27 February 2010
Cryer Theatre, Carshalton
Thank you very much for inviting me to Chase Theatre Company’s
production of “Fawlty Towers” recently at the Charles Cryer Theatre.
Thanks also to Clare Gollop for making the necessary ticket arrangements
– (the theatre though had made a mistake and oversubscribed) – no harm
was delighted to be invited back to Chase Theatre Company for this
production. I have always enjoyed your period costume dramas in particular
but two years ago the society undertook the scripts of ‘Dad’s Army’
which proved to be very successful. I suspect on the back of that success,
the society decided to return to that genre of humorous production with
three episodes from Fawlty Towers.
one thinks of classic ‘sitcoms’ from the past, one automatically
thinks of Fawlty Towers as a national treasure and those wonderful
characters which we feel we know so well. From memory, I think they only
ever made eight episodes which is probably why it retains its appeal in
some regards. I have noticed a recent insurgence of societies performing
the scripts of well known sitcoms such as Dad’s Army, Allo Allo and now
probably the best, Fawlty Towers. All of these vehicles lend themselves
perfectly for stage productions – some of them may well have been shot
before a live studio audience. The humour remains in Fawlty Towers and
will never significantly date because it has been so well written by John
Cleese and his significant other, Connie Booth.
you attend a play which is so well known, it is difficult not to make a
mental comparison with the original both in style and characterisation. I
thought Chase made a remarkable fist of things both in terms of setting
and interpretation of the characters. The fixed set with counter and
various tables worked a treat and gave the flavour of the period. Costumes
and wigs were just about right, even down to Sybil’s fantastic wig and
the rather dapper Sir Richard Morris.
to Director Denis Steer for directing a very entertaining production. The
sketches looked well rehearsed with the usual Chase attention to detail.
larger cast than normal was assembled to reflect the different episodes.
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;
– Barry Gollop – I thought Barry completely captured the essence of
what we love about the character of Basil. Barry delivered the ‘under
the breath’ asides to a ‘t’ and showed good physicality in the part
– Clare Gollop – Similarly Clare captured that menacing front which
Sybil possesses – the ability to cut through Basil like a knife through
Barry and Clare delivered very well judged characterisations but still
retained some of their own personality in their respective roles.
– David Bonner – I enjoyed David’s portrayal of Manuel. David was
able to be both physically and vocally manic at times, yet more subtle on
relevant occasions. A real crowd pleaser.
– Charlotte Gollop – Similarly I enjoyed Charlotte’s role as Polly
the maid – always trying to help Basil out of sticky situations. If I
was being very picky, Perhaps a little more urgency was needed in some of
the situations, which in turn would have increased the intensity of the
Major – Denis Steer – Denis was a straight batted, stiff upper lipped
Major which we know so well. Suitably funny when confused over Basil’s
must mention that the others in the production came in and out of the
various scenes and gave stout support to the main principals. Good
strength in depth and a hard working support team were much in evidence.
to Chase for an entertaining and comical evening.
again thank you for inviting me to the Charles Cryer Theatre and best
wishes for your next production – the interestingly sounding ‘Ladies
look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.
London Area 3
|10 Verona Drive