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23 July 2014

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Event review: Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience

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Torquay comes to London for this Edinburgh Fringe favourite, featuring three of British comedy’s most loved characters. V&E braced itself for a bombardment of 70s-style chaos at The Charing Cross Hotel

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Having bread rolls thrown at us by a moustachioed Spaniard is not usually our idea of a good night out. On this occasion, though, it was all in the name of comedy as we braved Faulty Towers, the Dining Experience at The Charing Cross Hotel

Since ‘97, the show has toured the world and back, performing seven shows a week, 52 weeks a year. On this particular evening, we were lucky enough to have co-creator Andy Foreman as our waiter – a waiter called Manuel.

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After an introduction to our hosts for the evening (and a pelting of peanuts) Basil Fawlty, played by the suitably lanky Rob Langstone, ordered us to our tables of 10 in the Torquay Suite. 

Two hours of chaos ensued. We were treated to an authentically average 70s dinner – vegetable soup, chicken and mash, and cheesecake – while an onslaught of slapstick misunderstandings and, of course, war gaffs unfolded around us. The actors struck gold when they realised the gent sat next to us was from Hamburg. Poor guy.

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The star of the show? Karina Garnett was impressive as Sybil and, amid the surrounding disorder, managed to keep the evening from falling into complete disarray.


Best bit: when the cast recreated the mayhem of ‘Communication Problems’ – an episode of mishaps involving a dodgy horse bet. Langstone jumped around, head-in-hands, screaming at Manuel’s countless fudges. It’s still funny.

Room for improvement: The decor. The venue’s opulence was at odds with the kitschy mess we remember from the Torquay hotel. A few retro touches would have made all the difference.


The Charing Cross Hotel, The Strand, London WC2N 9HX

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