Fawlty Towers — 11/12 & 18/19 October 2013 in Headley Village Hall

See 2011 productionCastReview


The poster.


Rehearsal Sunday 6th October:—

Mr Moose is up, up, up…

Basil in bed.

Basil berates Manuel.

Basil thinks his luck has changed!


Photos from the first weekend:—

Pictures taken by Dil Williamson-Smith and Pippo Graziano

The stage crew are ready-ish…

…and with lights & sound effects manned – we're ready to run.

First half of the evening — 'The Germans'

"And do try and find some time to put the moose's head up."

"Go and get me a hammer."

"What happens if there's a fire when I'm not here?"

"Oughtn't we to catch them first?"

"Is not fire – is only bell"

"Fuego! fuego!"

"Pull it, man, pull it!"

Manuel and his lethal frying pan!

"Basil! Will you get back into bed!"

Basil opens one eye and looks furtively around. (Curtain)

"Are you sure you're alright?"

"Can I speak to Dr Fin please?"

"Me? You started it!"

"Who's this, then?"

"You naughty moose!"

Second half of the evening — 'Communication Problems'

"Mr Thurston is the gentleman I'm attending to"

"Who is CK Watt?"

"Him manaher"

"You're not by any chance a betting man, Mr Fawlty?"

"Put this on this little horse – Dragonfly – but big secret."

"I have money for him. He win on horse."

"Would you like some of ours?."

"Manuel, that's too much!"

"Cavellero Rusticana? Never had it, Mr Fawlty."

"Why not indeed."

"What was the name of the horse?"

"Dragonfly or Witnit?"

"Tell her I had the money yesterday."

"You got a Mrs Richards staying with you?"

"Fawlty – you did give me the money. You won it on that horse!"

The cast.

Bless!


Cast:—

Basil – David Burnham
Sybil – Pru Harrold
Major – Martin Wellen
Polly – Mel White
Manuel – Luke Oates
Miss Tibbs – Wendy Downs
Miss Gatsby – Jill Turner
The Germans:
Sister – Rachel Spiller
Dr Fin – Jonathan Neil
Mr Sharp – John McGregor
Mrs Sharp – Karina Farnlucher
Lady Guest – Kay McGregor
German Guests – Peter Glinn, Rachel Spiller, Karina Farnlucher, Jo Smith, Shirley Matthews
Communication Problems:
Departing Guest – Shirley Matthews
Mrs Yardley – Kay McGregor
Mr Thurston – John McGregor
Mrs Richards – Tina Wareham
Mr Firkins – Jonathan Neil
Terry, the chef – Jo Smith
Mr Mackintosh – Peter Glinn
Mr Kerr, delivery man – Jo Smith


Review:—

Word must have got out: so successful was Headley Theatre Club's production of 'Fawlty Towers' two years ago that all tickets for the performances of two further episodes this October 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th were sold out even before they were advertised.

This time it was 'The Germans' and 'Communication Problems', directed once again by Nick Webb, who is to be congratulated for a hugely entertaining evening. The energy and laughter never flagged for a moment and the audience thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this excellent production.

David Burnham and Pru Harrold, while clearly the 'right' Basil and Sybil, managed to re-interpret the well-loved characters without slavish imitation of the original actors. David perfectly captured Basil's frustrated rage and eccentric body language, but showed more vulnerability than John Cleese. He revelled in the freedom afforded him by his concussion (delivered by a splendidly constructed moose's head), when he could enjoy his cheerfully outrageous provocation of the Germans. His performances were a tour de force: he was rarely off the stage, yet never lost pace or comic timing.

Pru's serene Sybil may have smiled more than the original, but was deadlier for it. Her timing, movement and intonation were spot-on, and her skilled performance was a joy.

Mel White was excellent: a gentle, patient Polly who showed comic brilliance throughout, as when trying to guess the name of the horse 'Dragonfly' from Basil's agonised mimes. Luke Oates as Manuel was absolutely marvellous. At 6 foot 3, Luke might have towered over Basil, yet he managed to stoop and cower convincingly. His Spanish accent was hilarious - and unique - and his energetic performance could not have been bettered. Among his moments of comic genius were his attempts to persuade Basil the kitchen was on fire, and his refusal to divulge the name of Dragonfly: 'I know NOthing.'

These four main characters shone in both episodes. Yet, instead of taking a well-deserved break in the interval, they stayed in character and circulated among the audience as we ate a splendidly authentic Fawlty Towers meal, prepared by Pru's Pantry and served by a friendly and efficient front-of-house crew led by Janet Hardinge. The sandwich Manuel prepared at our table was unforgettable.

Tina Wareham was outstanding as the hearing-impaired Mrs Richards: strident, urgent and authoritative. Martin Wellen's Major was appropriately blustering and bewildered, especially when he believed he was being addressed by the moose. Wendy Downs and Jill Turner were delightfully batty as Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby.
Ably supporting were Rachel Spiller as the brusque nurse and a German guest, Jonathan Neil as an understated doctor (and a guest) with John and Kay McGregor, Karina Farnlucher, Peter Glinn, Jo Smith and Shirley Matthews as English, Scottish and German guests: all of them just right.

Another star of the show was the excellent set. Paul Heath, Paul and Tony Wareham, with the help of members of the club, achieved a most convincing hotel interior - stairs and all - which could be transformed into a believable hospital ward. Tina Wareham even dressed the Village Hall with appropriate paintings to set the mood. The many props were expertly co-ordinated by Janet Hardinge and Abbi Hibberd, while Neil Hardinge was the very competent sound and lighting manager who ensured all the phones and alarm bells rang exactly on time.

Dil Williamson-Smith matched all the costumes perfectly to the characters, notably Sybil's frilly blouses and the Euro-chic costumes of the Germans.
The evening was a triumph. It is hoped Nick might be persuaded to produce another two episodes in a year or two. Best book early!

Sarah Horne


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