Benedict Holme has been playing Basil Faulty in Faulty Towers The Dining Experience since April 2013. He has already toured in the UK and Canada and performed at the show’s residency in the Charing Cross Hotel in London’s West End. He’s currently touring Australia for the first time, experiencing Fringe World Perth, Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Q1: What’s your favourite part of working with Faulty Towers The Dining Experience so far, or your favourite Faulty moment?
Well, it’s no exaggeration to say that few acting jobs could be more perfect for a lanky, moustachioed actor with a travel bug. Ali [Artistic Director and Executive Producer] cast me in April 2013, and since then I’ve relished working with some wonderful and talented people, and in some amazing locations. I recently returned from a tour of Canada (where nearly every show ended with a standing ovation), and I leave in a few days’ time for a three-month tour of Australia. It’s a tremendous challenge to play such an iconic figure of British comedy in an interactive theatre context, but there’s no “buzz” quite like a show when the audience are 100% on your side.
Q2: Describe yourself in three words?
Fine ale connoisseur.
Q3: What’s your best (or worst) corpsing story?
A recent experience in Swindon springs to mind, when we were interrupted by a real life fire alarm and a real life (and extremely loud) plate smash, in both cases pre-empting the well-known routines from the show. We were half expecting a real life rat to scurry across the floor well in advance of his artificial counterpart making its scheduled appearance in Manuel’s box at the beginning of the second act. I can’t remember if any of this resulted in any actual corpsing, but we were close!
Q4: What similarities and differences are there between yourself and the character you play?
I’m sure some of my fellow cast members would tell you that very little transformation is required to turn Ben into Basil. Being tall, skinny, grumpy, and a bit posh, I’m pretty much there already. But whereas Basil gives full, irascible voice to all his angers and frustrations, Ben elects to simmer under the surface and brave life’s minor irritations with a big smile on his face 🙂
Q5: If you were an animal, what animal would you be, and why?
I’m thinking a blue whale. Being the largest organism that has ever lived, at least I’d know that nothing could eat me! Actually, didn’t David Attenborough show a baby one getting hounded by killer whales? I think I’d better be a killer whale instead, then. They can beat up great white sharks after all, and that might prove very useful when I’m in Australia!
Q6: Who’s your favourite cast member to share a dressing room with and why?
I think they’re all terrific, whether I’m sharing a dressing room, car journey, train journey, flight, beer, or mad excursion into a dangerous, litter-strewn abandoned Derbyshire cave-system with them!
Q7: If your character had a dating profile, what do you think it would say?
Ageing brilliantine stick insect seeks respite from rancorous coiffeured old sow.
Q8: What was your last tweet or Facebook status?
I’m not yet a Twitterer and don’t often update my Facebook status, but I’ll probably find time to make the obligatory “Farewell, friends!” speech before leaving for Aus.
Q9: What don’t you leave home without?
I was going to say a clean pair of socks, but we all know that’s a big lie, so it’s wallet and iPhone!
Q10: Do you have any hidden talents?
Burp-talking (not really).
No, as I bored other cast members with in Canada and on other tours, I’m a complete history buff, and can name virtually everyone who travelled on the Titanic. I’ve also been known to conduct personal Jack the Ripper tours for curious fellow cast members, who agree to suffer my heavily biased suspect theory providing there’s a Brick Lane curry at the end of it.