Stephen Hall brings back Basil in Fawlty Towers Live production


Blazey Best as Sybil and Stephen Hall as Basil Fawlty.
Blazey Best as Sybil and Stephen Hall as Basil Fawlty.

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,” Melbourne-based 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.

“I wasn’t doing a John Cleese impression, I was playing the character and that was what he was looking for.”

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 fine-tune 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.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Fawlty Towers Live

Where: Regal Theatre

When: November 17 to December 11

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au