Reporter Gemma Sherlock reviews a dining experience with a little more mayhem and surprise.
I had my suspicions the evening wouldn’t be a normal sit-down meal when my friend’s glasses were stolen from her face and peanuts flew through the air with erratic force.
Of course there was more mayhem to come but what do you expect if you dared to book a table for the Faulty Towers Dining Experience? (Deliberately spelt ‘Faulty’ rather than ‘Fawlty’)
Around 70 guests chose to dine at the Borough for the opening night.
Some die-hard fans huddled at the bar, eager to be seated, others who weren’t even born at the height of the show’s success, (me I may shyly add) stared towards the door wondering if they should make a run for it.
But it was too late.
Manuel, played by Tony Clegg, was already dragging me towards my table before I could decide.
We were first to be seated along with another Overton couple who sat opposite, strangers now but not for long.
Thinking we had a lucky escape and we would be left to discuss the night, Manuel decided we needed more of his ‘attention’ and frantically pulled our chairs in and out with such force that condiments toppled, cutlery clashed and napkins scattered between guests.
Like I said before, don’t expect a normal sit-down meal.
I must add here that Clegg’s resemblance to the late Andrew Sachs was uncanny and his portrayal of Manuel was one to be admired.
We talked with our new friends over possible menu options as no guests had been informed what they would be eating that night.
I pondered whether I should ask for a Waldorf salad for fan brownie points but refrained as Basil, played by Rob Langston, backhanded Manuel for mistakes over bread rolls.
We were served warm bread rolls and a tomato, basil and red pepper soup to start. By this point my face was already hurting from laughing and I wasn’t too bothered what was put in front of me.
All I knew was I needed to eat it quickly before Manuel took my bowl away, scattered more basil on to the table or even swapped it with another diner’s dish.
Guests who didn’t reply to Basil’s jests quickly were soon accused of being a German.
My hands screwed up into balls waiting for someone to complain but the room was full of true fans.
We were treated to famous scenes including Manuel trying to hide his pet hamster/rat under guests chairs, away from Basil.
A favourite theme of mine, and one when I was little when watching the classic BBC sitcom, was the constant bickering between hotel owners Sybil and Basil.
Suzanna Hughes’s laughter throughout the night genuinely echoed that of actress Prunella Scales who played TV’s Sybil. Our chicken dinner arrived promptly as Borough waiters were also on hand that night as well as the dynamic trio.
The enjoyment of the tasty feast didn’t last for long as we soon heard commotion from the other side of the restaurant.
Manuel was seen removing false teeth from the mash potato of one of the poor diner’s meal (planted of course and taken in good jest).
A few diners were celebrating special birthdays and were treated to a very loud and proud performance from Sybil. Black Forest cake with cream followed for dessert.
As the last scoops of cream were devoured the final scenes were Sybil’s discovery of Basil’s betting, Manuel’s table dancing and last but not least a few bursts of the fire extinguisher. So if you’re feeling a bit daring, go to this, you won’t be disappointed. *Cue Wilson’s theme music.*