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Fawlty Towers to premiere on West End stage

Friday 2nd February 2024, 8:19am

Fawlty Towers: The Play. Image shows left to right: Hemi Yeroham, Victoria Fox, Adam Jackson-Smith, Anna-Jane Casey. Credit: Trevor Leighton

John Cleese has adapted Fawlty Towers as a West End stage show. It'll premiere at London's Apollo Theatre in May, and run until 28th September 2024.

The play's producers explain: "Fifty years since it was first recorded at BBC Television Centre in 1974, the "greatest British sitcom of all time" (Radio Times) Fawlty Towers, has been adapted for the West End stage by comedy legend John Cleese and will premiere at London's Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, on Wednesday 15 May (previews from 4th May).

"Cleese, who co-wrote the original TV series with Connie Booth and starred as the inimitable Basil Fawlty, has written a two-hour play based on three of the original TV episodes - The Hotel Inspector and The Germans from Series 1 and Communication Problems from Series 2."

Fawlty Towers. Image shows from L to R: Sybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales), Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), Polly (Connie Booth), Manuel (Andrew Sachs). Copyright: BBC

John Cleese says: "What a thrill to be bringing Fawlty Towers to the West End for the first time - nearly 50 years since the show was first recorded, in December 1974. 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 who will bring the show to the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. I've adapted three of my favourite episodes for the stage and written one huge finale, which will bring together the endings of all three episodes. So here we are, all the way from Torquay, via the old BBC Television Centre, to the West End! I do hope some of you will come to the Apollo to laugh together. And laugh. And laugh..."

Fawlty Towers: The Play. Image shows left to right: Adam Jackson-Smith, Anna-Jane Casey. Credit: Trevor Leighton

Cleese will not appear in the show himself. Basil will be played by Adam Jackson-Smith. Meanwhile Anna-Jane Casey will play Sybil, Manuel is Hemi Yeroham and Polly is played by Victoria Fox.

The cast list also features Paul Nicholas as The Major; Rachel Izen as Mrs Richards; Steven Meo taking on the roles of Mr Hutchinson/German guest; and Kate Russell-Smith and Nicola Sanderson as Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby. Mr Thurston/German guest will be played by Greg Haiste; Mr Walt / Dr Finn is Danny Bayne; and Taxi Driver / Mr Firkins / Mr Kerr / Mr Sharp will all be portrayed by Neil Stuart. Completing the company of players are Emma Fenney, Mia Austen, John Hasler, Dale Superville, Ben Jacobson and Suzy Bloom.

The play will be directed by Caroline Jay Ranger, who has previously worked on Monty Python Live and Only Fools and Horses The Musical.

The synopsis for the play is as follows: "Following a tip off that hotel inspectors may be visiting and eager to impress, Basil attempts to ingratiate himself with guests that he suspects are there to critique the establishment. The situation is further plagued by a party of Germans, the deaf and dotty guest-from-hell, Mrs Richards, whose infuriating complaints prevent him from hiding a gambling win from his ever vigilant and bossy wife, Sybil. Together they run their hotel with a little help from the unflappable Polly, and very little help at all from Manuel, the trainee waiter from Barcelona who is the butt of Fawlty's frustration."

Here is a video featuring soundbites from the cast:

Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday 7th February at 10am from websites including Ticketmaster

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