'Frasier' co-star takes on accent for English farce

Monday, November 12, 2001

NEW YORK -- Edward Hibbert has a lot of things on his mind these days but the most pressing seems to be a platter of small fish and how quickly his pants fall down.

The actor, best known as the fussy restaurant critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's "Frasier," has been furiously concentrating on both these things in preparation for a Broadway revival of the British farce "Noises Off."

"I thank God that my concerns -- and I'm not trying to be flip here now -- my concerns right now are trousers and sardines," he says. "I thank God I've got a set of worries which have to do with my work right now and keep my mind off the real horrors of the world."

Hibbert plays Frederick Fellowes, a stage actor with a second-rate touring company that desperately tries to put aside its internal squabbles to perform a ludicrous sex farce called "Nothing On" in the hinterlands of England.

"I was once told the old-age cliche that, 'Once you can play Shakespeare, you can play anything.' Well, nothing against Shakespearean actors ... but comedy separates the men from the boys."

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