Fawlty Towers Dining Experience

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The Faulty Towers Dining Experience (note the spelling!). This was a touring production at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and one of those evenings when you never quite know what to expect! The clue is in the title, of course – an ‘experience’ rather than just a performance. Well, it was certainly different. The ticket price was £36 to include a three course meal, although I believe the price is different at each location, so was very good value. Waiting in ‘reception’ beforehand, there was an air of excitement closely followed by trepidation. However, this was alleviated to some extent as we all stood about clutching bottles of wine, a move recommended by bar staff. “You won’t want to get up and go to the bar during the performance, believe me!” Manuel appeared, bumbling around offering nuts on a silver tray then rapidly moving away before you had a chance to grab a salted morsel. Sybil appeared, instantly changing from smiling hostess to fierce harridan to summon Basil with the table plan. This was a clever device as you provide your name when booking tickets and a seating plan is vital to accommodate everyone on tables for 8 guests. There were lots of improvised comments as he called us and told us where to go. For example, he asked us whether we were ‘jeans’ or ‘janes’, we replied it doesn’t matter, and as we went through to the dining room he said “it comes to something when you can’t even pronounce your own name!” Basically, a typical scenario from the TV series – tables set out incorrectly, chairs missing, bread rolls thrown from a distance. They were excellent actors, plus the long-suffering waiting staff, presenting perfect characterisation including the funny walk of John Cleese. Most entertaining and a very different theatrical experience that is highly recommended.

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