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John Cleese's 'Fawlty Towers' to be adapted for the West End

The long-running BBC series was first broadcast in September 1975 and follows Basil Fawlty and his wife Sybil as they attempt to manage a rundown hotel.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

Long-running British sitcom Fawlty Towers has been adapted for the West End by John Cleese, who co-wrote the original series and starred as the show's hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty. The play will open at London's Apollo Theatre on 15 May.

The two-hour play will be based on three of the original show's episodes: ‘The Hotel Inspector’ and ‘The Germans’ from series one, and ‘Communication Problems’ from series two.

On the announcement, Cleese said: “What a thrill to be bringing Fawlty Towers to the West End for the first time - nearly 50 years since the show was first recorded, in December 1974. We’ve been involved in the casting process for some time, being constantly reminded of what a wealth of acting talent we have in Britain - sorting the very, very, very good from the merely very, very good.

"Finally, we assembled a top-class group of comedy actors who will bring the show to the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. I’ve adapted three of my favourite episodes for the stage and written one huge finale, which will bring together the endings of all three episodes. So here we are, all the way from Torquay, via the old BBC Television Centre, to the West End!  I do hope some of you will come to the Apollo to laugh together. And laugh. And laugh...”

The cast includes Adam Jackson-Smith as Basil, Anna-Jane Casey as Sybil, Hemi Yeroham as Manuel, Victoria Fox as Polly, Paul Nicholas as The Major, Rachel Izen as Mrs Richards, Steven Meo as Mr Hutchinson/German guest, Kate Russell-Smith as Miss Tibbs, Nicola Sanderson as Miss Gatsby, Greg Haiste as Mr Thurston/German guest, Danny Bayne as Dr Finn, Neil Stuart as Taxi Driver/Mr Firkins/Mr Kerr/Mr Sharp, and Emma Fenney as German guest. Completing the company are Mia Austen, John Hasler, Dale Superville, Ben Jacobson, and Suzy Bloom.

First broadcast in September 1975, Fawlty Towers is set in a fictional hotel in the seaside town of Torquay, and follows Basil Fawlty and his wife Sybil as they attempt to run hotel, which keeps running into problems.

The play will be directed by Caroline Jay Ranger, who also directed Only Fools and Horses The Musical and Monty Python Live. The rest of the creative team includes Liz Ascroft (set and costume design), Ian Scott (lighting design), Anne Vosser (casting), Denise Ranger (assistant director), and Chris Kiely (resident director).

Book Fawlty Towers tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: Hemi Yeroham, Victoria Fox, Adam Jackson-Fox, and Anna-Jane Casey in Fawlty Towers. (Photo courtesy of production)

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