Australia’s leading international student news website

Comedy fest: Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Victoria Brown

Mon Apr 02 2012

Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Faulty Towers

IT’LL be the funniest dining experience you’ll ever have, as Faulty Towers The Dining Experience does away with the stage and serves up hearty laughs and a three-course meal instead.

Being entertained and served by a trio of talented actors, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience was by far the funniest dining experience I have ever had. Based on the popular British sitcom of Fawlty Towers (1975-1979), the famous characters come back to life in an incredible impersonation by the actors – Michael Davoren as Basil, Amanda Mackay as Sybil, and Andy Foreman as Manuel – of Interactive Theatre International.

The “restaurant” runs like a well-oiled machine – the show has been making its rounds around the world since 1997, and is back for the fifth time at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The impersonation of the characters were spot-on, I really felt as though I was in the same room as the manic owner Basil Fawlty, along with his bossy wife Sybil, and the Spaniard waiter Manuel with a poor grasp of the English language.  Together, they create chaos in the quaint Aegean Restaurant which is suitably decorated in a 1970’s fashion, with the dated telephone, typewriter, radio, and magazines.

The actors come into character as soon as they enter the room a few minutes before the performance starts. As they wait for the rest of the guests to arrive, you can see Basil on his telephone or on his typewriter, Sybil running about getting things ready, and Manuel awkwardly waiting on guests. Guests are told to gather in the waiting area, where Manuel is serving nuts, until Basil comes up to call your name with your table number.

Once seated, be prepared for the unexpected as this is definitely not your typical restaurant dinner. Instead, you will be served your meal while drama unfolds before your very eyes. Expect to hear lots of yelling at Manuel’s antics and mishaps, bickering among Basil and Sybil, some dancing, running around, and some climbing on tables.

In an interactive performance with the audience, the actors pull off some hilarious improvisation (only a third of the show is scripted); with the characters checking up on your table, chatting with you for a bit, and of course them poking fun at some of the guests at the restaurant. It was also a delight to recognise some of the references to the popular series, such as the renowned ‘Goose Step’ in The Germans episode.

The food served was delightful, although there was a small accident by the chef when soup was being served (as part of the performance). The waiters at the restaurant blended in with the performance and served everyone promptly.

All in all, it was a fantastic performance and definitely a dining experience I would never forget. I would highly recommend this 5-star performance to everyone, especially fans of the sitcom, you would not be disappointed.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is playing from now to April 22 everyday except Mondays at The Aegean Restaurant, 19 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Tickets range from $69 to $95 and is inclusive of a 3-course dinner. To book, or for more details, visitMelbourne International Comedy Festival’s website.