PEr FYI

July 3, 2015

Faulty Towers Dining Experience, London…a thin imitation which is only intermittently funny

For the uninitiated, Fawlty Towers, a cult classic BBC sitcom which ran for 12 memorable episodes is one of the funniest programmes of all time, frequently topping polls of viewers and industry insiders.

Faulty Towers Dining Experience – with a subtle spelling difference, presumably to avoid legal confusion – is only intermittently funny, serving up a thin imitation. That becomes obvious in the aimless pre-show, when people-hating hotel owner Basil and his “dragon” wife, Sybil merely argue bitterly, with limited English-speaking immigrant Spanish waiter Manuel. Once seated, our group of five was seated with a family of five on a table. The show is touted as an “immersive” experience, and it doesn’t get much more immersive than having the actors move round the tables, often serving you, frequently interrupting you, and occasionally – yes, this happened – climbing up on your table and performing matador impressions. Part of the ‘show’ is scripted so that means the actors get free reign to ad lib and directly engage with guests as well but the cast struggle in their improvisation to evoke the quality of the original. 

The 3-course 70s-inspired meal is fairly underwhelming; more cafeteria than restaurant, so don’t expect fine food or you’ll come away disappointed.

If, and only if you are, like-minded, hard-core Fawlty fans, go, but whatever you do, don’t mention the war. And remember to check your soup before you taste it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

fawlty towers london

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