Farty Towels; Watery Fowls; Flowery Twats; the misspelling of Fawlty Towers's sign was a marvellous running gag. It was never spelt with a 'u', though, as it is in 'Faulty Towers the Dining Experience'. But despite being an unofficial tribute to John Cleese's legendary '70s sitcom, this interactive dinner-show – created by Australian company Interactive Theatre International –?captures the programme's spirit surprisingly well.
Having ordered our drinks at the pricey bar, Basil Faulty (with a 'u', remember) calls each dining group to be seated. My scruffy clothes didn't go down well with the neurotic host. 'Haven't you heard of a shirt and tie?' he asked, disgusted, before directing us to table seven.
Basil, Sybil and Manuel (Polly's 'got the night off', we're told) act as waiting staff, wandering between tables, interacting with guests, and performing longer set-pieces between courses which loosely recreate classic scenes from the series – pet rat, fire drill, goose-stepping etc. The trio are convincing impersonators, expertly nailing Cleese, Scales and Sachs's voices and mannerisms, and mingle seamlessly with the diners, making sure to involve each guest but never humiliate them.
What's disappointing is the lack of a through-line. The skits are hardly linked, meaning the evening doesn't build to much of a conclusion. The food, too, isn't exactly haute cuisine. The soup was tasty, but the chicken and vegetables main course was bland and cheap. But I guess that's faithful to the Towers 'experience'. Despite its flaws, this tribute show is exactly what it sets out to be; a good, solid, fun night out for fans of the sitcom. Just don't ask for more rolls; Manuel looked dizzy enough after one.