Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

This is certainly different. When you arrive at the venue you are sent into the alley beside the restaurant which is the venue and told “this isn’t a queue, it’s a people gathering experience”. As we waited we were eventually witness to a row and break down in communication between Basil Faulty and his wife Sybil, and some misunderstanding and fun and games with put upon waiter Manuel.I’m assuming there is no point in explaining who these characters are, as if you don’t know the fantastic sitcom, Fawlty Towers, from which they come then you aren’t the target audience. These aren’t the “real” characters of course, but all well impersonated by the three performers.Basil eventually assigns each person or group to a table (whilst managing to be rude in true Fawlty style to all and sundry. He looked me up and down and sneered “nice of you to dress up)”. With only a little bit of (deliberate) fuss all 93 of us were seated for dinner. As my dinner companion and sat down at a table with two strangers at first I thought we’d struck gold – they were speaking in a guttural foreign language. Could they possibly be German, and if so, how far would Basil go in humiliating them?As it turns out, they were Dutch, but they were duly humiliated anyway - as we all were. My companion and I were soon recognised as “pretentious arty types” and referred to accordingly throughout the two hour meal. No one was safe from Basil’s sarcasm and bile. The food was served (eventually) and was okay, though Sybil’s “joke’ that it’s amazing what you can get to “boil in the bag’ was perhaps a little to close to the truth. As your critic I didn’t pay for my ticket, but at nearly forty quid a head (excluding drinks) the food on its own certainly is extremely over-priced.It’s not really about the food, though, and as our impersonating trio continued to rattle through some set pieces (Basil the Rat, dentures in soup etc) we did come to accept them as the originals (though Manuel the waiter physically resembled Ricky Gervais more than Andrew Sachs.) All three performers did remarkably well in “sharing” themselves amongst all the diners in what is a difficult performance space. I was at the lunch sitting, and I suspect the dinner sitting may be potentially more raucous, especially if you are part of a large party. As a piece of emersive theatre it’s pretty slick, though in the end it made me want to watch the original episodes.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Dine with snobbish, manic Basil; his domineering wife, Sybil and hopelessly confused waiter, Manuel. Three-course meal included. 'Trust me, it is worth it ... highlight of the 2008 Fringe' - ***** (Edinburgh Evening News).

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