Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, The Thistle Hotel, various dates until May 27, call 01273 917272 (From The Argus)
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Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, The Thistle Hotel, various dates until May 27, call 01273 917272
If you wander into the Thistle Hotel before lunch or supper over the next fortnight without reading the Brighton Fringe programme, you will be surprised to find Basil Fawlty shouting at Manuel for not circulating nuts. And look, there’s Sybil, tip-tupping along with her perm and blue eyeshadow, dead fish in hand to wallop her hapless husband.
Back by popular demand, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience returns to the Festival, a unique blend of participative drama in which the audience is the show and the show is the audience. John Cleese and Andrew Sachs’ original nightmare hotel dining room is perfectly recreated by a facsimile cast – but this is real. You are a guest and there might be a rat under your chair. There is certainly a fire-extinguisher involved, and some warm female underwear which lands up on Cleese – or his double’s – head. All the best and most familiar gags from the celebrated television series are here, from silly walks and horse bets to fractured English and the Germans. Manuel is an acrobat as well as an actor, Basil Fawlty is much more than an impersonator, and Sybil – well, Sybil manages to be even more smarmily horrible in the flesh than Prunella Scales ever managed to be.
What is certainly different is the excellent accompanying dinner of soup, supreme of chicken with fresh vegetables, and chocolate tart. The brave guests on the opening night played up perfectly, took every insult with phlegmatic good humour, owned up to more birthdays than could have been likely, barracked, teased and collapsed in helpless giggles. Slapstick comedy and a slap-up dinner. Wonderful.