[amazon template=add to cart&asin=B002LFPAUC]
Sometimes, you just need to let things sit with you in order to be able to truly appreciate what is ultimately in front of you. Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is a unique theatrical event that is genuinely difficult to put a star rating on as I have never experience anything like it and the smile had to be surgically removed from my face.
Arriving at the O’Keefe Lounge in the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts here in downtown Toronto, I quite literally had no idea what to expect . I joined the crowd of revelers with my mother (Yes, I’m a good boy, I took my mum) who basically raised me on these classic episodes that we ran ragged on a VHS tape that was no doubt onion skin thin before it hit the end of its rope.
We subsequently checked in for our ‘dinner’ reservation, and were immediately told to check in at the VIP section for our complementary TV shirt and had a chance to order a drink at the bar and sample some appetizers before our main course. As people trickled in and were divided up into their sections I could see the gleeful grin on our bartenders face as he knew that none of us had any idea what to expect.
When we all had a drink in our hand and appetizers making the rounds, that’s when the show began. Benedict Holme in the role of Basil bounded up the stairs to immediately kiss up and talk to the VIP’s. Capturing the manic energy of John Cleese he played Basil Faulty to an absolute tee in this mostly improvised show. If he wasn’t hurling insults one minute, he was loving you the next. Playing off the crowd at every turn it was a hoot to watch as he brought bits from the show into his improvised banter with the guests who were getting ready for dinner. Both Imogen Miller as Sybill and Leigh Kelly as Manuel were soon to follow and it was quickly clear.
We had just walked into an episode of Faulty Towers…
As we went down to dinner the cast sized everyone up and when we ended up sitting in the dead centre of the room I knew we were going to be smack dab in the middle of the show. In between courses they ran through some pre determined bits and gave us some fan favorites, interacting with various members of the crowd. I even had to give Manuel a cuddle after Basil made him get rid of his hamster, and while it would have been nice to have a Polly or even a Major at the bar to take part in the proceedings, I can’t speak highly enough about the presentation or the sharp wit of the actors who are serving food, interacting with patrons and still have to get the greatest hits from the show into the 2hr & 30 min run time of the dinner seating.
Ultimately I will say this, if you are a fan of the original show your enjoyment of this evening will actually be worth the high ticket price of the show. You are literally at dinner at Faulty Towers, where you have to watch out for Manuel’s hamster, Basil’s goose stepping and Sybil making sure that neither of them psychologically scar or get inappropriate with any of the guests. From a personal standpoint, this night will easily be one of the highlights of the entire year.
Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience runs at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts until May 10th, don’t walk, run and make a reservation for a dinner that you won’t soon forget.