Fawlty Towers Live
Published 06 July 2012
A local adaptation of a classic British sitcom leaves Sarah Slack struggling to not mention the war.
The show is a re-enactment of three episodes from the series, ‘The Hotel Inspector’, ‘Communication Problems’ and finally ‘The Germans’, originally broadcast in 1975 and written by Python John Cleese. At first it seems odd to view the shows without the canned laughter, so accustomed to a majority of comedy programmes broadcast on television today. However, without the artificial applause it reminds the audience of how brilliant the original scripts were, from the misunderstandings of Spanish waiter Manuel to the trademark mental breakdowns and comebacks of manager Basil Fawlty.
With a remarkable set of actors and excellent direction from Shane Diggens, it is not long before differences between the production and the original shows are negligible. Greg Smith, who plays Basil in the production, gives an almost perfect portrayal in mimicking Basil’s characteristic rudeness, childishness and near-insanity. What is also impressive about this local production is the attention to detail the set possesses, from the keys to the rooms behind the reception to the mounted moose head which falls on Manuel, much to the confusion of resident Major Gowen. The first performance was host to a few technical hiccups, but overall the show was impressive in both broadcasting the talent of local actors whilst also staying true to the original format of the show in both its props and punch lines.
The most brilliant part of the production is that it gives an excellent overview of the hilarity of the original programme for those unfamiliar with the show. It’s therefore ideal for families; parents will see the show in a new light whilst kids will discover the show’s long-lasting appeal for the first time. Even for Fawlty Towers aficionados the show is still a comedic treat, staying true to the original episodes, making the best of the space available, and proving a remarkable adaptation of the series.
Fawlty Towers Live runs at the Lakeside Theatre until Saturday 7th July. Tickets are available from the Mercury Theatre website or on 01206 573948.