As immersive theatre in London goes, Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is right at the top of the pile with an enjoyable show which serves up laughs, hi jinks and even some edible food.
The experience begins with Basil Fawlty unceremoniously and very comically ushering diners to their tables, with all the comic hijinks you might expect. This sets the scene for what is to follow, as the beleaguered hotel owner, his long-suffering wife Sybil and waiter Manuel try their very best (read “comic worst”) to serve and entertain their guests. It’s completely hilarious and involves an awful lot of audience participation so only go if you like that sort of thing. The only real disappointment, performance wise, is the absence of Polly who, we are told has ‘got the night of’.
The acting is superb and the three principal actors really capture the essence of the TV characters right down to the smallest nuances and facial expressions. Manuel is particularly good in this respect and the incompetent waiter has many of the evenings best lines.
A highlight of the evening was watching the cast recreate some of the most memorable comic scenes in TV history with Basil the rat, the fire drill and the ‘goose-stepping’ episode all recalled.
One word of warning – you would be well advised to expect the unexpected and to pay attention at all times – especially to what you are eating. Talking of the food, let’s just say that it will probably not win any Michelin stars for quality. The menu is inspired by the kind of foods that restaurants served in the 1970s so some of the choices may seem a bit tired and uninspired to our sophisticated 21st century taste buds. However with an evening like this, food is hardly the point so if you go with realistic expectations then the food is certainly passable. Be warned too that you will be expected to pay for your own drinks.
This production has been created by an Australian company called Interactive Theatre International and all in all they have done a superb job of bringing the tv show to life. Faulty Towers is certainly not a cheap night out but then if you take it for what it is, which is a piece of top notch immersive theatre in London with dinner thrown in, then it is certainly not unreasonably priced and given the level of entertainment on offer, there are certainly worse ways to spend an evening.
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