“John Cleese Brings Fawlty Towers to the West End After Nearly 50 Years: A Theatrical Journey from Torquay to Shaftesbury Avenue”
Prepare for a trip down memory lane as the timeless classic TV sitcom, Fawlty Towers, takes center stage in London’s West End. John Cleese, co-writer, and star of the original sitcom, has crafted a two-hour play, adapting fan-favorite episodes from the iconic series. Debuting at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on May 15, this theatrical venture marks a significant milestone, nearly five decades after the show’s inception at the BBC Television Centre in December 1974.
In a statement buzzing with excitement, the 84-year-old Cleese expressed, “What a thrill to be bringing Fawlty Towers to the West End for the first time.” Delving into the casting process, he highlighted the abundance of acting talent in Britain, eventually assembling a top-class group of comedy actors set to grace the Apollo Theatre stage.
Cleese’s adaptation revolves around two episodes from the first series, “The Hotel Inspector” and “The Germans,” along with “Communication Problems” from the second series. Adding his own creative touch, Cleese has woven these episodes into a cohesive narrative, culminating in a spectacular finale that ties together the endings of all three.
Reflecting on the show’s journey, Cleese humorously remarked, “All the way from Torquay, via the old BBC Television Centre, to the West End.” The original TV program, co-written by Cleese and Connie Booth, captivated audiences on BBC Two during its two series run in 1975 and 1979. The series chronicled the misadventures of the highly-strung Torquay hotelier, Basil Fawlty, portrayed by Cleese, and his wife Sybil, played by Prunella Scales, as they navigated the challenges of managing both their hotel and marriage.
Directed by Caroline Jay Ranger, known for her work on “Only Fools And Horses The Musical” and “Monty Python Live,” the play promises to breathe life into these beloved characters on the stage.
The theatrical journey unfolds as Basil, played by Adam Jackson-Smith, endeavors to impress guests he suspects are undercover hotel inspectors, leading to a cascade of comedic mishaps and memorable moments.
Fawlty Towers, first broadcast on BBC Two in September 1975, garnered acclaim, including two Bafta awards for Best Situation Comedy. In 2019, the show secured its place as the greatest British sitcom of all time, according to a panel of television experts for Radio Times magazine.
Anticipation is building, and tickets for this much-awaited West End production will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, Feb 7, at 10 am. Don’t miss the chance to relive the hilarity of Fawlty Towers live on stage in the heart of London.