Comic dining as guests brave supper with Fawlty

WITH a maniacal manager, language-challenged waiter, hamster on the loose and racist Major in residence, it’s not the first place that springs to mind for a romantic weekend getaway.

But over the weekend, hundreds of guests checked into to Ireland’s answer to Fawlty Towers for an evening of organised chaos with Basil, Sybil and Manuel.

Projectile bread rolls, high-speed pursuits and pratfalling floor staff were all on the menu at Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience, which transformed the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery into John Cleese’s hotel-from-hell for just a few hours.

Inspired by the BBC television classic, the skit by Interactive Theatre Australia is on tour after taking the international comedy circuit by storm.

And despite shutting its fictitious doors more than three decades ago, actress Karen Hamilton says Irish fans of Fawlty Towers still can’t get enough of Basil and gang.

Resurrecting the curly beehive made famous by Prunella Scales for a Cork audience, the mum-of-three says: “The concept of the show is that you are coming to dine at Fawlty Towers, so you become part of the performance.

“Things can occasionally get out of hand. When Basil beats Manuel up, of course it’s all carefully choreographed. But at one or two events in the past over-zealous audience members have joined in.”

Last year, the original stars of the iconic comedy John Cleese, Connie Booth, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs reunited to celebrate 30 years on the box.

But Cleese (70) – who penned the farce with ex-wife and co-star Booth, who played waitress Polly – warned Fawlty fans not to hold their breath for a follow-up 13th episode.

“We just knew if we did more it wouldn’t be as good,” he said of winding down the series, which was voted the greatest British show of all time.

In the absence of the real thing, Irish audiences can at least get a second helping of the show with the slap-up supper with a twist.

The two-hour show continues its nationwide tour throughout September.

Just remember: Don’t mention the war – I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.

* Tickets start from €40. For bookings see www.ten42.com


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