by John Cleese and Connie Booth, directed by Ann Blatcher
20-23 March 2013
Basil the Rat
The Hotel Inspector
Fawlty Towers is a beloved classic of television, but it presents serious problems on the stage. There are only 12 episodes and most involve four or five of the following locations: the lobby, the dining room, the kitchen, the bar, upstairs and somewhere outdoors. This is literally impossible to present on stage; at least in a village hall, so anyone naïvely hoping to see Basil thrashing his car is likely to be disappointed.
Chelsfield Players managed the lobby, dining room and bar, although the technical team would be delighted to hear from anyone who knows how to create an upstairs space on our stage.
There is also the difficulty of scene changes. Mrs Richards complains about her accommodation; this scene took place in her room on television but on the stairs in our version. Then the Major takes Basil’s money; the next scene takes place the following day when Basil comments on the Major’s change of clothes (including tie). Whoever plays the Major – by necessity an older gentleman – has about 20 seconds to perform a complete costume change in the wings.
Luckily, the Society performed the show before John Cleese withdrew the rights to the individual episodes in favour of his poorly received full-length version. Two more episodes were staged in 2016 and taken to the Edinburgh Fringe.