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Ever wondered what it would be like to dine at Fawlty Towers? Well you can, at The President Hotel in London, where you can spend the evening with the astonishingly accurate Basil, his wife Sybil and the English-mangling Spanish waiter Manuel.

Inspired by the great 1970s British comedy series, the evening begins with drink orders and Basil seating guests (the audience) at their assigned tables while asking Manuel to collect empty glasses. The diligent to a fault waiter immediately starts taking prescription glasses off the guests’ faces. Now you know for sure that you are at Fawlty Towers.

Expect the unexpected!

Prepare yourself (as much as you can) for 2 hrs of constant smiles and laughter with a three course meal that includes an interactive theatre performance. Most of the show is improvised so the storyline is different every time.

All we can say is that it’s shocking, silly and clever from the off, and Basil, Sybil and Manuel, will fawn over, insult and ignore the diners, while squabbling with each other and making ad libbing into an art form. Sadly Polly, played on TV by Connie Booth isn’t part of the cast.

Theatrical adaptation of the sitcom

The performance offers the perfect combination of audience participation and classic scenes from the series as well as brilliant improvisations. Even my friend, who had never watched Fawlty Towers was giggling, and covering her mouth in shock at some of the antics of the trio.

At the table, butter will be thrown at you and if you ask for more salt, you will get a bundle of salt in paper (salt and pepper). The vegetarian diner will be served with row vegetables and I found the chef’s false teeth in my soup!

Meanwhile, Basil and Manuel do a lot of head-slamming, falling over and crockery-smashing. You never know, they might even find a rat. God forbid if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary – you will get a special gift from Sybil.

Don’t mention the war!

You may also find Emanuel standing on the table and doing a matador impression. Meanwhile, Sybil, amid ear-piercing shouts of “Ba-sil!” will tells you that she brought her shoes back from Spain – and got a much better bargain than Basil, who brought back the hapless waiter.

Basil himself will attempt to place a secret bet on a race and will constantly pus his anger and frustration on a language-challenged waiter culminating with a hilarious scene with fire extinguisher and of course The Germans. Just don’t mention the war!

Two hours of non-stop laughter

Written by John Cleese and Connie Booth, Fawlty Towers was originally broadcast on BBC Two in 1975 and 1979. In 2000 the sitcom was voted the best British TV programme of all time in a British Film Institute poll.

The show could never be made now for modern audiences so it’s refreshing to see the original 1970s British comedy survive cancel culture, and still make people of different generations laugh together. Proof that a good sense of humour is timeless.

We believe that part of the show’s timeless appeal is its use of classic farce, and that’s the kind of humour that transcends and stays evergreen. Some of our favourite gags and techniques from the sitcom are still there, because they’re still just as hilarious as they were back then.

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience (no that’s not a typo, it’s called Faulty Towers for copyright reasons) is located at the President Hotel, 56 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DP. Tickets and more information can be found here.


Image credits: © Interactive Theatre