Fawlty Towers 2
Home Up

8 February 2011
Charles Cryer Theatre, Carshalton
Stephen Macvicar

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 the set.

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 coffers.

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 future.

Kindest Regards

Stephen Macvicar
Area 3