Faulty Towers the Dining Experience
  • By Kat Pope
  • |
  • 27th May 2013
  • |
  • ★★★★

Manuel is looking confused. Already. Meester Fawlty has asked him to collect the glasses. "Si," he says as he marches off and denudes all the dinner guests of their spectacles. It's started, and we're not even in the dining room yet: we're still in the spacious bar of the Thistle Hotel.

You go for the Fawltyness and of that there was an abundance and yes, silly walks were mercifully included in the price.

There's Sybil in her fright wig and tweed suit, Manuel tripping over his own feet, and Fawlty, ah Fawlty, being well, faulty. It's a little difficult to get over the fact that they're not the real Scales, Sachs and Cleese – the slightly different faces, the not-quite-perfect impressions – but about ten minutes in and you don't even notice it. They interact with the guests and each other with a polish that puts you (almost) at ease.

Manuel is the main culprit in the mess stakes (and this is a messy experience so don't wear your best), while Fawlty hits and bashes him into walls with gay abandon and a healthy disregard for health and safety. H&S will be on your mind all through this, I guarantee, as you wonder how they can get away with what they're getting away with. Bread rolls go flying, tables are clambered onto and fallen off of and windows are ran at pell mell.

At one point, one of the women at my table shrieks and actually jumps on her chair. Another man is left outside the locked dining room door ("That's how you get rid of the riff raff"), banging to be let back in again. It's chaotic, but very ordered chaos as there is a structure to the show. In between courses we get the set pieces – an amalgam of all the funniest, most famous bits of the sitcom – but while we're eating it's difficult to start a conversation without one of the trio butting in, Sybil making small talk, Manuel trying to get a napkin on your lap, or Fawlty simply being ingratiatingly rude.

This is a very practiced show with very skilled performers who I really couldn't fault, but fault the food I most certainly could. Being a vegetarian I'm used to being served substandard food (especially in hotels) so wasn't too unhappy, but my neighbour did whisper that perhaps they were taking the 1970s theme a little too far by theming the menu. Tomato soup (plus false teeth for the lucky few), a vol-au-vent case piled with barely grilled veg and smothered in tomato sauce, and a bog standard chocolate flan let this experience down. And you don't get even one free drink for your quite expensive ticket. An otherwise five star event was brought down to four purely on the food front which is a shame.

That said, you don't really go for the food, do you. You go for the Fawltyness and of that there was an abundance and yes, silly walks were mercifully included in the price.

Reviews by Kat Pope

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

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.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Basil, Sybil and Manuel return, serving up more of their madcap mayhem and a three-course meal in "riproaringly hilarious" (This Is London) interactive comedy theatre that’s fresh every time. "A two hour eat, drink and laugh sensation" (Daily Telegraph) that "had us in stitches" (Huffington Post, Brighton Fringe 2012). Internationally acclaimed and touring over 20 countries this year. Booking essential.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets