Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

“Manuel, please sit the guests down,” from the very first sentence, you know this is not going to be any ordinary evening meal – and I’m already clutching my glass of wine, fearful of it being spilt down my dress. Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience are back, for their 10th year at the Fringe, and their 20th birthday, but the enthusiasm and gags certainly don’t reflect their age.

Outrageously funny and charming

Our hosts for the evening, the Faultys (Benedict Holme and Imogen Miller Porter) and the ever-lovable and clumsy Manuel (James Heatlie), ensure guests are tended to somewhat perfectly, and the laughter and conversation certainly never dries up. Faulty fans will not be disappointed by the uncanny impersonations from the show, however those newly acquainted will still love the performance – although if you don’t enjoy interactive theatre you’d better steer clear.

Sybil, the hostess with the mostest, can strike terror into everyone’s heart with her “Basiiiiil” shrieks and threats yet remains the picture of charm throughout the meal. Porter acted with genuine interest and affection when conversing with the audience, toning down some of the theatrics and making it feel like a real dinner party.

The chemistry between the troublesome duo – Manuel and Basil – is indisputable and the pair worked in-sync. Such a likeable character, it was impossible to say no to Manuel grabbing your various accessories... or parts of your face. The two hours were a mixture of old-favourite Faulty lines and original slap-stick improvisation that was delivered with precision. You’d be hard pressed to find a ‘favourite’ gag or episode that isn’t touched on – and you’ll be equally impressed by the improvisation of the team.

The team get the balance just right with the interactive element – there was no poking fun at or embarrassing individuals, it was the kind of interactive theatre that allowed every member of the audience to feel part of the performance whilst allowing you to get involved as much as you like – from dipping your toe in, to getting pretty hands(and legs)-on with Manuel…

Outrageously funny and charming, you'll often find yourself saying "I can't believe they just did that" whilst bursting into fits of giggles. Just try not to choke on any of the delicious courses provided by the Principal Hotel whilst you laugh and chatter your evening away. It’s not a firm Fringe sell-out for nothing, and it’s only getting better with age. Perhaps you'll leave having made a new friend, or maybe just wine on your shirt – I was lucky to leave with the former, and not the latter!  

Reviews by Sarah Virgo

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The Blurb

Experience our swanky new venue as we celebrate our 10th Fringe! Still with 70% improvised, every show is different and chaos is king as Basil, Sybil, and Manuel serve a 3-course meal. Expect plenty of laughs in this true blend of ingenious interactive comedy and unique scripting – this year featuring 41 lunch and dinner shows throughout August. 11 performances celebrating our 10th Fringe Anniversary include even more surprises, see website for details. ‘Hilariously bonkers!’ (Edinburgh Evening News).