Shakespeare, albee and co not lead to anything, can rest assured that he’ll always have a potentially lucrative career in outrages frocks to fall back on”