– by Caitlin Page
In the October blog written for Basil’s Birthday (if you’ve ever wanted to know how a family business can skyrocket into international success, that would be the blog to read), we mentioned that Faulty Towers The Dining Experience has been touring the UK since 2008. Two Thousand and Eight! That’s nine years of touring the beautiful, green (and sometimes very wet) lands of the United Kingdom.
Every year, the show has found a way to create the same Faulty experience in increasingly unusual settings – venues that are brand new, venues that are brilliantly old, venues that are theatres or pubs or arts centres or hotels. Venues that can fit hundreds of eager diners, and venues that can fit an intimate few. Events that are for the public, for weddings and birthdays, for golf clubs and tennis clubs. Venues that are mysteriously placed in the middle of a field, and venues that are in the centre of the town.
FTTDE (Faulty Towers The Dining Experience) has certainly seen a diverse range of performance scenarios and 2017 was no different. Our UK tours this year have been as interesting as ever – returning to some venues we consider a second home, and embracing new venues looking for their own Experience.
With the holiday season arriving quicker than ever, the Faulty teams are finding themselves back at some old favourites like The Lowry in Salford Quays, where we’ve been appearing since 2009. That’s nine years of Faulty mayhem and magic – and counting… The Lowry has rebooked FTTDE for 2018. It even added our new show to the mix this year, The Wedding Reception.
Wales Millennium Centre has hosted Faulty for almost as long, beginning our partnership in Cardiff in 2010. Our tours at Wales Millennium Centre usually last for a week or two, with performances every day. This may seem like a lot, but WMC has managed to host us time and time again without ever worrying that the rooms might not fill up!
Suzanna Hughes, a Sybil with us for over five years has said the following about working at WMC: “Gwych! That’s Welsh for fabulous. One of my favourite ever venues – the audiences are always such fun, as are the staff…. Even Chef Dave joins in as our very drunk chef!”
Wales Millennium Centre always sees loads of fun and chaos time and time again. We are looking forward to our 2018 runs with them!
Further north, I was lucky enough to visit another old favourite just a couple of weeks ago: The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, nestled on the lovely coast of the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland. It was a BRILLIANT show and I got some great images for our back catalogue. The audience (myself included) was laughing non-stop the whole way through. So thankyou Rhian McLean, Jonathan Saunders and James Heatlie! (read more about them on the Actors page on the show website).
The wonderful thing about Faulty is that it has reached into many a far-flung corner of the UK and in so doing has become a national treasure. From theatres like Theatrau Sir Gâr in Ffwrnes near Lllanelli and Theatre Royal in Plymouth, to venues like Hothorpe Hall in Theddingworth, Aspers Casino in Newcastle and Canterbury University’s Gulbenkian, plus all the many hundreds of places in between… everywhere we play, the show is loved and recognised. It truly is a classic show that can be played anywhere in almost any building!
I will leave you here with some images from my night in Fife…