Fawlty Towers evening


In May of 2008 we put together one of our free summer evenings. For this one we put together an evening of episodes of Fawlty Towers and with 12 great episodes to choose from it was hard to make the decision of which episodes to bring to the Commemoration Hall stage. The episodes chosen were Basil the Rat, The Hotel Inspectors and the Kipper and the Corpse.


The Kipper and the Corpse

This episode is particularly memorable due to its heavy use of black comedy alongside the traditional farcical elements. After not noticing a Mr Leeman had been feeling unwell Basil brings breakfast in bed to the guest, mistaking the fact he had passed away in the night for simple rudeness. Having forgotten to bring the milk it falls on the more reliable Polly to point out that their guest had in fact died!

Fearing a panic Basil then spends the rest of the day attempting to hide the corpse from the other guests, a task which doesn’t go too smoothly and ends up with him locking a visibly shaken Miss Tibbs in the cupboard of other guests, trying to convince the Major that he hadn’t been shot, waking up Miss Tibbs after she fainted (again) in the office all the while juggling the normal chaos that we’ve come to expect from the establishment. The episode ending famously with Basil escaping whilst hiding inside the laundry basket.

Directed by Jess Hooker

The Cast

Sybil – Bronte Beckett

Basil – Ben Clelland

Polly – Annie Avery

Manuel – David Leverett

Terry – Emma Anderson

Mrs Chase – Alicia Prince

Dr Price – Lizzie Vialls

Mr Leeman – Zoe Ashton

Mr Xerxes – Laura Hammond

Mr Zebedee – Charlotte Nunn

Miss Young – Clarissa Dougherty

Mr White – Sam Harris

Mrs White – Bronte Dyne

The Hotel Inspector

In this episode Basil discovers that Torquay has been host to some hotel inspectors. One of the recent guests, a rather pompous  man  named Mr Hutchinson has been making more and more unusual requests and after being informed via one of Sybils phone conversations with Audrey that inspectors are in town he immediately assumes it must be Mr Hutchinson. That or Mrs Walt, who he’d just left after mistakenly handing her a piece of paper with the note “p-off” meaning post office.

With the service getting more and more erratic as Basil tries to keep everyone happy there is an element of relief when Basil discovers that Mr Hutchinson is in fact just a spoon salesman and plots his revenge, put on hold due to his theory that if he is not the inspector, Mrs Walt must be. Finding out after a failed attempt to bribe her that Mrs Walt is actually just another salesperson Basil puts his plan into action and shoves pies in the face and crotch of Mr Hutchinson and get Manuel to pour milk into his briefcase before returning to the desk to welcome three well dressed gentlemen….

Directed by Dominic Whitehead and Graeme Hammond

The Cast

Sybil – Sam Harris

Basil – Tomas Mountain

Polly – Dee Jenner

Manuel – Craig Saunders

1st Inspector – Milly Bewsher

2nd Inspector – Clarissa Dougherty

Mr Hutchinson – Andrew Collins

Mrs Walt – Chloe Maxwell

3rd Inspector – Aimee Johnson

Basil the Rat

Our evening finished the same way as the TV series with the classic episode Basil the Rat. After being told that the hotel is not up to a satisfactory standard by Mr Carnegie, the health inspector, he goes to work ensuring that everything is fixed before the inspector returns the next day.  When Basil tries to mobilise Manuel he discovers that he has in fact been keeping a rat – under the incorrect assumption it is a hamster – and makes him get rid of it. After Manuel hides it in the shed and lets it out for exercise there’s another health emergency for the staff to deal with.

When the inspector arrives Basil is trying to deal with the major who is hunting the rat with a gun and dealing with a more erratic Manuel and is now struggling to find which piece of veal has got some rat poison on after a mix up with Terry the chef. All the normal mayhem of trying to maintain normal service and keep the now content health inspector happy leads the rat hunt into the dining room, when Basil kindly offers cheese and biscuits to Mr Carnegie they finally find the missing rodent.

Directed by Beryl-Anne Whitehead

The Cast

Sybil – Abbie Myers

Basil – Alex Wales

Polly – Charlotte Russell

Manuel – Michael Hudson

Terry – Matt Valentine

Mr Carnegie – Tom Ashton

Mr Taylor – Callum Pitt

Mrs Taylor – Milly Bewsher

Ronald – Lizzie Vialls

Quentina – Aimee Johnson

In all three productions –

Miss Tibbs – Francesca Stephens

Miss Gatsby – Lizzie Vialls

Major Gowen – Alex Valentine

The Crew

Set Construction – Mike Gledhill and John Anderson

Costumes – Margaret Gledhill

Sound and lights – Adrian Wadey

Front of House – Heather Livermore and Eric Joyce

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