Being a big fan of Fawlty Towers back in the day, with the hilarious antics of Basil Fawlty, his long-suffering but equally quirky wife Sybil, and of course their rather dippy Spanish waiter Manuel, I was really looking forward to this unusual entertainment concept and it did not disappoint.
We were checked in at a reception desk with its bell and romantic novel waiting for Sybil’s return, before we and our fellow diners were gathered in the bar ready for the fun to begin. I won’t describe the event in too much detail as part of the fun is the element of surprise, however, it’s safe to say that you will be served a three-course-meal in a way that you will never have before, laughing from start to finish.
The three actors performing for the lunch I attended had mastered the mannerisms of their characters well. Basil had the gangly physique and manic look in the eye of the hen-pecked hotel proprietor - and yes, he did manage to goose-step and bark orders just as John Cleese would have done. Sybil? Well, you’ll love the unique drawn-out laugh and the brilliant way that she ‘manages’ the event along with her errant husband and waiter-in-training.
Audience participation/interaction is obviously a big part of the entertainment, but it is never prolonged or too negative or embarrassing. The other guests laugh along with you, rather than at you.
The TV show has enduring cult status, with fathers introducing sons and daughters to the comedy sitcom. The comedy itself (inspired by the sitcom rather than using scripts from it) is timeless and being pretty-much slapstick in style, and will appeal to all age groups regardless of whether they’ve seen the programme. Families including grandparents and grandchildren enjoyed the event I attended.
The event lasts a bit more than two hours and is set in the ‘The Torquay Suite’ at the Amba Hotel, Charing Cross. The food consists of a 1970s-style meal and finishes with coffee. (Drinks at the bar and during the meal must be paid for separately.) Don’t worry - guests are attended to by professional waiting staff too!
The show runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. It’s perfect for groups – tables seat 10 – and a group of 10 pays for just nine places. (This discount works in multiples, so two for 20 places, three for 30 etc.) It would also make an ideal private party event for a large group or corporate event (for rates email firstname.lastname@example.org).
With rave reviews from diners and media alike, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience first began in Brisbane, Australia in 1997. Since then thousands of people in numerous locations around the world have enjoyed the antics of Basil, Sybil and Manuel. Bookings will continue to be taken in London until September 2016. Go online to www.faultytowers-uk.com or call 0845 154 4145. Discounted hotel stays are also available.
If this style of event appeals, then you and your group may be interested in The Wedding Reception, a new show devised by the same production company Interactive Theatre International. Again, this promises a two-hour piece of immersive, interactive and improvised comedy. Check out the website - www.interactivetheatre.com.au/theweddingreception - or call the number above.