An animated Basil (John Bidner) gets trapped in a web of his own making.

No fault with Fawlty Towers 3

Sooke Harbour Players change venue for comedy performance

Have you ever been in the presence of people who really love their work? Ever hung around folks who made you laugh until your belly hurt? Ever been at a show that makes you check your own reality at the door so you can fully engage in the absurdity of someone else’s?

Magical, isn’t it?

The Sooke Harbour Players are about to offer you all of the above and then some, in their upcoming two-episode, two-hour Fawlty Towers production.

Audiences will be treated to a top-notch performance by John Bidner, who portrays Basil’s conniving and cheap-ish mannerisms with full John-Cleese-ish gusto. Bidner is capable of flipping through emotional extremes as easily as leafing through a catalogue. In her portrayal of front-desk clerk Polly, Nicole Syrard expertly combines the inefficiency of an under-utilized desk clerk distracted by her own personal needs and interests. Manuel, played by Doug Inkpen, effectively bumbles through his own big dreams while coping with language barriers. Basil’s wife, Sybil, will be played by Sarah Wiford. Other cast members (and there are 10 in total) are equally engaging, each bringing their gift of talent into the spotlight.

Additionally, director Steve Anderson notes, “Halfway through the show there will also be a ‘Fawlty Towers Jr’  skit, with an all teenage cast. Young experienced actors performing a shortened pro-level skit version of ‘Basil the Rat’. Yes, ‘little Basil’, ‘little Manuel’, etc. Kind of like ‘Little Archie.’”

Finding people willing to risk the dreaded fear of performing on stage along with the supporting crew is always a bit of a challenge.

“Getting cast can sometimes be tough but the behind-the-scenes people can also be tough to get!” said director Steve Anderson. “Those who are excited about helping out with production, marketing, sponsorships, etc are very much needed with Sooke Harbour Players.”

In previous years, the Fawlty Towers productions as offered up as dinner theatre. At $45 each, tickets were costly and space was limited. And in both years, the performance sold out. This year, the decision was made to increase the show’s accessibility. It will be offered up as a theatre production only, bringing the price down to $20 per seat. This also allowed the show to move to EMCS, increasing capacity from just under 100 up to 350 per show.

This way, explains Anderson, “more people could see the show, it can be a bigger show, and it’s more affordable.”

If you saw the show in previous years, this year’s show offers twice the laughs at only half the price. And if you haven’t yet experienced the tremendous talents of Sooke’s creative forces, now is the time as it’s never been more affordable.

The Sooke Harbour Players are all motivated by a deep love of theatre. “And,” adds John Bidner, “it’s just such a damn fine show.”

Tickets available for $20 at Shoppers Drug Mart, People’s Drug Mart, Stick in the Mud, and the Sooke River Store and Grill, Bill’s Food & Feed, Langford Serious Coffee and the Westshore Town Centre.

Opening night is May 24, and there are three shows in total, all on the 24th and 25th.

Friday, May 24, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m.Saturday May 25, doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2:00 p.m.Saturday May 25,doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m.