Faulty Towers trips over its own feet as it comes to life in ‘The Dining Experience’

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Faulty Towers trips over its own feet as it comes to life in ‘The Dining Experience’


Mayhem, absolute mayhem. That’s the best way to describe the Faulty Towers Dining Experience, according to Athony Sottile who plays one of three starring roles in the interactive and hilariously slapstick theatre show.

A homage to the classic 1970’s/80’s UK sitcom of the same name – though with slightly different spelling – the Faulty Towers cast have toured their skit all around the world. The original television series, for those who haven’t seen it, starred John Cleese as downright dreadful hotel owner Basil Fawlty, Connie Booth as Basil’s domineering wife Sybil and Andrew Sachs as their hapless, but well-intentioned Spanish waiter Manuel, who struggled with even the simplest of English phrases.

Although you wouldn’t dream of eating out with such a terrible hospitality trio in real life, that’s exactly what has kept the Fawlty charm alive, more than 20 years later. It’s funny, relatable and also somewhat nostalgic for those hardcore Fawlty fans.

“We’ve all had that experience, so it rings true, there are elements in the show that everyone can relate to and I think that’s why it stands the test of time,” says Sottile. “Either you’ve been served by someone who’s just horrific, a horrible waiter or waitress, or, if you’re working in hospitality, you’ve had that nightmare customer.”

The Faulty Towers Dining Experience isn’t something you can just sit back and watch. The audience is in the very thick of it, as you’re literally served your dinner by Basil, Sybil and Manuel.

“It’s a three course meal, but it’s funny because traditional dinner theatre is basically a meal with a show. This is completely flipped the other way. This is a show that happens to have a meal component with it. The meal is almost a prop… because if you were to dine in the real restaurant at Fawlty Towers hotel, you would be served a meal, while all this mayhem is going on around you.”

And as we already know, mayhem sure does ensue. Sottile plays the clumsy Spanish waiter and, although a third of the show is scripted, spends the rest of the time reacting to audience member’s heckles and unexpected behaviour in true Manuel style.

“There’s a moment in the show when Mrs Fawlty is telling Manuel off, and as Manuel cowers away from her, he falls onto a gentleman’s lap and throws his arms around his neck in a ‘save me’ kind of way. During one particular show, this gentleman was a very big, brick house of a man, and he literally just scooped his arm underneath my legs, picked me up and proceeded to walk out of the room with me in his arms. Sybil and I looked at each other and I could see she wanted to crack up laughing.”

Luckily, neither Manuel nor Mrs Fawlty broke character during that particular moment of audience-driven script change, however, it just goes to show that no two Faulty Dining Experiences will ever be the same.

“Most people come out and tell us that their faces hurt from laughing so much. Be prepared to spend the whole night laughing.”