Fire..fa-fa-fa-fire! Fawlty gunshot at theatre show

Fawlty Towers by LBDG
Fawlty Towers by LBDG

A Fawlty problem with the effects at a theatre show caused the audience to be evacuated from Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre on Friday night.

The false alarm was caused when a replica shotgun was fired on stage while Leighton Buzzard Drama Group performed a stage version of Fawlty Towers.

LB Theatre evacuation

LB Theatre evacuation

But members of the audience told the Observer that the shotgun mishap only added to the humour of the evening.

Jean Bourne told the Observer: “It was the very last part of the show, the scene where Manuel was on the loose in the hotel with a rat and the Old Major was preparing his shotgun to shoot it.

“There was a big bang from the gun and we all jumped – smoke came out and the alarms starting going off.

“Everyone thought the alarm was part of the show except we couldn’t really hear the actors – then the manager came out and said we all had to evacuate until the fire brigade came.”

The show was made up of a variety of scenes from Fawlty Towers, the classic 1970s TV show which starred and was written by John Cleese and Connie Booth.

The Leighton Buzzard Drama Group adaptation ran over two weekends, July 2-4 and 9-11.

And true to the traditions of British comedy farce, Jean said that the escapade of sending the audience outside only added to the fun.

She said: “We all went to the car park, but when we came in they rewound the show back to just before the gun was shot.

“Instead of firing it again they got us all to shout ‘Bang,’ and it just added to the fun.

“It was such a good show, I’d give it 11 out of 10. The actor who played Basil Fawlty was absolutely perfect.”

Director Jo Taylor said: “In an event that seemed typical of Britain’s most comical hotel the fire alarm just added an extra element of humour to the whole production.

“The audience were fantastic, as were the actors who jumped back into the play with gusto and received a standing ovation at the end.”

Nicola Avery, Central Bedfordshire Council Library Services Manager, said: “On this occasion the correct smoke alarms were not isolated to allow for this theatrical pyrotechnic stunt.

“After some confusion as to whether this was part of the performance, our stewards evacuated the theatre and the performance continued after the necessary checks were made.

“The safety of our audiences is paramount, so we will review our procedures to ensure this does not happen in the future.”