Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is a cabaret style love letter to the classic show that plonks you right in the middle of the cyclone that is a dinner service led by the Fawltys.
The theatre show has been running internationally for almost 20 years, and this iteration is part of the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. If you attempt to Google the show one of the top results is an article about John Cleese considering suing the creators of The Dining Experience, but, legal woes aside, the show is a roaring success. Well loved characters brought to life with incredible vigour, and it is clear that the actors are enjoying themselves as much as the audience.
The show begins with the actors directing you to your table, with the nonchalance and disastrous effect that one has come to expect from these characters. You’re right in the middle of the scene, resulting in an incredibly immersive experience. It’s a 3D multi-sensory experience you won’t find anywhere else – not until Virtual Reality develops a bit at least. The crowd, or fellow diners, are an important part of the show, providing humorous quips and resulting in increasingly absurd situations for the actors to improv. The night is imbued with moments of genuine fear as you worry about whether they are actually going to knock your pinot grigio off the table in the heat of the moment.
Real attention to detail has gone into crafting the show, from the script, the acting and the staging – my table was set with two forks instead of a knife, probably thanks to Manuel.
The food isn’t half bad either – reminiscent of your high school formal dinner: not too exciting, a bit bland, but well prepared and generous serving sizes. You won’t feel hungry at the end, but that might depend on how many bread rolls you’re able to catch, seeing as Manuel will literally throw them at you.
It’s an hilarious delight from start to finish, and somewhat of a relief when the actors exit the scene and you can eat your dessert without fear of impending disaster. For fans of Fawlty Towers you cannot go wrong with this show. It’s a chance to interact with your favourite characters and watch their familiar disastrous antics unfold right before you, and behind you, and maybe even on top of your table.