One quick scan of the room told me I was the youngest one there - and no, this time it’s not a brag.
I was clearly the only one who didn’t have a full appreciation for Fawlty Towers at the bar and it was going to be glaringly obvious within a matter of moments.
Sure, I’d seen it a few times, John Cleese’s rages and Andrew Sach’s puzzled expressions.
It was on in the background, accompanied by my parents roaring laughter.
But it wasn’t my go to choice of comedy (I’m generation Friends, of course).
Yet here I was in Covent Garden’s 4* Kingsway Hotel, the setting of London’s Faulty Towers Dining Experience, waiting with my drink on a Saturday evening for something out of the ordinary to happen, with father Joshi in tow.
Fast forward to the Sunday morning and I was curled up on the sofa watching back to back episodes of the show.
How exactly does that happen?
Well, I’ll tell you how.
It’s the result of a fantastic, pacey, laughing-so-much-I-can’t-breathe performance from three actors.
Now in its fourth year, the two hour show has had audiences in fits of laughter since its inception as a loving tribute to the much adored BBC sitcom.
Here’s 8 things the Faulty Towers Dining Experience did which easily got them five stars from getwestlondon .
1. The character likenesses are incredible
They were startlingly like the characters themselves. People gawped at Sybil as she drawled over the male diners and laughed her honking laugh because it could have been her.
Close up was no different, Manuel and Basil perfected every little mannerism, from his quivering moustache to the expressions.
And the 70’s attire was identical to the familiar gear worn by the three.
2. It was a classier version of immersive theatre
Of course, where’s the fun without the slapstick comedy that is loved so much from the series.
Manuel waited on tables (stood in the middle of them, waiting, “what, you said wait”.
He did the butter whilst Basil did the bread (“no, not headBUTT the woman, BUTTER”).
There was nowhere that was off limits, under the table, on them, weaving in and out of them.
They really did work the entire room and created a sense of theatre intimacy despite there being a large crowd to entertain.
Every table, every person, was made to engage. Catching Manuel’s bread throwing, being tucked into your seat, wooed by Sybil, being at the receiving end of Basil’s tetchy and, before long, explosive moods.
But it was also classy, what with being in a four star hotel.
3. The hotel made a brilliant setting for a comedy dining experience
Situated in the bar and restaurant section of the beautiful Kingsway Hall hotel in Covent Garden, all aspects of the hotel were used as part of their antics.
Manuel lost his rat and was chased by Basil up the stairs, through the hotel lobby and back into our room.
They were in and out of the kitchen and when they weren’t doing that, they were marching the "strange German", an audience member, who was dining out of the restaurant.
4. Whether you know the programme well or not is irrelevant
From the minute they appeared, the entire crowd was laughing.
Of course some famous lines - "I know nothing" - were cheered and clapped at, but it was how they made you feel which made it such fantastic entertainment.
5. The use of language is both simple but brilliant
Just one instruction from Basil becomes a string of mishaps for Manuel and it's important to note that they don't take any scenes from the series themselves, it's all their own work.
6. You have an appreciation for live performances
Every performance is different. And they are so energetic, it’s exhausting watching Basil scream until he’s red in the face, spitting furiously after everything goes wrong.
7. There’s a three course meal involved
Something you almost forget about because the performance is so brilliant.
But you do get fed - and that’s not without comedy too.
Sybil tells us "vegetarianism is curable" and she hopes we get better soon.
Meanwhile, Manuel gives us a plate of roughly chopped celery as a main, quickly swapped by staff members for a stuffed pepper with rice and pesto.
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is showing at Kingsway Hall Hotel and Amba Hotel Charing Cross. All tickets include a 3-course meal and 2-hour immersive show and are priced between £55-69.
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