The Faulty Towers Dining Experience at The Thistle is a scrumptious tour de force as the performers from the Interactive Australian Company effortlessly emulate the beloved Basil, Sybil and Manuel from the celebrated television show of the 70s. Dining at Faulty Towers is a personal, intimate dining event that promises outlandishness and chaos as soon as Basil derogatorily scrutinises you and your fellow diners, commanding that you leave the concourse of The Thistle and enter the private, Faulty Towers suite.
Basil treats the diners and Manuel alike with a similar contempt and impatience reminiscent of John Cleese in the television series, and guests roar with laughter at the anticipated complications that arise from Basil managing the dinner. Manuel is delightful, and his spectacular misunderstanding of the English language contrives nothing but sympathy as Basil angrily despairs at communicating with him. The duo’s chemistry is alive as ever as master and servant collaborate to poignantly expose the somewhat childish vulnerability of Manuel and the hilarious insanity of Basil.
Sybil is wonderfully portrayed as the woman whose livelihood is constantly under threat due to the incompetence of Basil and the inappropriateness of Manuel; ‘sit the napkin on the lady’s lap’ and ‘lay the napkin on the lady’s lap’, are two simple instructions that become fraught with misinterpretation. The personal interactions between her constantly following up and pacifying Basil and Manuel’s actions further aid to create an engaging audience, united with laughter, each member able to leave their delicious meal with a unique, Faulty Towers anecdote of their own. Basil is a difficult character to portray, and sometimes leans towards caricature rather than mimicry, although the cast should be commended for their attention to detail regarding their detailed study and replica of the personal habits and gestures of Basil, Sybil and Manuel.