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‘Fawlty Towers’ on a small stage

Theatre Unchained presents British cult comedy

Oct. 10, 2013
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Theatre Unchained has had some solid success bringing classic British comedy to its intimate studio stage just south of downtown. Its production of Spamalot was an entertaining success. This weekend Theatre Unchained opens the second Fawlty Towers show in as many seasons. Under its original identity as Carte Blanche Studios last season, Theatre Unchained launched a program of small stage adaptations of three different episodes of the short-lived cult classic BBC sitcom. A series of stories involving comically strange behavior at a small hotel are perfect for a cozy theater space.

Now, by popular demand, Basil, Sybil, Polly and Manuel return in a production featuring stage adaptations of three more episodes: “Basil the Rat,” “The Germans” and “Kipper and The Corpse.” Last winter’s production sold out completely after opening night and there’s no reason to doubt that the show could do as well this time around.

The last episode of the first season of the series, “The Germans” is one of the more cleverly penned episodes of the series involving hotel owner Basil suffering a concussion before escaping back to the hotel and giving a great deal of offense to a group of German guests. “The Kipper and the Corpse” has a guest of the hotel dying, leaving the staff with the unenviable task of figuring out what to do with the body. “Basil the Rat” was the twelfth and final episode of the series involving an escaped pet rat. The staff must find it before the health inspector does.

Between this staging and the previous one, Theatre Unchained has adapted half of the series for its stage. If this one does well, we might well be able to look forward to another two productions to round out the full series with Theatre Unchained.

Fawlty Towers runs Oct. 11-Nov. 3, at Theatre Unchained, 1024 S. Fifth St. For tickets, call 414-391-7145 or visit theatreunchained.com.


Theatre Happenings

Liysa Croll Callsen delivers an autobiographical solo show, Tell ’Em On Stage, drawn from her life with deaf parents and marrying a deaf man. The performance is Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Best Western Plus, 5105 S. Howell Ave. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/426807.


Milwaukee Chamber Theatre continues its staged reading series with Kimberly Megna Yarnall’s Waiting, the story of an infertile couple’s quest for a baby. The reading features Kelly Coffey, Sarah Day, Michael Herold and Michael Kroeker, and is offered on Monday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m., Skylight Bar & Bistro, second floor of the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway. The performance is pay what you can and open to the public. Seating is first come, first serve.


Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has the power to appoint a commissioner to privatize primarily black and Latino Milwaukee Public Schools in a turnaround district. Will this privatization plan improve student performance?

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