Adelaide Fringe 2013
The Old Adelaide Inn in North Adelaide springs to life this Fringe Festival, thanks to the marvellous team from The Faulty Towers Dining Experience. It is great to see Fringe goers able to break away from the ‘East End’ and delight themselves in some good ol’ fashion raucous madness elsewhere! But if you’re looking for a show where you can sit down and enjoy a relaxing meal with your guests, then perhaps this isn’t the show for you. The term ‘dining experience’ is literally stretched to its max here with farcical results!
You are more the punter than the audience member when you try your luck in leaving your dining experience in the faithful hands of Basil, Manuel and Sybil. The comic trio staring Kevin Whittle (Basil), Geoffrey Reczek (Manuel) and Amanda McKay (Sybil) do well to keep you guessing when your meal is coming or more concerning, what might be in it!
As punters linger downstairs in the foyer we are introduced “gently” into the madness that’s expected to unfold later. Basil yelling and Manuel, Sybil yelling at Basil and poor Manuel chaotic and confused. The overly disgruntled Basil takes care of formalities via a roll call and seat allocation, upstairs, Sybil is there to clarify the night’s proceedings and Manuel is attempting to get the bread and butter out on the tables.
There is a lot of confusion in the first few moments of the event and with some seats tucked to the side; it is hard for some punters to see all of the action. The comic scenes interjected in the earlier part of the show walk a fine line between keeping the guests entertained and frustrated their meals are not coming out in a timely fashion. At times, the team tipped the scales in the wrong direction, leaving guests to sit and watch their partners eat their meal while they were left waiting.
However, the second half seems to run much more smoothly and the gags flow non-stop. Manuel’s pet hamster goes missing causing much laughter, especially for the table of punters who got an intimate experience of Manuel ducking and weaving beneath them. Other punters were pulled from their seats during a mad fire drill, some were sat on, some measured and others served a few items not appearing on the menu.
The cast hails from “Interactive Theatre International” and with a name like that, it is easy to work out that your night will surely be an experience to remember! Interactive it is, quiet it is not! Certainly a pleasure if you like the unexpected!
The dynamic trio was great! McKay’s depiction as Sybil was lovely and very well played! Her adaptation of Sybil in both body and voice communicated serious business when yelling the famous “Bas…il,” …like nails on a chalkboard!
Reczek as Manuel was energetic throughout. Using his quick pace and size to offer much hilarity to the show. Manuel’s language barrier also offered a number of witty jokes that Reczek was quick to respond to and carry forward.
Whittle however stole the show, portraying Basil exceptionally well. In particular, his ability to take on the physicality, gestures and mannerisms of Basil allowed us to watch on with pure amusement. Playing the frazzled and irritated boss frightful of his wife, Whittle’s was great to watch!
Despite the few glitches at the start, The Faulty Towers Dining Experience brings the essence of the Adelaide Fringe Festival to life! Wholesome fun that the whole family can enjoy! You don’t have to be a fan of the show but it might be worth watching a few episodes to get you familiar with the running jokes and theme of the event. And for those who miss out on meals while being caught in the action, don’t worry – there are a number of real waiters and bar staff there to ensure meals and drinks arrive without too much trouble.
A great night out if you’re after solid laughs in a lovely atmosphere!