The Fawlty Towers tribute show, ‘Faulty Towers, The Dining Experience’ was unlike any other performance I had seen before. The interactive structure of the show created an involvement with the characters, not possible in traditional theatre.
Upon entering the Quality Hotel in North Adelaide, we were directed to the bar, also notified that Mr. Fawlty (Blair Martin) would arrive soon to escort us to our table. After relaxing for a while, chatting over a sauv blanc, Manuel (Daley Donnelly) entered. The Spanish waiter, came dashing through the room, hands flying, being pursued by Basil Fawlty. Moments later Sybil (Karen Hamilton) entered and barked instructions at them to seat us. Then Manuel wandered around the room, asking people “top, or bottom?” We battled through the language barrier, as he proceeded to tuck a napkin into my top.
The actors did a fantastic job, of adapting the television series and bringing it to a live audience. However, some of the slapstick was not as effective in this setting. The close proximity of the actors to the audience meant those close to the action could see the stomps and claps used to make hitting sounds.
This aside, the actors did a superb job of mimicking the quirks of the original characters. Donnelly’s repeated “que?” and Martin’s melodramatic goose-step around the restaurant, did their TV counterparts justice.
Even the serving of food was done in character. Manuel, after realising taking the bread rolls to each individual table would take a long time, threw them across the room. The pumpkin soup was delicious. Despite Sybil asking us to search our bowls for something the cook lost. The false teeth were returned to the kitchen and two guests received fresh soup. The main course was also amazing. The chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes, was cooked to perfection. I heard the smartly dressed eight-year-old at the table adjacent to us, praise the tenderness of the beef.
‘Fawlty Towers, the Dining Experience’ was a cleverly written show. It integrated great food, with even better laughs to create a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining meal.
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