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.
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.
| 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!