Thank you very much for inviting me to Chase Theatre
Company’s production of "Fawlty Towers – Part 2 – The Second
Sitting" recently at the Charles Cryer Theatre. Thanks also to Clare
Gollop for making the necessary ticket arrangements. It was lovely to see
such a good turnout to support the society on the night I attended.
When I attended your production of ‘Fawlty Towers’
last year I mentioned in my review the difficulty of capturing well known
characters and indeed recreating the scripts which are equally famous.
Given this wonderful second helping, the players of Chase Theatre Company
were able to build on their characterisations and provide an equally if
not more so entertaining production.
The flats were painted in a pale green colour which gave
me a slightly nauseous feel. This of course was entirely appropriate for
the nature of the hotel and the humour of the piece. The flats were
adorned by three paintings and a window gobo broke up the flats to give a
little perspective. A bar, a counter and five tables were strategically
spaced and placed around the playing area to maximise effect and move
swiftly from the various short sharp scenes without the delays of changing
On this occasion we were treated to three different scenes
or acts if you will which incorporated three very well known episodes
namely Basil the Rat, Waldorf Salad and The Germans. All three were played
with panache and allowed Chase to re-introduce some familiar faces and
embrace new performers in a variety of cameo and bit-part performances.
Congratulations to Directors Denis Steer and Clare Gollop
and the society for having the good sense to milk a cow and produce the
goods once more. Success was not guaranteed on the back of the previous
production, it still had to be earned. On the night I attended the
audience were very appreciative. Even when you know what line is coming
next it still needs to be delivered well and this came across through
invaluable direction. Technically everything ran smoothly with both
Lighting and Sound totally effective.
As previously mentioned, the familiar faces were augmented
by some less familiar to me and all contributed to a better than
satisfactory standard. Many of the parts are fairly small so I have only
written a few notes on the five principals who featured significantly in
all three episodes plus some of the others cameo contributions;
Basil – Barry Gollop – On reviewing the previous
production I mentioned Barry’s ability to produce these wonderful asides
which along with the manic activity really captures why we find the
character of Basil so quirky and fascinating
Sybil – Clare Gollop – I thought Clare really built on
her previous characterisation to give Sybil an extra layer or two which
was very well observed in production and appreciated by the patrons
Manuel – Alan Smith – I enjoyed Alan’s
interpretation of this lovable character. Alan captured the hang-dog look
with ease and equally achieved the vacant expression of ‘non comprendi’
which we associate with Manuel
Polly – Charlotte Gollop – Charlotte cranked up the
physicality to bring out the humour of Polly and the desperate situations
that she and Basil find themselves in
(The) Major – Denis Steer – Again Denis eased into the
mantle of The Major. The actor and the character were in their element for
the episode with The Germans.
It would be unfair of me not to mention some notable
contributions from support cast both in terms of those who played
significant characters in one scene or were there from time to time as
characters visiting the hotel. Amongst these, Martin Phillips was a
suitably stern and pompous Mr Carnegie, Miguel Rowlands a comedy turn as
Terry and last but certainly not least Ken Kasriel as the infamous
American gent trying to get a Waldorf Salad.
Although an A4 style of souvenir programme is not to
everyone’s taste, this format you have now settled on is well layed out
and sufficiently comfortably to read in addition to containing some
interesting society information and some very welcome biogs and photos.
Congratulations to Chase for another very entertaining
evening at the theatre and hopefully a small surplus in the society’s
Once again thank you for inviting me to the Charles Cryer
Theatre and best wishes for your next production – whatever it may be.
I look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant