Fawlty Towers | John Cleese adapts sitcom into West End play opening in May

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John Cleese has adapted three episodes of Fawlty Towers into a play, which will premiere in the West End in May.

Fawlty Towers is often, quite rightly, cited as one of the best sitcoms ever made. Starring John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs and Connie Booth, it was written by Cleese and Booth who, according to the DVD commentaries, took six weeks to plot and write each episode.

The show was based on a real hotel the Monty Python team stayed at, with Basil Fawlty based on its proprietor Donald Sinclair, after whom Cleese later named his character in Rat Race.

According to the British Comedy Guide, Cleese has adapted three episodes for the stage as a play which will premiere at the Apollo Theatre in the West End in June. Caroline Jay Ranger will direct.

The episodes are The Hotel Inspector and The Germans from Series 1 and Communication Problems from Series 2. Cleese has also written a new ending which ties together all three plots.

Cleese will not appear in the show himself.

Basil will be played by Adam Jackson-Smith, Sybil will be played by Anna-Jane Casey, Manuel will be played by Hemi Yeroham and Polly will be played by Victoria Fox. 

The cast also features Paul Nicholas as The Major; Rachel Izen as Mrs Richards; Steven Meo taking on the roles of Mr Hutchinson/German guest; and Kate Russell-Smith and Nicola Sanderson as Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby.

Mr Thurston/German guest will be played by Greg Haiste; Mr Walt / Dr Finn is Danny Bayne; and Taxi Driver / Mr Firkins / Mr Kerr / Mr Sharp will all be portrayed by Neil Stuart.

A reboot of Fawlty Towers written by Cleese with his daughter Camilla was announced last year, with Cleese reprising the role of Basil and action taking place at a hotel in the Carribean.

The most recent update indicates it is still in the writing stage, with Cleese commenting in response to a fan enquiry on X that “Camilla and I are still plotting the first few episodes. We don’t start to write any dialogue till we’ve worked out the story of each episode in great detail”.

Tickets for Fawlty Towers will go on sale from Wednesday 7th February at 10am, you can find out more information here.

A brief video of the cast has also been released to launch the show. We’ll leave you with that…

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