Few things in this life are as wonderful as a trip to the Mediterranean. Picture clear skies, a deep blue sea, the sun on your back, sandy shorelines, melting ice creams… and impeccable service from the Faultys. Alright, that last one might be a stretch, but Basil, Sybil and Manuel are always trying! It’s true: the ridiculously funny, and always charming 5-star experience is popping up in some of our favourite sun-bathed locations in Malta, Spain and Gibraltar in February and March.
This won’t be ITI’s first time out this way. Only late last year we sat down with Oliver Harrison (performer extraordinaire and long-time Manuel) to talk about his years growing up in Spain.
This year, we have had to add more dates to our Malta run at The Sheer Bastion to accommodate demand. That got us wondering what it’s like to sell and perform shows out in Spain, Gib or Malta.
Claire Housden, our International Sales Manager, gave us some brilliant insight to the first part of that question – How do we sell these shows?:
“The venue in Malta actually contacted us after one of their staff saw the show in London. Their first shows in 2018 sold out in 48 hours, and they have booked again this year and added more shows because of demand. I think it translates well because there are a lot of British expats living there and I believe Fawlty Towers the TV series aired there (but I’m not sure).
“The same goes for Gibraltar and Spain. As soon as one venue booked us, it sold out in no time. And from there other venues started to take more interest. In places like Costa Del Sol there are huge numbers of Brits and the staff members I book the show with tend to be British and living out there for a number of years.
“Now we have picked up a Spanish promoter, Martyn Denbigh, who has taken shows to Spain for over 40 years!“
It’s exciting to know that we will be returning often now that we have a new Spanish promoter on board.
But we were still wondering about what it’s like to tour and perform in these unique places. Once again, our intrepid actors were on hand to share their experience and memories with us….
“Working in the sunshine was an absolute pleasure. The whole place has a real feel-good factor! Lots of expats insist they’ve made the best life choice ever and it’s easy to see why. The drive from Spain to Gibraltar was quite surreal. I have never seen scenery as stunning as when we approached the rock. For me, the highlight was the pepper we had to eat in the local square of Peña Flamenca, Estepona. I also had a hotel cabin room overlooking the harbour in Gibraltar which was beautiful, and performing the show on a floating hotel yacht that never leaves the dock (in Gibraltar again) was a real buzz.”
Oliver Harrison’s Experience – Manuel – toured Malta, Gibraltar and Spain in 2018
“Performing in the south of Spain was such an exciting opportunity. It was the first time since I was a teenager that I have performed there. Many friends and family attended and it was very nice to have them there. Perhaps the nicest part of that trip was visiting my sister who was expecting a baby at the time (she has since had said baby!). It was a real treat to take Donna (Sybil) and Dan (Basil) to my sister’s house and introduce them to my family, showing them around the land where I grew up. I felt a bit like a tour guide, and it was so nice to share my history with them. I have included a picture of me as Manuel picking on my aunty Suzy!”
“Meeting Olly’s family and getting to hang out with him in his ‘natural environment’ was very lovely! The audiences generally on that stretch of coast and in Gibraltar itself were so warm and welcoming. It was brilliant how proud the Gibraltarian audiences are about where they live; making Manuel change the lyrics of the song to Y Viva GIBRALTAR and giving a massive cheer when Basil called them all Llanitos. I was also particularly delighted to hang out with the Barbary Macaques on the Rock. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos, because one tried to snatch my phone… As is often the case with this show, I just love getting to see new places and learning about the people who live there. Gibraltar, in particular, seems pretty unique, so I’m delighted to have gone (and to be going back!).”
Ben Holme’s Experience – Basil – toured Malta in 2018
“Malta was truly unique. We were met with an extremely warm welcome from our hosts at the Old Fort of Senglea. We were thrilled that the shows were so well received there. We also completely took advantage of every opportunity we had to explore this beautiful country and study its history. Lots of brilliantly interesting things have happened there, from the Knights Templar to its sturdy resistance during World War II. It’s quite a place.”
Honestly, after all this I’m feeling ready for a holiday in the sun… who’s with us?
If you want to catch any of the shows on our mini-Med tour , 20 Feb-1 March, you can find out more information here.