From the second Basil Faulty noticed the rips in my jeans I could sense he wasn’t happy with me. My roommate and I were standing near the bar, awaiting the grand entrance for our first glimpse of Faulty Towers The Dining Experience.
We didn’t really know what to expect – it was our second week living in London after leaving the States to study abroad and neither of us had sat down and watched the original BBC classic.
After I became the new intern with Interactive Theatre International, the production company which organises the show, they sent me over to see what all of the buzz was about.
Back to the moment: Basil stared in disbelief, inquiring what kind of damage could turn the perfectly acceptable denim into some sort of twisted, tattered fashion statement.
In trying to play it off, of course the easiest way was to attest that I had been attacked by a bear.
“A bear. In LONDON?”
It’s not a bad point. From then on, mine and my roommate’s American status at the Faultys’ hotel tied us to an interesting retrospective in which to witness Basil, Sybil, and Manuel try to serve us dinner.
*Try* is the key word here… It becomes increasingly difficult for this to happen as the night goes on! Hilarity ensues as the trio runs around with their heads spinning into unadulterated madness.
Our public acknowledgement that we hadn’t yet seen the attributed TV series became a hotly discussed topic among the guests at our table.
But for us it created a feeling of authenticity as if we were truly guests at the original Faulty location.
Like every guest cameo in the series, we were just trying to get through the night by dodging flying bread rolls, avoiding fire drills and trying to teach Manuel English.
It felt as though we had travelled through time and space to find the place where tweed suits were at the height of fashion and priceless temper-tantrums by hotel owners were as roaring as ever. Quite the masterpiece to ponder over our chicken dinner!
Truly immersed in the throes of the interactive performance, we realised this was more than just your run-of-the-mill theatre show. Faulty Towers transported us to another dimension where we were a part of the action.
As I was only days into living in the UK, this was a more lively welcome than I had expected. It was certainly filled with enough hysterics to last me until pulling up the BBC series on Netflix later that night. A new fan of the original show, I get it now.
Not only do I get the references, but the characters and their motivations are staunchly clearer as you get to see them right in front of your eyes. It is nothing short of theatre at its core – with a side of roast veggies.
Now booking in London’s West End until end September!
Six performances a week, plus some Wednesdays:
– dinners Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday at 7:30pm; doors open 7:00pm.
– dinner Sunday at 6:30pm; doors open 6:00pm.
– lunch Saturday-Sunday at 1:30pm; doors open 1:00pm.
Radisson Blu Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel, 9-13 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QD
(nearest tube Tottenham Court Road or Holborn)
More info and tickets: www.faultytowersdining.com