Review: Fawlty Towers
Producing a classic comedy like Fawlty Towers has challenges.
The characters are already clearly defined in the public consciousness, as are the stories – sometimes audiences are even reciting the lines.
A production made up of three separate episodes means a large cast to manage.
Wheareas you can switch seamlessly between scenes on TV, allowing for frequent changes, that's not so easy on stage.
So Nick Clayton took on a project with the potential for banana skins without the laughs.
But it worked.
Sadly there's insufficient space here to comment on the entire cast, though all were worthy of mention. But you can't ignore the core – within moments of appearing you knew who they were.
Whilst not an imitation of Cleese, Julian Roberts captured perfectly the mannerisms, tone and general demeanour of Basil. And Joan Young's rendition of the signature laugh/bray brought Sybil immediately to your attention.
When they appeared, Sarah Woodard's Polly and Derek Green's Manuel needed no formal introduction.
Almost immediately, there was a sense of being in familiar territory, but with the added frisson that goes with live theatre.
As might be expected, the set was elaborate, creating the hotel reception, bar, restaurant, kitchen and multiple bedrooms. Undoubtedly intricate to build, and designed so parts could be manoeuvred around the stage, it represented the typically high standards of the set building team.
Unfortunately, the need to use such an involved set meant there were delays in cutting from one scene to another. This was perhaps most obvious in the first episode, which seemed to require a lot of changes. The knock-on effect was a drop in momentum as the audience waited for the next scene to be set up.
Considering the potential challenges, to have fallen short on this one aspect was a minor problem. And the impression I gained from the overall audience reaction was that the performance was well received – and rightly so. Laughter was certainly not at a premium.
This was an extra to the Little Theatre's season of plays, and demonstrated yet again the professionalism of this amateur group.
Friday 4th September 2015, 7:00pm
Become a member of Retford Little Theatre for our 75th season, have a drink at the bar, and enjoy the evening's
Don't forget to bring your cheque book!
Founded in 1941, Retford Little Theatre is an amateur
drama group, housed in its own purpose-built theatre, generously provided by
Bassetlaw District Council.
Now in its 74th season, RLT continues to go from strength
to strength, attracting a membership of over 800 each
and playing to full houses at most performances.
The proscenium auditorium can readily be adapted to end-
or theatre-in-the-round formats, giving the
theatre enviable versatility.
Five plays are presented each season (from September
May) with extras in the form of platform productions,
visiting companies, social events and more.
New for the 74th Season: There will be a British Sign Language Interpreted performance on the 1st Saturday evening of each play. Interpreter Sarah Cox.
Retford Little Theatre can be contacted by telephone on
01777 702002 but should
your call go unanswered,
you can email us at
We look forward to welcoming you soon.