Fringe Review: Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

FIFTY+SA Film and Book Reviewer, Dave Bradley, shares his thoughts on Interactive Theatre International’s Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience.

WORDS: Dave Bradley

Always a Fringe favourite, Interactive Theatre International’s Faulty [sic] Towers returns with a cool new cast and even more cringing fun.

After gathering at the Terrace Hotel bar, Basil (Jamie Burgess), Sybil (Eilannin Harris-Black) and the hapless Manuel (Sean Harrison) appeared to usher the large crowd into the dining room in the most comically stressful way imaginable. Burgess’ Basil is formidably funny, but he’s matched by Harris-Black’s retro-coiffed Sybil, while Harrison’s Manuel is at times left alone to throw bread rolls to (and at) guests, dance a rather perilous flamenco on a table and, of course, eventually introduce us all to his “Siberian Hamster”.

But that latter trick comes after all the convoluted shenanigans involved in getting the actual three-course meal (pumpkin soup, chicken and couscous, and a delicious dessert when I was there) onto the tables. And, of course, individual punters are singled out and subjected to some fabulous humiliation: my offsider found something ghastly in her soup (all part of the show!), and Manuel crept up behind me to polish my head at length with a napkin, and then left me with the sweaty thing.

A few basic set-ups are taken straight from the BBC TV series Fawlty (of course) Towers: there’s all the awfully amusing stuff about Basil trying to get Manuel to put a bet on a horse, while a late-on series of birthday singalongs leads to Sybil wailing and running from the room. And while Basil is very pleased indeed about this, he nevertheless eventually tells everyone off anyway. Ouch!

All in all, it was a sometimes scarily entertaining night out, and this particular performance ended with a non-Basil Burgess (in civvies) returning to shake hands, throw in a few hugs, and offer an apology or two. Lovely.

And don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it!!!

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

until 12 March 2023

The Terrace Hotel Adelaide

adelaidefringe.com.au

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