It is not often that, having gone out to a restaurant for a meal, you are insulted by the manager, witness him being abused by his wife and are inappropriately touched by the waiter and yet you leave the establishment saying, ‘We should eat there again.’ But then this is not just any meal, this is Faulty Towers, the dining experience.
Originally performed by Interactive Theatre International in Australia, this production is the brainchild of Alison Pollard and Andy Foreman, who have expertly cherry picked the best scenes for the iconic series and turned them into a two and half hour festival of all that is best about the original series. The fact that this show is now in its fifteenth year, and has travelled the globe, demonstrates just how well the piece has been received by its audience.
The dining experience actually begins in the foyer of the luxurious Thistle Hotel, Brighton, where guests are greeted by the trio of stars each performing their functions. Manuel Anthony Sottile attempts to attend to guests needs, while Basil, played by Kevin Whittle, shoots filthy looks to any guests he deems less then worthy of his establishment. The pair, along with Karen Hamilton as Sybil, have such presence and talent that, even in the vast expanse of the hotel’s central atrium, guests immediately immerse themselves in the performance.
Events quickly move to the dining room, where guests are treated to a combination of Faulty Tower classics, such as a visit from a ‘Siberian hamster’ and a run though of the fire drill, together with some site specific material. It is also in this environment that the interactive experience has the opportunity to shine, with each table receiving a unique experience according to the demographics of their party. Despite the erratic nature of the service, the three course meal lived up to the four stars rating of the hotel.
It is impossible to highlight just one member of this cast, as they have all clearly spent a lot of time learning the quirks and habits of the original cast; From Basil’s hand twitch to Sybil’s shrill cries and Manuel’s complete lack of understanding, the attention to detail is faultless. In addition to their near perfect individual interpretations, they also work faultlessly together as a team.
This is a one-of-a-kind show which will entertain both dedicated fans of the series as well as those less familiar. All in all, an authentic Faulty Towers experience, which guests will remember for all the right reasons.