Review: Newport Playgoers’ Fawlty Towers, Dolman Theatre, Newport

Andy Howells reviews Newport Playgoers Society’s presentation of John Cleese & Connie Booth’s Fawlty Towers.

Newport Playgoers new season commenced on Tuesday evening with Jes Hynes’ directorial debut of John Cleese and Connie Booth’s much loved classic sit-com Fawlty Towers.

One of the most popular comedy series ever to grace TV screens, a stage presentation of such an iconic show was indeed a risky one that ultimately paid off. 

In just under 90 minutes, the audience are treated to a prospective visit from hotel inspectors, difficult hotel guests, a chaotic fire drill and a visit from the Germans.

Alex Wilson’s portrayal of Basil Fawlty cleverly unfolds as a ticking time bomb of irrational behaviour duly opposed by his fearsome wife Sybil, played to perfection by Nicky Davies. 

Ryan Salter ducks and dives as Spanish waiter Manuel between scenarios, his classic comedy moment communicating via a moose’s head with The Major (David Eynon-Williams). 

Equally, Cathy Morgan as Polly gets a taste of comic action via quick-fire exchanges with Basil when attempting to hide his horse betting success from Sybil.

Of course, all this is topped off with Basil’s rude exchanges with the German guests continually mentioning the war and impersonating Hitler’s goose-step resulting in the audience falling apart with laughter.

Complemented with a replica set of the hotel and a talented supporting cast, complete with 70s-style garments, Fawlty Towers is a strong start to The Playgoers new season. 

Be certain to make a reservation before the production closes its doors on Saturday.

  • Newport PlaygoersFawlty Towers
  • Dolman Theatre, Newport
  • Performance dates: September 13, 2011 – September 17, 2011
  • Cast: Alex Wilson (Basil Fawlty), Nicki Davies (Sybil Fawlty), Cathy Morgan (Polly), Ryan Salter (Manuel), David Eynon-Williams (The Major)
  • Director: Jes Hynes
  • Photographs by Phil Mansell

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