Fawlty fan nabs role

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

PLAY­ING the role of Basil Fawlty in stage show Fawlty Tow­ers Live is a dream come true for Aus­tralian ac­tor, writer and pro­ducer Stephen Hall.

“I was very much a fan of the show and came to it by the way of be­ing a big Monty Python fan,” Mel­bournebased Hall said.

“Then in Jan­uary this year when I heard they were do­ing a stage show of it, adapted by John Cleese and start­ing in Aus­tralia of all places, I asked to au­di­tion.

“I find it’s best to fo­cus on the task at hand rather than tak­ing a step back and look­ing at the big pic­ture be­cause if I con­cen­trated on the mo­men­tous­ness of it, it would blow my tiny mind.”

Hall, who has ap­peared on television shows in­clud­ing The Hol­low­men and Shaun Mi­callef's Mad as Hell, said Cleese was at the third and fi­nal round of auditions and had the fi­nal say on cast­ing.

“In some in­ter­views he’s said he liked the fact that I looked quite dif­fer­ent to him be­cause he didn’t want it to be a car­bon copy or straight im­pres­sion of him play­ing the char­ac­ter,” Hall said.

Fawlty Tow­ers Live opened in Syd­ney in Au­gust and will be at Re­gal Theatre from November 17 to De­cem­ber 11.

Cleese was in the room dur­ing the fi­nal days of re­hearsal to fine­tune the show with di­rec­tor Caroline Jay Ranger.

“It was fan­tas­tic and like a com­edy masterclass,” Hall said.

The pro­duc­tion in­cor­po­rates three sto­ries from the television se­ries and has all the char­ac­ters au­di­ences will ex­pect, in­clud­ing Sy­bil (Blazey Best) and Manuel (Syd Bris­bane).

Hall said he saw Basil as his own worst en­emy who was an un­happy soul and def­i­nitely in the wrong job.

“He shouldn’t be run­ning a ho­tel at all but if he wasn’t then you wouldn’t have a show,” he said.

“He’s very in­se­cure and ei­ther thinks he’s much bet­ter that those in the ho­tel or that he’s in­fe­rior to them.

“He can never win and things would be a lot sim­pler if he would just be­have in a po­lite and ra­tio­nal man­ner, but he just keeps grab­bing the spade and dig­ging a hole.”

Sy­bil (Blazey Best) and Basil (Stephen Hall) on stage.

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