Edinburgh Fringe 2019
“Officially the world’s longest-running and most sought-after tribute to the BBC’s iconic sitcom – it’s back! Basil’s still rude, Manuel’s still confused, and Sybil’s still cracking the whip… but because the show’s highly interactive and 70% improvised, it’s never the same twice! Be served non-stop laughs and a three-course meal in this internationally acclaimed hit.”
I first saw this piece of interactive theatre about ten years ago it Brighton Fringe. I hadn’t experienced anything quite like it before and it was a hugely impressive combination of dinner theatre and a chance to revisit a series (well there were two made) that I had loved and watched countless times.
You get a three course meal with coffee. I mentioned I am allergic to tomatoes and Basil brought we a bowl of water and made sure everyone knew! I didn’t mind. The characters move about and among us, playing out the same hilarious dynamics from the TV original. It’s satisfying impersonation with the added immersive qualities of actually being there.
There are all the elements of the cult series in this tribute show. The three performers (Basil, Sybil and Manuel) have all nailed the movements, the gestures, the facial expressions near perfectly. The vocal impersonations were less on the money, but enough for us all to suspend our disbelief. The interaction between the trio and their banter with us makes for an enjoyable fringe theatre recipe.
It was a big audience sitting around, wedding-style, large round tables and, as we are serviced our dinner courses, we are also served comedy vignettes, banter and much loved morsels of our favourite genius comedy creation.
Interactive Theatre International know what they are doing and are experts in this format of theatre. The food was very good, the comedy of a high quality. There was plenty of laughter and a standing ovation at the end. I do think the sheer numbers in the audience occasionally meant our table struggled to see what comedy banter was going on between punters and performers on the other side of the large room. It felt more intimate when I first saw it in Brighton. Successful things grow, but they can also begin to stretch too.
Overall, if you are a fan of the original series, Fawlty Towers, then this dining experience show will more than please you. It’s a very good couple of hours and you’ll leave feeling satisfied in your belly and your need for a good laugh.