Faulty Towers the Dining Experience

Theatre, Comedy Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel , Bloomsbury Until Sunday December 16 2018
Faulty Towers the Dining Experience

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'Faulty Towers: the Dining Experience' returns for 2017. This review is from the 2012 run.

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.

Posted:

Venue name: Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel
Contact:
Address: 9-13
Bloomsbury Street
London
WC1B 3QD
Event website: http://torquaysuitetheatre.com/tickets_london.html
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £67.50-£79.50
    • Radisson Blu Bloomsbury Street Hotel £62.50-£74.50, child £39

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|22
2 people listening
tastemaker

DISCLAIMER - I'm not a fawlty towers fan, and I loved this experience.


If you go for the food you will be disappointed, food was basic. But that is not why you go this event.


The whole experience was completely immersive from start to finish. Whether they are talking directly to you or some shenanigans you are involved.


With such iconic characters, the actors do an excellent job embodying the humour and I came out with my cheeks hurting from laughing so much.


My recommendation is going in a group and not being afraid to get invovled.


tastemaker

Initially I was quite apprehensive about the whole immersive theatre experience, but as a huge fan of the original Fawlty Towers TV show I just had to go and see it. My brother who has never seen the show came with me and we both thought it was hilarious from the second we were 'rudely' ushered into the room by Manuel. The acting was brilliant. Manuel was particularly good. Despite being sat on a table which at times restricted our view, the interaction and attention given to our table by the actors made up for it. The only thing that lets this experience down slightly is the food and the service from the actual hotel staff. My vegetarian option was pretty bland but my brother said his chicken dish was yummy. Sybil even joked about the 'fine dinning experience' with one of the guests. Overall, a fun night out!

tastemaker

I grew up laughing at the dysfunctional operations of the renowned Faulty Towers, so when I had the chance to watch the terrible trio together, I jumped at the opportunity. The experience starts with Basil "ushering" the guests to their tables, which sets the tone of the evening. All actors were phenomenal with some real belly shaking funny moments. 


However, there are a couple of things that could be managed more effectively to make this experience great:


1. The dining room is far too big. If you are not sitting at one of the tables in the direct path of the performance, you completely miss out. I remember spotting a fair few guests yawning. 


2. While it is Faulty Towers, the standard of food should be higher, given the price-tag.


Overall, it was a fun night out, however I wish they did it in a more intimate setting so it felt more immersive and interactive.

Tastemaker

I had never seen or even heard of the original Fawlty Tower TV show before going to the dining experience but my boyfriend had and was really keen as he loved it. When we first arrived, I was shocked to find out that we had to pay for our drinks, and extremely expensively so (£5.50 for bottle of water!), after getting tickets worth a small fortune. The room where the whole show / meal happened was a standard and very underwhelming conference room. Now to the actual show: we both absolutely loved it! It was hilarious and extremely similar to the original. The actors were great – especially Manuel who was deliciously inappropriate. The food was a bit hit and miss with an average starters, what I found to be a really awful dessert (but then, lots of people seemed to like it so might have been just a me thing) and an absolutely delicious main of chicken and veg. For you lot vegetarians, vegans and other allergics, the company will try to accommodate your requirements but some information had gone missing for us when they brought my boyfriend a gorgonzola risotto when he had specified he hated gorgonzola. However, they took it back and made him a brand new plate so that was good of them. Besides, you wouldn’t expect the service to be irreproachable when going to this show so it was quite fitting. The last thing I would say is that, since there were a lot of tables and guests to attend to, there could be long stretches of time between ‘scenes’ at times while everyone is being served but it was not too bad.

Tastemaker

A solid 3.5 from me, the fawlty experience was good, but the food and service was terrible.

I love immersive theatre and I must say Manuel was fabulous, he really got the crowd going. The theatrical bit was brilliant, I would give that 5 stars.

But the setting itself, was just too many people. We

Were in a room with 100 other fans and places on table ten, we got a bad view of what was going on and the waiters didn’t take our plates away or forgot to serve us for each course. The waiter service was awful, no smiles and not friendly. I had to ask for water three times, before it actually came.

The event is popular, but I felt 100 people in the room was far too big as for our table it was impossible to see lots and there were two pillars in the ways

The experience is costly at £75 and the food was mediocre, starters was nice with a tasty potato soup and then it went down hill, the chicken was dry and the dessert cheesecake was soggy.

Overal it was fun to go with friends, but I’m not sure it’s wortg the money u less they did it on a smaller scale and get waiters who actually take an interest in their diners.

The price tag doesn’t come with drinks and a bottle of wine is £27, which is a bit hefty for a house wine.

Top tip

Drink before going

tastemaker

I was slightly expecting this to be a tad cringey but it was actually really well done. The 3 actors portray Basil, Sybil and Manuel and they all absolutely nail the characters they play. Manuel stands out for the slapstick and the fact that he gets all the best scenes but they all do an amazing job of imitating the Fawlty Towers stars precisely.

I laughed way more than I expected to but I knew what was coming as they literally act out the famous scenes from the tv show including my personal fave: Basil the rat.

You get a 3 course meal as that’s the point of this show so although it’s a tad pricey to attend you could argue that you’re getting dinner and a show in this deal.

The food was quite good but it’s purposefully 70s cuisine so it’s never going to blow your mind. Soup to start which I actually quite liked. Chicken, potato and veg for the main which was classic 70s but nothing outstanding and a blamange style creamy jelly dessert thing?! Yeah no one knew what it was but it tasted okay.

You have to pay for your own drinks and the bar at this lovely hotel is fairly pricey. 2 cokes were a tenner and they were small so if you’re hoping to go down the fizz route bring the credit card for def.

All in all we had a really good night and were sufficiently full when we left. Fun times

tastemaker

The only dining experience in London where every course is served with Basil! 


As a fan of the original show (I even have the DVD boxset), I was really looking forward to this Fawlty...sorry, Faulty Towers dining experience (the slight tweak to the spelling of the name may have something to do with the fact that the creator and star of the original series, John Cleese, wasn't  too impressed with this unofficial 'tribute') Alas, the whole thing left me a little cold (although many of the audience were guffawing with laughter so maybe it is just me). 


There are some funny moments, generally when props are involved like the fire extinguisher, flying bread rolls or Basil's pet 'hamster' (spelt R-A-T), but the interaction with our table was pretty limited. I also don't buy into the fact that the 3 course dinner they serve you is a 'prop' (they state this on the website) - for around £75 a ticket, you expect a certain degree of quality and the food just didn't pass muster - it was a homage to the original style of menu served in the tv series (soup, chicken and potatoes etc) but the service from the real hotel staff needs to improve (it isn't fun clearing your own plates, whilst your next course is already being served.) - they just can't get away with saying this level of service from hotel staff is all part of the experience.


If you are a massive fan of the original series and often attend cabaret nights, then this pastiche might be for you. But there are so many other better things you can see and eat in London for the same money (or much less) so choose wisely.

tastemaker

We had such a great night at Faulty Tower Dining Experience. The show and the laughter started when guests were called to be seated. I was expecting Basil to struggle reading my last name and he actually did, so he just said "the gentleman with the foreign name" hahaha.

Even though I was quite unfamiliar with the TV show (had seen only a couple of episodes I guess), I enjoyed this experience. In my opinion, Manuel was the best among the three. I didn't 5 stars only because there were a couple of racism jokes which I didn't find nice.

The food was nice too and it actually got me thinking how everything, even food, used to be simple back in those days :)

tastemaker

The evening started with the diners gathered in a small room, greeted by the 3 main characters of the show. We were then allocated tables by Basil. The 2.5 hours show was funny and good, the characters were interactive with the diners. However the whole experience could be further improved. Food quality was average - the soup was nice, the chicken main course tasted okay but the roast chicken itself was a little dry, and the lime/ lemon cheesecake was average. We did not expect culinary excellence as it was all about the show. Service was rather slow. We have noticed that our table and the next table by the window did not get much attention as we were a little bit behind the pillars. For all courses and table clearance after each course, our table was always the last one to be served. For example, when the waiters cleared other tables after the soup course, they did not come to our table. Only when they came with the main course led by Basil to our table, they realised that we still had our empty soup bowls. It was also difficult to get refill for tap water. As our table was at the corner, we also could not see some of the characters' act when they were at the other end of the room. There was a pillar restricting our view. Overall, 4 of us thought that the experience was rather overpriced. On top of the price, we had to buy our drinks at the bar as there was only 2 jugs of tap water served per table.


Great fun and surprisingly good food! Definitely an "fawlty tower experience".. Basil was fabulous, but Sybil and Manuel was good too. It's a bit pricy so there should have been one drink included, but that's my only criticism..

All in all a great night..!


We had been deliberating over going to this event for several months and then we were lucky enough to attend the show for free, courtesy of Time Out and I'm so glad we did because the show is superb. We had several people on our table from overseas who hadn't actually seen the show and I cannot see how they could possibly have appreciated how talented the cast were or understood what was going on, they may even have put the poor service down to the hotel itself haha. The Amba Hotel is an incredible building and the Torquay Suite in particular is a beautiful room, full of character.


If you go prepared for an evening of comedy and mayhem then that is what you get, you need a good crowd with a sense of humour, willing to interact with the proceedings. I thought the food was very good far better than I'd expected and piping hot. The dessert was delicious. If you go expecting first class service then you're missing the point. This is Faulty Towers after all! 

Tastemaker

I was lucky enough to attend this show for free with Time Out and I cannot describe how happy I am that I did win.  I tend to love a bit of audience interaction when available and this dinner show did not disappoint.  You really felt like you were in Faulty Towers and the actors were incredible. I have never seen such a flawless John Cleese.  In the beginning it did seem a bit cheesy and predictable but once you accepted it for what it was, it became really enjoyable. 


I was not one to expect fine dining, if anything I expected 70s style dishes so I was pleasantly surprised with the food offered.  The soup was quite nice but by no means a show stopper.  The chicken was lovely and the dessert was amazing! For the cost of the ticket I can understand people expecting more but when you are getting a show as well, you are getting a good deal.  


While you wouldn't want to go if you hadn't seen Faulty Towers, it would be enjoyable for all the family.  


The bar was quite expensive however and if you arrive hungry you might be waiting quite some time for your food with Manuel serving you! 

Tastemaker

The Faulty Towers Dining Experience follows the immersive dinner theatre concept, promising attendees both a meal and a show with their ticket. It has taken up residency at the Amba Hotel in Charing Cross until May 2016, allowing this site-specific show to be staged in the apt environment of a hotel with a spacious bar and dining room.


Understandably, the idea of interactive theatre immediately puts some people on edge. This show does entail participation from the audience, but it will surprise you how effortlessly the actors beguile you into engaging with them. Guests are directed to Basil’s Bar upon arrival, where they can order a drink as Basil, Sybil and Manuel quietly slip into the crowd. Chaos quickly ensues: names are called out and guests are assigned to group tables in the dining room. Once seated, there is ample opportunity for introductions and anxious inspection of the surroundings. 


Once everyone is seated, the real show kicks off- napkins are tucked in despite protest, garnishes fly across tables and your selection of cutlery will baffle you. You might end up caught in the flurry of a tray of discarded peanuts. It’s just that type of show.


But you won’t end up with your meal in your lap- the food is perfectly palatable, but generic catering fare. You’re not paying for experimental cuisine, after all. We had a carrot/butternut squash soup to start, chicken breast with mashed potato and steamed vegetables for a main and a raspberry chocolate mousse for desert. Coffee was also served. The courses are generally timed in between the scripted interaction between the characters, but there was little time where the actors were not circulating around the tables.


The talent is spot-on, especially Basil, who has his trademark Cleese mania down pact. They are energetic and the performance spirals into the depths of increasing absurdity as the night goes on- they successfully capture the essence of the television show, but even the unacquainted guests will be entertained. The comedy is mostly situational and there are enough visual gags to keep all ages entertained. You might not realise how much you’re enjoying yourself until you leave- I noticed that my face was strained from laughing!


This show was a riotous night out- who can complain when you get dinner and a bit of theatre? The audience represented all ages, so we found it easy to enjoy ourselves with good company on our table. The show is fluid and while about one third was scripted, the actors tailored their performances to the audience on the night- it was very memorable and side-splittingly funny, so make sure not to miss it.


Just don’t complain about the service, request water for the table or get up to go to the toilet or else you might end up with the chef’s false teeth in your soup. You’ve been warned.  


Tastemaker

What a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting evening! We were lucky enough to win tickets to this through Time Out and had a fabulous time. I don't think we would normally have booked tickets to this as we aren't too keen on "audience participation" events but having been we would definitely recommend it.

The actors are fantastic, never letting their character slip throughout the evening and the entertainment is pretty much non stop action. Some good jokes and tricks too. Star of the show has to be Manuel who is absolutely brilliant, we actually thought he could pass as the real thing!

Don't really know why there are so many negative reviews about the food. We thought the soup was fine, the chicken was lovely and the dessert was very extravagant! Maybe we have poor taste but it was far better than we expected! Just don't ask for 2 bread rolls!!

Only negative is that the bar is very expensive and we waited quite a long time for our drinks. Otherwise we would have given it a 5 star review!

tastemaker

Went with a large family gathering to celebrate birthday.  Was ready to be entertained so disappointed that the actors seemed to be going through the motions and just weren't "feeling" their roles, despite some of the stunts being quite clever. The food was terrible.  Quite disappointing and poor value for money. 


I should like to come to the F.T Dining experience on Sunday 30th June at 6pm as a surprise for my husband's 66th birthday. Have you got availability please and what will be the cost for two over 60 year olds (my husband and myself?) a husband and wife in their 40s; and two daughters of eleven years old? My mobile number is 07711981614? Please remember this is a surprise!! Many thanks. Glenda Powell


visited london to see our daughter ,while we were there booked 4 tickets for a tuesday night show A fantastic show from start to finish. We were on a table with other diners from abroad but it made for a great night as they did not know what to expect .The players were superb the sketches very funny. Have booked to see them at The Hostess Restaurant when they come to Mansfield in Oct . Geoff


Food = Average Experience = Incredible It really is an outstanding, immersive, hilarious show. Best night out in London right now.


Really loved all the actors but the food was really cheap (like the real fawlty towers I guess). Leek and potato soup followed by a small chicken breast with mash that required a knife and fork. Pudding was a floppy mousse cake masquerading as a cheesecake. But would Basil have had the front to charge £30.00 for a bottle of sulphate rich Nobilo Sauvignon blanc (you can get six bottles at Tesco for the same price, that's a ridiculous mark-up). Christmas table decor would have been a really nice touch too..


Utterly brilliant. The service is appalling, the staff rude and incompetent as you would expect. The food is basic but fine (drinks are extortionate) and is really incidental to the show, which is superbly acted; it's difficult to tell the cast from the originals. After the show, had a chat with 'Basil' who said it's about 60% improvised on the night, which keeps things fresh. It worked well and we were of course delighted to see some goose-stepping and anti-German ranting, a loose rat and Manuel being beaten up. Absolutely hilarious and a top night out (unless you're German)!