Faulty Towers – the Dining Experience
Our recent Readers’ Night at Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience was a complete disaster. And we loved it! Fiona Horan reports back.
IN March over 30 readers and myself were lucky enough to be invited to Faulty Towers The Dining Experience in London, courtesy of tickets and events agency Encore. The three-course meal and theatrical experience is a loving tribute to the famous 70s sitcom Fawlty Towers, and is a two hour part-improvised tour-de-force in which anything can happen!
We gathered at the 4-star Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel near Tottenham Court Road and were given an exclusive opportunity for photographs with the cast of three, whilst Basil (Meredith Colchester) grew increasingly agitated about whether we were sitting in the right places and whether we should be upstairs at the bar or downstairs in the dining room. ‘Come on, come on!’ he was saying, followed by much argument with Sybil about who should have done the seating plan.
We all settled at our tables. The room and layout was just the right size to allow all of us to see the antics of Basil and Sybil Faulty and the hapless Manuel even when they were on the other side of the room.
Events that take place before and during the first two courses are loosely inspired by some of the plots of the television series as well as original incidents that arise out of the characters. Instructed to collect glasses from the guests – Manuel swiped all the spectacles off the faces within reach – to Basil’s violent exasperation. During the evening, we had Manuel showing off his matador skills, some embarassing culinary mishaps, and trouble with the kitchen. And if anyone disppeared during the meal to get a drink from the bar, they were guaranteed to find their chair re-assigned by the time they returned.
The Fawlty Towers theme works brilliantly as a comedy dining experience and I thought the cast were incredibly accomplished – adapting and improvising to their audience – and never taking it too far with any individual guest. And don’t worry – the food was excellent – with vegetarian options available for what Basil calls ‘the fussy eaters’.
The show has gone from strength to strength since it began in 1997, and now tours 20 countries a year, with a permanent base in London and an ongoing national tour.
I thoroughly enjoyed being one of Basil Faulty’s guests. Unlike the original hotel – the Faulty Towers Dining Experience is definitely five-star!
“A fabulous evening! Manuel was excellent, making hilarious mistakes between the tables and guests, and had his hamster/rat on hand, causing lots of screeches and screams, including me! Basil was his usual pompous self, yelling at the mistakes Manuel made and Sybil was trying to keep the peace throughout the proceedings. All the actors were very good in character, up close and personal. All in all, a funny comic evening, one to add to my list”
Christine, Ladies Fellowship
“Wow what a fantastic experience! The evening was absolutely hilarious from start to finish, and we loved the spontaneous action between the three talented actors and the diners. They worked the room brilliantly. You literally did not know what to expect next. They cleverly included lots of dialogue from the famous TV series. It is a perfect group dining event!”
Jayne, JMB Associates