Fawlty Towers Comes (back) to Cardiff!
It was a brave man who decided that outdoor theatre and British summer time would be a successful mix, but in this case, Cardiff City Council and the Everyman Theatre Company’s decision to set up a stage in Sophia Gardens for a month and offer customers a chance to enjoy ‘Guys and Dolls’ , Walt Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland Jr.’ , ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and (most importantly, as that was the show I went to) Fawlty Towers, in this beautiful setting as the sun wet down, was a truly inspired idea…perhaps with a little luck thrown in.
I saw the posters advertising the show’s dotted around Cardiff, I contacted my old housemate, who is also a massive Fawlty Towers fan and suggested we take in a the show. At £30 (including booking fees) for the 2 of us, it was most definitely money well spent.
The production was a 3 of the classic episodes back to back, “Gourmet Night”“The Psychiatrist” and“The Germans”, when I first saw their choice, I was concerned, I know these episodes inside and out, I found myself thinking, “There’s a car in that one! How are they going to pull that off?”
The answer is simple, very well indeed.
At first, I wasn’t 100% behind the cast as I found myself focussing fair too much on the subtle and all too familiar nuances that John Cleese, Andrew Sachs et all brought to the series, but within 10 minutes, I had warmed to the cast and their take on the characters. I reminded myself that I have seen 2 casts perform “The Woman in Black” and the film, each was different and enjoyable for different reasons. The same was true here. There is very little comparison between a TV show and a play, so I decided to sit back and laugh, a lot.
During the intermission, my friend and 2 others friends we had bumped into at the show joked,
“Its like watching an amazing cover band!“
As I am posting this prior to the completion of the run, I don’t want to give too much away about how they achieved certain iconic moments, but that is part of the fun. Seeing how certain scenes were brought to life on the stage, the casts excellent take on the characters and even the mandatory wobbly sets all made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
I would offer a word of warning, if you are the kind of person who complains about cinematic and television remakes of classic moments in entertainment, this might not be for you. I am at no point here belittling the production, but I know one too many nerds who spend hours complaining about Michael Bay’s desecration of The Transformers (I enjoyed the first movie), “how could they remake Total Recall?”…so, if this is you, perhaps give it a miss, as you might spend the evening saying, “He didn’t bring feet up high enough whilst he was goose stepping.”, “He didn’t hit Manuel hard enough”…and so forth.
However, if you like the idea of a much loved TV series being brought to life as stage show, then you should definitely check this out. It was a very brave move and most importantly, a rewarding one. I would love to see more productions like this on the stage, there are so many classic sitcoms that could be given a new life in this fashion.
Roll on the next run, if I can offer a suggestion, ‘Allo ‘Allo would be amazing!
Fawlty Towers is running until Sunday 21st July 2013, presented by Mr Moose Presents & Everyman Theatre