Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile
The Public Reviews Rating:
Manic, spontaneous, unnerving and side splittingly funny would be a fitting way to describe a night out at the Faulty Towers Dining Experience. By booking a table in the Tourquay Rooms Theatre you are accepting a part in a two hour immersive piece that includes nuts and a three course meal with tea and coffee to finish.
You start off in a lovely bar area, with polite barmen, a selection of drinks and a calm atmosphere; this is slowly dissipated by the arrival of a polite but slightly overbearing Sybil Faulty (Alison Pollard-Mansergh) looking for her husband Basil (Jordan Edmeades) and after that a well-meaning but due to a language barrier very literal waiter, Manuel (Anthony Sottile). The arrival of Basil, a very stressed, tall gangling man, banishes the air of calm forever and throws Manuel into a state of confusion that signals the beginning of the audience participation and sets the tone for the rest of the evening.
The tables in the restaurant seat ten people so unless you come with a big group you will be seated with people you don’t know, this did not seem to be a problem for anyone on the night I attended and it gave you the opportunity to talk to people you never would have spoken to in a normal situation. The food was nice although it serves more as a prop for the action rather than being an important part of the evening.
The confusion and stress levels slowly built through the evening as the situations became more and more ridiculous and the evident dislike between Basil and Sybil moves from sly digs to very open abuse. The audience have no idea what could happen next and as most of the evening was unscripted, it was down to the three actors to use their knowledge of each other and the information they had gleaned from their ‘guests’ to create the comedy and situations. They did this brilliantly, from comments about hair, clothes, countries, relationships between people, even dietary requirements, the comic moments kept coming!
There were some fans of the TV show ‘Fawlty Towers’ and they were very impressed and surprised about how similar the characters were to the original TV creation, especially Edmeades . These similarities only enhanced the piece and the actors’ evident knowledge of the back stories of their characters made their responses to questions from the guests very believable and acceptable.
This was a brilliantly fun evening that the audience of all ages willingly participated in, every audience member was involved in a unique way, the two hours sped by and by the end of the evening the participants went home with grins on their faces and food and drink inside them (not on them which was always a slight worry!)
Faulty Towers Dining Experience runs at the Charing Cross Hotel well into 2013
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience - Charing Cross Hotel, London,