The much loved trio of Basil, Sybil and Manuel are headed for the Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester for a disaster-class in hotel management.
And you’re invited to take part in the chaos.
The Faulty Towers Dining Experience opens on 24th of February and runs all the way through until March 12th.
Come on down for a three course meal delivered in true faulty style by Basil, Manuel and Sybil.
I Love Manchester spoke to Clare Buckingham who plays Sybil, and Benedict Holme, who will be playing Basil Fawlty.
What can we expect from the evening?
Sybil (Claire Buckingham): Well the cast have taken over the hotel for the evening, so imagine yourself transported back to Fawlty Towers in the 1970s. Expect the usual clumsiness from Basil, the ineptness from Manuel, and Sybil cracking the whip trying to keep the hapless pair in order.
It’s great food, great atmosphere and is a bit different from your usual evening out.
You’re basically in a living episode of Fawlty Towers, with a three course meal and the show unfolds around you. And mayhem ensues, obviously.
Basil (Benedict Holme): It is all set as though you’re in the Fawlty Towers restaurant, as you’ve seen from the TV series.
A lot of the best action takes place in the dining room – the three main leads Basil, Sybil and Manuel engaging in their nonsense as diners try and enjoy their meals.
A lot of the comedy derives from the same sources as the TV show, the chaos from all the characters in their various guises. It’s beautiful.
Looking from the outside in, It looks like an incredibly fun production to be part of. Is that true?
Sybil: I think one of the best things about the show is you never really know what’s going to happen.
It completely depends on what energy the audience brings and the combination of actors, but it’s always fun to do. A bit like the TV series, It’s just an absolute shambles from start to finish with lots of fun and frolics along the way.
Even if you’ve not seen the TV series, you’ll love the dining experience.
We sort of go with the flow, interacting with the crowd which makes every night different and keeps things fresh.
Basil: Well I’ve been Basil for nearly ten years!
I have to say, I’ve loved every moment being in the Faulty swing of things.
We always get a great response in Manchester, so it’s a great pleasure to be up there at the Hotel Brooklyn. It’s always great fun to play Basil, because you can be legitimately rude to people.
By virtue of the fact it’s an interactive and immersive show that relies on a lot of interaction with the audience, every night is different. We don’t just trot out the classic lines, you get something new every-time.
You can make it about the people, their dress, where they are from which all adds to fun. About 70% of the show is off the cuff and improvised – there’s a loose arc but we like to keep it loose and engage in off the cuff shenanigans.
Are there any challenges in bringing the script to life in a live performance?
Sybil: I think they go hand in hand. The characters are big, so there’s plenty to play around with. Everyone knows the characters so people are super excited to meet them – so it’s very natural. They run a hotel, admittedly badly, but we’re in a hotel and you just enjoy the ride. We do a lot of the stuff ad hoc and improvised, so it depends on the audience – we riff off random interactions, and each other, which keeps things fresh and always different. You honestly never know what’s going to happen.
Basil: There are a few bits we can’t do in a dining room. We’d love to thrash a vicious car obviously, but we can’t. We don’t want to quote the show verbatim, we want to put it in our own words. It’s very much recreating the magic of the original with our own bits of flair.
Who in the show is most like their character?
Sybil: I think maybe I’ve got a bit of Sybil in me! It’s not that I’m bossy.. It’s just, people listen to me. haha. To be fair, Benedict is a lot like Basil too. I guess we’ve grown into the characters but I don’t think you could live your life as those two – you’d end up having a breakdown!! I think we’ve all got a bit of Basil and Sybil in us somewhere..
Basil: Well I think that’s why I got the job to be honest! I think we’ve all got a bit of Basil in us. I try to be as faithful as the original character but at the same time try and make it our own. There are some nice subtle differences.
How would you encourage someone who hasn’t seen Fawlty Towers to come and see the show?
Sybil: It’s just a fun and different night out. You’re not just going to the theatre or dinner, you’re getting all that in one and the chaos of the Faulty Towers experience. Fun, silly, enjoyable with some heartfelt moments thrown in too. It’s a bit of everything in one night and you’re going to have a great time with lots of laugh, so just come down and have a good time!
Basil: What I’ve experienced is a lot of people who come along actually haven’t seen the original TV show. But they enjoy it nonetheless. You’d have thought some one unenlightened by a random bloke in a tweed jacket suddenly being rude to you!
Actually, you find whether they have seen it or not they have a positive and enjoyable experience so I’ve found it makes no difference to the enjoyment level. But having said that, I’d encourage you to watch a few episodes before you come down just so you can enjoy it as much as possible and you know what you’re getting into. It’s very rare we get people affronted or offended, so that’s always a relief. Always best to know what you’re letting yourself in for though i’d say? haha.
Tickets start are £65 for adults and include a three course meal. Children’s tickets are £35.