Saint Patrick’s Day is here!
Who doesn’t love the highly contagious spirit and excessive green decorations that come hand in hand with this holiday? Saint Patrick’s Day is a day of total celebration for beautiful Ireland, and the team at ITI cannot agree more – we think Ireland (sham)rocks (sorry)!
So we are sending some of our favourite cast members over to do a mini tour of Faulty Towers The Dining Experience in April. Are you as excited as we are? Basil, Sybil and Manuel will be hitting four wonderful Irish venues: Dublin’s Civic Theatre (17-21 April), Dungarvan’s Lawlor’s Hotel (21 April), Kettle’s Country House Hotel in Dublin (22 April), and Cork’s Everyman at the Metropole Hotel (24-29 April). All the booking links are below if you want to grab yourself some of the last few tickets!
This is our 10th anniversary year of touring Ireland. Yep, that’s 10 whole years that we have been trotting around the home of Guinness and we’ve not slowed down at all!
So to celebrate this day of Irish excitement and our up-coming tour, we are talking to our long-standing Irish tour manager: David Teevan of ten42!
David has been helping us get the Faultys on the road in Ireland since our first show there in April 2009. He and his staff support all the venues, and all the performers, making sure travel plans are sorted and their props kit’s to hand (it’s a suitcase full of important things like a fish in a frame and fire extinguishers… you know, just in case!). So ITI’s Caitlin Page spoke to David about his experience with the show and why he thinks it works so well in Ireland…
ITI: Hi David! Let’s start with the easy stuff – how did managing FTTDE in Ireland all begin?
I first saw the show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008 at B’Est Restaurant – it was the show’s first time at the Fringe. After the performance I went straight up to Ali* to congratulate her and ask her if she’d like to come to Ireland. She said she would love to and added that her husband’s (Peter Mansergh) family came from Ireland. We found out later that Pete’s family actually came from Tipperary – where I lived – and I even knew one of his cousins! So I booked the show for the 2009 to come to the Clonmel Junction Festival (at the time, I was the director of the festival) and I built a tour around that – starting at the Civic Theatre Tallaght, where we’re going in April.
*Alison Pollard-Mansergh, ITI Artistic Director and at that time a Sybil too.
ITI: Since 2009, you have seen the show hundred of times! Do you have a favourite moment?
I remember when the show was being performed at the Mermaid Theatre in Bray, Co Wicklow. During the opening sequence in the bar Basil approached a woman standing alone. She started to laugh a little as he approached so Basil paused and waited for her laughter to stop. He leaned in and her laughter started again, this time slightly more manically, so he backed off and the laughter subsided. Once again, he leaned in and again, it began. This was repeated for quite some time, much to the amusement of the audience. Eventually the poor woman got control of herself and Basil asked her if she alright to which she replied “I’m German”, and bust into another bout of uncontrollable hysterical laughter.
Q3. Why do you think FTTDE resonates with Irish people so much?
There are many reasons why the show works so well as a dining experience. The setting of the series was a hotel which makes it such a believable immersive experience when audience members have to come to a hotel or restaurant for the show. The Irish love dinner theatre, too – so it works particularly well here. One of the brilliant things about this show’s script is the structure. There is lots of space so that people can enjoy the company of each other while being entertained. There is enough time to have a few drinks and a gossip without missing out on the food or the show. The best part is that the audience knows these characters so well. They know their traits and habits and it means they can relate to them easily. The barriers to participation that inhibit people from ‘playing along’ within some shows are demolished through the familiarity and setting so it’s easy for people to relax, interact and have fun.
ITI: So over the years you have been managing, where in Ireland has the show been?
Over the years ITI has performed FTTDE over 500 times in Ireland, visiting 40 venues in 27 of the 32 counties.
This year will be the sixth year in a row we have sold out a week in Metropole Hotel in Cork City, working in collaboration with Everyman Palace Theatre. This November we will return to Bloomfield House Hotel for the 9th year in a row. To date all of the Bloomfield House Hotel performances have been sold out. Last Nov-Dec the company played 19 performances in 15 venues that were all sold out too!
ITI: After so many performances all over, I bet you have some stories!
The strangest place we have ever done the show was on a double-decker bus that had been converted into a pizza restaurant. It was owned by a friend of mine who was a huge Faulty Towers fan and he begged me to book the show so I relented against my better judgement. The seating was upstairs and the kitchen was downstairs. The whole place only had a capacity of about 40.Manuel had no problem shooting up and down the aisles and Sybil could manage it (even in her high heels and with her beehive hairdo), but poor Basil not only had to bend over to manage the low ceiling but had to suffer the ignominy of being downgraded to managing a pizza bus with clientele all drinking beer and wearing jeans! The pizzas were delicious, and the show went very well…. But poor basil was not happy with the promoter for putting him through the backache.
If you want further information to catch Faulty Towers The Dining Experience in Ireland at any of the locations (Dublin, Dungarvan or Cork) in April, then click this link to be taken to the ticketing page!
And if you’re still not convinced you can sneak a peek at this video here.
Much thanks to David for sharing his stories with us and a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all!