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Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers West End - Daily Mail

John Cleese brings Fawlty Towers to the London stage nearly 50 years after it became one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms

John Cleese is set to bring Fawlty Towers to London’s West End nearly 50 years after it became one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms.

The original series, which ran from 1975 to 1979, followed inept hotel manager Basil Fawlty, played by Cleese, as he tried to keep his hotel and marriage afloat.

The writer and creator has used material from three episodes of the series – The Hotel Inspectors, The Germans and Communication Problems.
Cleese said it was a ‘thrill’ to bring the show to the stage for the first time.

He has adapted the three episodes to write ‘one huge finale’ which will tie them all together.
Cleese said: ‘We’ve been involved in the casting process for some time, being constantly reminded of what a wealth of acting talent we have in Britain – sorting the very, very, very good from the merely very, very good.

‘Finally, we assembled a top-class group of comedy actors.’

The strikingly similar-looking West End cast includes Adam Jackson-Smith as Basil Fawlty, Anna-Jane Casey as his wife Sybil, Hemi Yeroham as waiter Manuel and Victoria Fox as Polly, the chambermaid.

Director Caroline Jay Ranger, from Only Fools And Horses The Musical and Monty Python Live, will bring the characters to life on stage.

Fawlty Towers, which premiered in the seventies, is set in a hotel in the seaside town of Torquay. Basil Fawlty is the irritable owner of the hotel, who was often rude to demanding guests.

Basil is constantly berated by his wife, Sybil, portrayed by Prunella Scales, and he also had a number of comedic run-ins with their Spanish waiter Manuel, who was played by Andrew Sachs.

The play will follow Basil as he attempts to ingratiate himself with guests he suspects are posing as hotel inspectors.

Fawlty Towers was awarded many plaudits, including two Bafta awards for best situation comedy.

In 2019, the show was named the greatest British sitcom of all time by a panel of television experts for the Radio Times magazine.

The sitcom was based on real life hotel owner, Donald Sinclair, and Cleese was given the idea when he stayed at Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay.

The West End show will premiere at the Apollo Theatre on 4 May and tickets for the show will go on sale on 7 February.

The original episode, The Germans, was removed off some broadcast platforms for a period of time due to the use of racial slurs, following the Black Lives Matter protests.

However, it returned and was reinstated with a warning about ‘offensive content and language’.

Cleese co-write the original series with Connie Booth, who was then his wife. She also starred in Fawlty Towers as Polly.

GINA KALSI 2 February 2024