HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience began in Brisbane on 24 April 1997. From humble beginnings it now features nine teams of performers and has just finished a debut performance in Singapore – the 26th country it has been to.

To celebrate this special day, what better than to talk to Alison Pollard-Mansergh, the woman who is the driving force behind the company and show.

ali

Hi Ali, have you always wanted to run your own business?

APM: No! My intention had simply been to make some acting work for myself. I’d moved to Brisbane, Australia from New Zealand, and when I couldn’t get an agent because of my New Zealand accent, I decided to do something that would keep me going for a few months while I developed an Australian one. I met Andy Foreman, a really talented performer and writer, and along with a third performer, we started working together.

You’ve created this show from nothing and it’s now 18 years old and performed around the world: how have you managed to have raise five children and survive two bouts of cancer at the same time?

APM: I laugh a lot! I’m not a wonder-woman just a really normal person who has had a huge amount of support. My husband has encouraged me from day one. Every single person who has worked in the company has contributed to the success of the show. I could never have done it alone.

Why did you think of doing a Fawlty Towers tribute show, specifically? 

APM: I knew it would work, plus I could already do the Sybil laugh!

Did the Dining Experience idea come up at the beginning or did it come up later on?

APM: It was always based around a dinner. Between 1992 and 1996 I worked in a corporate theatre company in New Zealand, and many groups asked for entertainment during their conference dinners. Along with comedy waiters, singing chefs and other themes, Fawlty Towers characters mingling with the guests throughout the evening was a popular choice. This was the basis of the show that we started in 1997.

What are the core values of Interactive theatre International and of FTTDE in particular? 

APM: Immersive, site-specific comedy is a passion of mine, so that’s what ITI is built to accommodate – not just for FTTDE but also for other shows we have in production currently. And you can’t get more immersive and site-specific than FTTDE!

Let’s talk about the new show, The Wedding Reception…

APM: I’m really excited about it. It premieres at Brighton Fringe from 1 May and it’s the first time that we’re touring the UK with a brand new show. It’s another immersive experience that people will easily relate to. All cultures are familiar with weddings. It will be fun to adapt TWR as we tour around the world.

You have performed the role of Sybil since the very start. Does she have something in common with you?

APM: For that, you’d better ask my husband but I guess so! As Peter often says to me: ‘Thank you Sybil, can I talk to Ali now?!’ (Laugh) Sometimes I even find myself speaking in an English accent and saying: ‘Oooh, I knooow.’

Why have you decided to stop acting the role of Sybil?

APM: I’ve been walking in Sybil’s shoes since 1992. With nine teams of Faulty Towers performers to manage, and developing new shows, I want to focus now on growing the company. Besides which, Sybil is a physically-demanding role. I will possibly play her again in the future, on special occasions and… at the fanciest venues! (Laugh)

The company has accomplished many things since 1997: 18 years of touring, enthusiastic feedback and reviews, participation in the most important arts festivals in the world. What are the next goals?

APM: The London West End residency was a big one. I set that goal in 2008 when we first appeared in the UK. I gave myself five years to achieve it, and we opened in October 2012. The next milestone was North America, and we’ve just done a very successful showcase in New York as well as a three-month stint at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; my aim for the US, though, is a spot on Broadway or Madison Square Gardens… I’d like to celebrate the 20th birthday of the show (2017) by opening our residency on Broadway.

According to each singular personality, how would Basil, Sybil and Manuel celebrate this anniversary?

APM: I think Sybil would celebrate with a really good dinner, some nice wine, and enough friends so that she doesn’t have to sit next to Basil!
Basil would have had no idea that it was a birthday until Sybil reminded him.
Manuel would just be incredibly grateful that he had a job. I imagine that he would be attempting to serve the celebration dinner and spill something over Basil!

 

Bookings at London Charing Cross now open until 1 May 2016!

Great news! Tickets for the show’s London West End residency are now open for the whole of the coming year; that includes the pre-Christmas season and all private bookings outside of regular performance days.

Opened in October 2012, shows here in The Torquay Suite Theatre of Amba Hotel Charing Cross rank consistently high in TripAdvisor’s top London Theatre listings.

Taken with The Faultys?

Dateline Saturday 21 March, Toronto: in a break from performing at the Sony Centre, Benedict Holme, Leigh Kelly and Imogen Miller Porter (aka Basil, Manuel and Sybil) joined television personality and film critic Richard Crouse on Canada’s NewsTalk 1010.

Listen to the podcast for a fun discussion about why interactive theatre is so popular – and about the possible future of action-men like Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis and Jason Statham!

Teena & Gord, Toronto bloggers

Last Friday night (6 March), Teena and Gord came to the show at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. The couple enjoyed themselves so much they wrote about the experience on their personal blogs: Teena in Toronto and The World of Gord.

Schermata 2015-03-10 alle 14.03.16

Schermata 2015-03-10 alle 17.30.23

Gord: “Teena and I had a fabulous time. We bought VIP tickets for the show so were in a separate area with free appetizers and a free tee-shirt.” 

Teena: “It was an entertaining three hours. We didn’t know what to expect and we weren’t disappointed. Alison Pollard-Mansergh, Benedict Holme and Leigh Kelly were excellent as Sybil, Basil and Manuel! I would recommend it.”

 

 

 

 

A faultless proposal!

We’re a bit late running this, but want to share this special moment…

On 21 February, during one of our last Saturday night shows at Fringe World Perth, the lovely couple Selena Wood and Ray Storer got engaged.

In the middle of the show, while Basil and Manuel were creating their usual chaos, Ray kneeled with a shining ring in his pocket and in front of the audience asked Selena to become his wife.

Ray proposing to Selena

Glasses of champagne were brought by members of staff and a joyful, jumpy Manuel presented flowers to the future bride, as she said:“Yes!”

Ray and Selena

Their love story started on 27 October 2012, the night that Paddy Hannan’s Irish pub at the Burswood Casino closed their doors of business for good.

Selena was there with a friend, and Ray was with two of his mates. They started talking and when Ray gave her his business card she noticed he worked with Harley-Davidson and so realised that they share a common passion.

By 10 December that year they were officially a couple. A few months later Ray moved in with Selena and shortly after that they created a family by adding two dogs. Since then they’ve been on holidays overseas, met each other’s families and bought their own first home.

Telling us about their story, a dreamy Selena said:
“I always believed that was the night my single life closed its door, and my relationship life opened.”

Ray and Selena

Selena and Ray are planning to marry in March 2016.

We want to wish the happy couple all the best in the world and thank them for sharing their special moment with us.

What a busy weekend!

With shows at Fringe World, Adelaide Fringe and Amba Hotel Charing Cross in London, the Faulty Towers team was on fire! The first reviews for Adelaide Fringe came in and we also got some great feedback and reviews on our Facebook page and Tripadvisor! Valentine’s Day brought on a few surprises too!

At Adelaide Fringe:
Our intrepid heroes survived Friday 13th in the spectacular Fringe parade, and we opened our month at the Fringe on Saturday. Audiences took every opportunity to congratulate an adoring Basil and Sybil on a very Faulty Valentine’s Day.

1397014_850772804982465_9089812693844413932_o

10981301_850772794982466_8424238349827407522_o

Expect the unexpected at Adelaide Fringe at Ambassadors Hotel until 15 March.

AFF pics1

- ‘An uproariously funny five-star comedic feast’ InDaily Read the full review here

- ‘If you walk away with one regret from Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, it will be that you didn’t experience it sooner.’ AdelaideGlam – Full Review

- ‘Faulty Towers the Dining Experience is a great tribute show with loads of belly laughs, and combined with the wonderful meal at the Ambassadors, it’s a must see at the Fringe this year’. The Clothesline – Full Review

At Fringe World Perth…FWP pics 1While all this is happening down South, audiences in the West, at Fringe World Perth, are sharing their pictures while being served at the Faulty Towers restaurant in Rigby’s.

FWP pics2

FWP pics3

 

 

 

 

 

 

With many a full-house behind us, we close in Perth on 22 Feb, so get your tickets now!

In London’s West End…

In the meantime 14,470km away at Torquay Suite Theatre at Amba Hotel  in London…

image1image3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Basil and Sybil celebrate Valentine’s Day in their own special way, while Manuel amuses himself in the kitchen. We continue to have five shows every week at this gorgeous venue throughout the year.

Want to be part of Faulty Towers The Dining Experience? Check our website for more info and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about news dates and venues and special offers! We might be performing somewhere near you! 

Fringe delights!

We’ve had some great reviews coming out of Fringe World Perth!

Some of our audience reviews are on Facebook. And here’s what a couple of our media critics have said…

from Buzzcuts:
‘ … the unmistakable physicality and distinctive voices are flawless from all three actors, impressively maintained throughout the highly improvised performance. Laughter is guaranteed… Whether a food or theatre lover, Fawlty quoter or newcomer, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is top nosh, guaranteed to leave you with a belly full of food, and a belly full of laughs.’ Read the full review here.

and from The West Australian:

‘…if you neglect to make it down to Rigby’s Bar and Bistro while the international touring Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is in town you’ll be sure to have missed out…’
Full review

We’re there until 22 Feb, so come and join the fun at Rigby’s Bar and Bistro!

10830648_843704685689277_2499344316846174764_o

2015 has already kicked off!

I Love New York  Souvenir T-ShirtOur first stop this year was last weekend in New York City! Exciting right? We had some great feedback and are now looking to find the perfect venues for touring the US and for setting up a residency in NY. We’re open to ideas, as long as they can cope with Basil’s temperament…!

In London, another year in our residency at The Torquay Suite Theatre at Amba Hotel Charing Cross starts this weekend, with our fabulous cast serving you delicious ‘70s-style 3-course meals with, of course, a lot of laughs.

wow-copyMeanwhile, way over in Australia, our first stop is at Fringe World Festival in Perth, running from Friday 23 January until 22 February. Our dysfunctional trio are looking forward to dining and w(h)ining with you at the ever-welcoming Rigby’s Bar & Bistro!

Thinking of Valentine’s Day? We’re hosting unique Valentine’s Experiences in London, Adelaide and Perth and you can give gift vouchers for those too. For the rest of the world we also have shows on four continents!

Check our website for more information on dates and places, and sign up to the newsletter to get fresh updates of what we’re up to next.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2015 everyone!

A big THANK YOU to all our audiences around the world for your support over the years… and we’re very much looking forward to seeing you again and meeting new friends this year.
By signing up to our newsletterbroadway you’ll get advance notice of all new tours.
Meanwhile, to whet your appetite… these are just some of the cities we’re visiting: Toronto, New York, Singapore, Sydney… these are the major festivals: Fringe World Perth, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe… and this is our ongoing residency in London’s West End: The Torquay Suite Theatre at Amba Hotel Charing Cross*. (*formerly Charing Cross Hotel).
See you soon!

#FaultyXmas Competition – The Winner!

B4SjwwACIAIdTqTShrinking the turkey, missing Xmas due to flight delays, snowstorms and time differences… Eating from McDonalds… Remember that time the table collapsed? – it was during the Christmas dinner… Thanks to all of you for sharing your #FaultyXmas stories on Facebook and Twitter. We had great fun reading them and now send congratulations to our winner, twitter follower @Karla Marx who had to spend Xmas alone with a six-pack of Wotsits… Now she and three friends can enjoy a 3-course Dining Experience, Faulty Towers style, hosted by Basil, Sybil and Manuel at The Torquay Suite Theatre – our London West End residency at Amba Hotel Charing Cross!

Xmas Competition! Share your most ‘Faulty’ Christmas experience to win!

Awful gifts, awkward relationships, the dog ate the turkey when your back was turned or snowed in with unbearable relatives. What’s the most ‘Faulty’ Christmas experience you’ve ever had?

bow25aShare your stories with us on Twitter or Facebook using #Faultyxmas to be in with the chance of winning 4 tickets to have an even more Faulty experience with us at Torquay Suite Theatre at Amba Hotel Charing Cross in the new year. The more Faulty, the better!

Terms and conditions: entries accepted up until midnight on Tuesday 9 December 2014 (UK time). Prize will be in the form of a voucher, valid from January 2015 until August 2015 on any performances at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross, subject to availability. For more information on performance dates & times please see: www.faultytowers-uk.com 

AUDIENCE SUPERHEROES RAISE £11,263!!

A big thank you to our audiences, who for the sixth consecutive year supported BBC Children in Need by donating £11,263. The show’s cast have rattled the collection tin, each year raising more than the last.

This year’s campaign launched at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (B’est Restaurant) and continued in Salford (The Lowry), Cardiff (Wales Millennium Centre), Birmingham (The Rep), Brighton (Thistle Hotel) and London (Amba Charing Cross Hotel), with audiences at each venue contributing to this great cause. BBC Children in Need 3

Supporting over 2,600 projects BBC Children in Need is helping to change the lives of children and young people.

To find out more visit bbcchildreninneed.co.uk - people can support by donating or buying from the online shop all year round.