Fawlty Towers

By John Cleese

Directed by David Scott
June 3 to 19, 2016

Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, WaukeshaNOW

Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Jim Jessen

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.


Randall T. Anderson

Basil Fawlty

Jim Donaldson


Jeff Gepfert

Major Gowen

Jacqueline Gosz


Meghan Hopper

Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Wareing

Jim Jessen

Mr. Lisbon, Mr. Wareing, Yardley

John Jones

Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Watson, Macintosh, 1st Inspector

Noah Maguire

Danny Brown, Terry, 3rd Inspector

Jim Mallmann

Mr. Hutchinson, Sir Richard, Firkins

Ann Morrow

Mrs. Richards, Mrs. Johnstone, Lady Morris

Beth Perry

Sybil Fawlty

Leah Sawnor

Mrs. Arrad

Jacob Sudbrink

Mr. Walt, Policeman, Taxi Driver

Tom Van Gilder

Lord Melbury, Mr. Johnstone, Kerr, 2nd Inspector

Jim Volden

Mr. Arrad, Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. Thurston

Production Staff 


David Scott

Stage Manager

Pan Seccombe

Scenic Designer / Master Carpenter

Evan Crain

Set Decorator

Kate Walter

Costume Designer

Sharon Sohner

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Keith Handy

Properties Designer

Cindy Velcheck

Unfailingly funny ‘Fawlty Towers' brings anticipatory laughs to Waukesha Civic

Theatrical spinoff of long-running British TV comedy plays out well on stage

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
June 9, 2016

WAUKESHA - "Fawlty Towers" is based on a British TV show, considered by many to be one of the best comedies ever to hit the tube. Written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, it reflects a Monty Python-style humor - clever and wacky, even deliciously absurd.

The cast at Waukesha Civic captured its flavor, with a special thanks to the leading character, Basil, so supremely played by Randall T. Anderson. His command of his wealth of lines and ability to keep up with the frenzied pace is more than impressive.

Basil is a frenetic hotel keeper, who, with his bossy, unhelpful wife, Sybil, owns a rural inn. He is a rather surly fellow who loses his patience with his demanding clients, his inept employees and his rather useless wife. In most cases, his perturbations are perfectly justified. We marvel at the number of tasks he takes on and the complexity of the challenges he faces. Trying to keep everyone else happy while he himself is not is hardly an easy venture.

Manuel, his cook from Barcelona, barely speaks English. Jim Donaldson is perfect for the part of the harried cook, and though he drives Basil crazy, we love him. Every time he appears on stage we are prepared to laugh.

Several other characters that stand out are Mr. Hamilton (John Jones), who vigorously insists on his Waldorf salad, Mrs. Richards (Ann Morrow), the deaf woman with a great sense of comic timing, the accommodating helper Polly (Jacqueline Gosz), the picky, compulsive Mr. Hutchinson, well-captured by Jim Mallmann, the ever-gentlemanly Major Gowen, who keeps his dignity even though his memory is getting very spotty (Jeff Gepfert), and the vain, officious wife Sybil (Beth Perry) - quite the hairdo on that lady. All keep us amused as we await the next crisis. And there's sure to be one.

The scenic design by Evan Crain accommodated many comings and goings (that swinging door was especially effective), and the hairdos and costumes by Aleta Bernard and Sharon Sohner nicely reflected the ‘70s. That suit on Mr. Walt (Jacob Sudbrink) was a sight to behold. Overall direction is deftly handled by David Scott, who must have had fun working with such a talented cast.

Even if you're not a big fan of the Monty Python club, you'll enjoy all the antics packed into your visit to "Faulty Towers." It's a whirlwind of chaos in the quiet countryside inn in Torquay, England, sometimes jokingly called "The English Riviera." Again, kudos to Anderson in the lead role for one of the best performances of his career (and I've seen many good ones).

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre's 'Fawlty Towers' effectively delivers British comedy

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
June 10, 2016

Anyone who loves British sitcoms will enjoy seeing Randall T. Anderson play the role of Basil Fawlty in Waukesha Civic Theatre's "Fawlty Towers," based on the British TV show of the same name, which ran in the mid-1970s.

British comedian John Cleese, who co-wrote the series, played the role of Basil, but I don't think any better than Anderson's portrayal of the caustic owner of a 22-room hotel in Torquay, England.

As Basil, Anderson mutters and sputters at his guests, who he finds mostly low class. At the end of the first act he tells a lobby full of them, "You people come in expecting to be waited on hand and foot, while I'm trying to run a hotel here."

Basil is a gem of a comic role, and I couldn't imagine anyone doing it better than Anderson.

Starting with Anderson, Director David Scott has assembled a good cast to carry out all that can go wrong when a hotel owner is indifferent and condescending.

Unaffected by Basil's frequent outbursts and gloomy disposition is his always level-headed wife, Sybil, played marvelously by Beth Perry. The two make an absolutely charming and hilarious couple, with impeccable comic timing.

Sybil seems to always be about the hotel, but prefers to give orders to Basil rather than carry them out herself. At one point Basil sarcastically calls her "my little workhorse." Perry's Sybil strides purposefully about the hotel, her monstrosity of perfectly groomed gray hair looking like it should be fed as it rides high atop her proud head.

Four episodes of hilarity
This stage version of "Fawlty Towers" is literally four episodes (each act is a new episode) of the 12-episode BBC Television series.

Essentially, it's a series of scenes at the hotel with guests coming and going to provide opportunities for Basil and his staff to find one way or another to make his guests unhappy. In today's world, TripAdvisor would have taken care of this establishment in short order. As one guest says to Basil, the owner, "You are the rudest man I ever met."

Little plots within the scenes include a man posing as a dignitary, scamming Basil. Another features an American who gets angry over a multitude of inefficiencies, including the hotel's unwillingness to make him a Waldorf salad. "We're all out of Waldorfs," Basil explains

In the second act, a very funny Ann Morrow plays Mrs. Richards, an older woman with hearing problems and a foul disposition to rival Basil's. The two square off, as do other staff, with hilarious results. In the final act, Basil is told that three inspectors are in town. Basil must determine which guest might be one of the inspectors so as to be nice to him.

Basil and beyond
Anderson's Basil is the center of this play's universe, with some superb supporting roles to compliment his. A few of the smaller roles, however, were a bit uneven and tended to bog down the timing.

As Manuel, the waiter who is still learning English, Jim Donaldson gives another memorable performance, handling the fast and funny repartee with Basil with considerable flair. Manuel's misunderstandings of English create lots of opportunities for humor.

Jacqueline Gosz as a waitress and hotel assistant, Polly, also handles the comedy well as she interacts with a variety of guests and staff.

I also liked the big, broad performance of Jeff Gepfert as Major Gowen, the permanent resident of the hotel who is getting a bit on the dotty side.

Playing the American, Mr. Hamilton, John Jones also is most effective as Basil's, and the staff's mishaps finally push him over the edge. Tom Van Gilder as Lord Melbury and Noah Maguire as Danny Brown also provide distinctive characterizations.

Evan Crain, scenic designer and master carpenter, created a handsome set that features the hotel lobby, dining area and a partial back room behind the lobby desk.

With its episodic stories, rather than the story arc of most plays, "Fawlty Towers" has the feeling of binge watching a British sitcom. A very funny British sitcom at that.

Student rate is available for children and any patron with a current student ID. Senior rate applies to all patrons 60 years or older. Military rate is available for any patron with a valid current Military ID.

For our "Pay What You Can" performances, patrons can buy tickets for that show on the day of the performance at whatever price their budget will allow.

Subscriber rate is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Jim Jessen

Jim was always happy to help anyone and everyone. Whether helping change the set, assisting with quick costume changes, performing emergency set repair, or selling raffle tickets, Jim did it all with a smile. He truly exemplifies the spirit of community theatre.

Congratulations, Jim. You rock!