Home' Be : Be Issue 12 Contents Be: Fawlty
fthe sight of a tall man bashing a small car with a tree limb
brings back fond memories, then you'll be pleased to know
the spirit ofTV classic Fawlty Towers is stillalive, thanksto a
small band of roving performers.
yes it's true - but “don't mention the war” - Basil, Sybil and
Manuel are still being brought to life up to a dozen times each
week as characters in Faulty Towers the Dining Experience, which
has been touring the world since 1997 thanks to Brisbane-
based troupe interactive Theatre australia.
Fans of the TV series which ran from 1975-79 often
express sadness that only 12 episodes made it to air, but
also relief that it never went on long enough to become
stale. it has been voted as the most popular British T V show
ever, despite being set in what an on-screen guest described
as “the crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of
The live touring show evokes the original to make people
cringe and laugh at the same time. each episode of the TV
show featured hotel manager Basil being caught in a tangled
web of deceit driven by his own vanity and prejudices.
There was an inconvenient dead body, an unreliable
builder, a fake Lord, a flirtatious couple, undercover hotel
inspectors, german guests, clandestine horse betting, an
attractive aussie girl with a suspicious hand mark on her chest,
a demanding american and veal cutlets covered in rat poison.
The live show features the core characters from the TV
show, including long-suffering waiter Manuel who had to
be forgiven because “he's from Barcelona”. There's also a live
version of Sybil who was often por trayed on the phone saying
“i know ... i know ... oh i know”.
and of course there's Basil who, when he wasn't hitting
Manuel over the head with a spoon or shouting at guests,
was ripping the last of his hair out while contor ting his huge
frame and stamping about.
who could forget Mr Fawlty with a finger held under his
nose goose-stepping across the room while chanting in a
mock german accent, pretending to faint to avoid a tricky
question, or running legs flailing up and down the stairs to
avert one tragedy or another in the hotel.
Physical comedy features heavily in The Dining Experience
with plenty of “do not tr y this at home” moments. However,
diners are assured their meals are edible (so it's not entirely
faithful to the original show).
a portion of the dinner show is scripted but the rest is based
on interaction with the ‘guests’ so there's plenty of audience
participation and the theatrical ‘ fourth wall’ is well and truly
broken down. One audience member recalls her six-year-old
son being forcibly shoved into a baby seat and there often
seems to be an excuse for Manuel to wield a fire extinguisher.
For the past few years, the spirit of Basil has been brought
to life with great flair by an extremely tall and energetic
CQuniversity Music Theatre graduate – Jordan edmeades.
when first cast as Basil a few years ago, Jordan
commented that his goal had always been to travel the world
as a professional ac tor “and it seems following in the footsteps
of John Cleese may be the ticket to achieving that dream”.
“ i turned up to the audition in full charac ter and costume
and threw caution to the wind. Much of the audition was
improvisational and having studied improv Comedy in the
united States i was well equipped.”
Jordan says he is very much like Basil Fawlty in real
life. “ My girlfriend tells me i am easily frustrated, openly
obnoxious at times and have a tendenc y to over-exaggerate...
but always with a smile. i also have what i affectionately call
‘dufus days’, whereby i wake up with a tendency to bang my
head, run into things and accidently hur t people.
“ There are not many roles out there for actors as tall as
me. at most auditions i get the classic remark, ‘ wOw, you're
tall aren't you’, which can be translated as ‘this guy will never
get the par t!’ The Basil Fawlty character is probably the only
role that gives me an advantage; being thin, lanky and over-
animated ... i couldn't find a more per fect fit if i tried.”
Find out if there's a forthcoming Dining Experience
near you via www.interactivetheatre.com.au �
It was the world’s worst hotel but Britain’s most loved
sitcom. As writer Marc Barnbaum discovers people are
still laughing at its gangly star.
Links Archive Be Issue 11 Be Issue 13 Navigation Previous Page Next Page