My dad has always been a massive fan of English comedian John Cleese and growing up; I had seen many of Cleese’s classic films such at the Monty Python collection along with dad’s favourite, Faulty Towers. As a child, I remember popping Faulty Towers on and watching episodes back-to-back on VHS (video’s for the those who are too young to know what I’m talking about).
Faulty Towers first aired in 1975 on the BBC and lasted for two seasons which equated to 12 episodes. Written by Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, the series is set in Faulty Towers, a fictional hotel inside the English town of Torquay. The series is centred around Basil Faulty (Cleese) the rude owner of the hotel, his bossy wife Sibyl, their hapless minimal English speaking waiter Manuel and Polly, the hotel’s Chambermaid and often Basil’s partner in crime.
Being such a fan of the show and being able to quote every episode almost word-for-word, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the Faulty Towers Dining Experience on my recent trip to London. The show which is in its fourth year at London’s West End involves the audience become diners in the ‘Faulty Towers’ restaurant where they enjoy a three-course 70s inspired meal served by Basil, Sybil and Manuel. If you’re familiar with the show you know before you walk in the service is going to be terrible, but what this two-hour laugh-fest has in-store no one can prepare you for.
Without giving too much away, the show begins with the audience being welcome by Mr Faulty at the hotel’s bar. He then proceeds to allocate table numbers before you’re transferred to the restaurant to take your seat in time for the mayhem to begin. This interactive theatre experience includes many of the jokes you see on the TV show, along with new pranks as the cast interact and insult the entire audience – no one is safe! Normally I’m not one for audience participation but this show is so engaging you almost you want to be picked on. The more you interact with the cast, the funnier the show gets. Faulty Towers fans such as myself, you’ll experience many of the standout skits including Manuel’s pet hamster (the rat), the infamous Germans scene, the Basil Faulty fire drill and much more.
I booked the show for me and five friends who aren’t necessarily Faulty Towers fans, and the verdict was unanimous, this show is unbelievable. It’s jam-packed with non-stop laughs, and you never know what’s going to happen next. The acting is incredible, and every detail right down to John Cleese’s walk has been perfected. I’ve never experienced and interactive theatre production and based on this performance I cannot wait to do it again. When you’re next in London, be sure to book yourself a seat to this world class production.
I booked my tickets using the Viator website; prices start from AUD $96.43 for the dinner experience. Lunch shows also available. The show takes place at the Torquay Suite Theatre located at the Amba Hotel Charring Cross, London, England. For more information visit the Faulty Towers Dining Experience website.