Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, Festival Fringe Review

The Edinburgh Blog attended one of the last performances of Interactive Theatre’s ‘Faulty Towers the Dining Experience’. As the name of the theatre company suggests, this is truly an interactive show where the audience are subjected to Basil’s wrath, Manuel’s incompetence and Sybil’s sickly helpfulness during a two hour meal at the B’est restaurant on Edinburgh’s Drummond Street.

Our experience started while we queued outside B’est with Manuel serving, at first sight, canapes only to realise it was peanuts on a silver tray. We were instructed to have only one! Our first encounter with Basil was being ordered into the restaurant by name and table number.

Manuel at the Faulty Towers Dining Experience, Edinburgh Basil and his bread at the Faulty Towers Dining Experience, Edinburgh

Those familiar with Fawlty Towers will be very aware of what a meal at the famous Torquay hotel entails. A woman was branded a trouble maker when ordering a bottle of wine which Basil had no inclination to open; another found false teeth in her soup; another was force fed her vegetables when she dared to leave them on her plate; latecomers were humiliated to a ‘Basil’ dressing down in front of a silent restaurant; diners were regularly instructed to remove their elbows from the table; Manuel produced a bucket of water when asked for a jug. Sybil explained the customer wanted a jug of water, at which point Manuel filled the jug from the bucket. All very Fawlty Towers and all very entertaining.

The reenactment of famous scenes from the TV series were particularly enjoyable. The biggest laughs of the afternoon came when Manuel lost his hamster in the restaurant and the ensuing chaos. Of course the show would not have been complete without a goose-stepping Basil.

Regular waiters at the B’est restaurant helped to serve drinks (not included in the ticket price) and food. For starter we were eventually served a carrot and pepper based soup and for main a choice of chicken with rice or beef stew. Dessert was a chocolate orange cheesecake. All dishes wee competently done, a good accomplishment considering over a hundred diners were packed into the room.

The three cast members of “Faulty Towers the Dining Experience” acted their parts superbly. Alison Pollard-Mansergh was excellent as the domineering wife and she mastered Sybil’s grating laugh exactly. Although Nigel Bell’s Australian accent crept in occasionally he was a great ‘Basil’ and genuinely made the audience fearful of him. As you can see by the photos Nigel is perfectly suited to the role of Basil. Though, my favourite was Tony Nixon as the downtrodden and hapless Manuel.

Essential | Worth a watch |One to miss

The run of ‘Faulty Towers the Dining Experience” is almost over, with just another extra show tomorrow (26/08). Following this the show picks up its British tour. Try and catch it, or hope it returns to the Festival Fringe next year!

6 Responses to “Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, Festival Fringe Review”

  1. Great news: the Faulty Towers crew are still in the UK, doing a lightning tour of hotels around the country until early September (see their website). Then they’re back in the UK January-February next year, and again in July-August, including a return visit to the Edinburgh Festival and a tour in Ireland. They’d never performed this show outside of Australia and New Zealand before, but now people are calling for them to tour internationally. So keep checking their website for dates! This is seriously great news for them, as well as their fans.

  2. All I can say is I think this show is complete rubbish! I attended a Fawlty Towers show in the UK in Leeds last year and it was performed by E

  3. An English company perform this show and I urge you all to see it! They are the original team who produced the tribute to Fawlty Towers show. They have often been copied but they are never matched, they will be performing at the Fringe next year, go to see the show, as they are leagues above the competition and by the way, ‘they are definitely English’ The company is called Laughlines and they have done this show for the past elelven years. You will see the difference in the acting skills and the shear energy that is put into the performance.

    Louise Green.

  4. saw laughlines at daventry on saturday june 26th . all i can say is it was the worst thing i have ever had to sit through,it was embarrassing to actually be part of and this was the opinion of all the people on the table we were sat on . i have never written a review of anything before but this was so bad i felt i had to.

  5. We attended the Fawlty Towers Experience, the comedy was fantastic, very funny and we laughed all the way through, the meal, however, if you could call it that was dreadful, basic soup for starter, chicken on a bed of smash or fatty beef stew with only a handful of carrots making it qualify for a stew, dessert was a cheesecake which was paletable. For the price, the food should have been alot better quality, I am a chef and I know that these ingredients cost no more than £1.50 a head and we paid £40 each. Come on get it together and sort the food out, this would make it a memorable and most enjoyable experience.

  6. We “experienced” this last night at Komedia Brighton. Just so dull! Occasionally funny, but lacking in any kid of pace and at times just really cringe making, use to love FT, and maybe it just shows that classics are just……..best left alone!

    Food quality was absolutely spot on for FT - Awful!

    I would not recommend this, if you already have tickets, sell them if your conscience allows, giver them away, or just do the right thing - bin them!

    Sorry, never usually bother to write a bad review, just move on, but this is an over-priced not funny farce.

    …but then maybe - “I know nothing”

    Sorry, never usually bother to write a bad review, just move on, but this is an over-priced not funny farce.

    …but then maybe - “I know nothing”

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