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Friday, August 31, 2012
Top of the list of television’s sacred cows must be Fawlty Towers, so taking it out at as touring stage production might be considered either brave or stupid. The Seagull Rep’s revival really rises to the challenge - and mostly gets away with it.
This is the second time the company have taken on the series, this time performing episodes The Hotel Inspectors, The Germans and Gourmet Evening.
Nick Murray Brown is the courageous soul who steps in to John Cleese’s shoes as Basil, the eponymous hotel owner. His is an accomplished take on the role, with a slow dry sarcasm pervading every action. While he doesn’t quite capture the same ratcheting exasperation as Cleese, he does fall out with his car in the same spectacularly violent fashion.
Will Isgrove is a delight as Manuel, particularly in improvised inter-scene moments inserted to cover set changes. He is a perfect foil to Basil’s rants and hapless antics.
Agnes Lillis as Sybil and Alison Collinge as Polly both provide good support, as do the flexible ensemble that take on the incidental characters in each episode - particular Alan Boulton in The Hotel Inspectors.
The direction could do with injecting a little more pace into proceedings and some of the slapstick staging was a little loose , but neither were severe enough to spoil a delightfully reminiscent night of comedy.