Faulty Towers Dining Experience, Charing Cross Hotel

The main difference between Fawlty Towers the TV series and Faulty Towers the dining experience, is the faulty ‘u’ that replaces the famous ‘w’ in the tv name, every other detail is almost identical in this marvellous spoof performance.

The Fawlty Towers series has a worldwide reputation, and soon I expect so will Faulty Towers the dining experience. The three cast members have already travelled over the globe presenting their rendition of the classic Fawlty Towers mealtime moments. In London the magic takes place at The Charing Cross Hotel in a cleverly dressed and disguised room with the traditional music to accompany. The room is smart but dated and suits the theme of the evening precisely.

After buying a rather nice glass of white wine from the bar, we gathered among a crowd of fifty guests, all excitedly anticipating the night ahead. There was enough time to recount and refresh our brains with the most memorable Fawlty Towers moments before the three actors came to revive the jokes in the flesh. Basil, Sybil and Manuel are played by Jack Baldwin, Suzanna Hughes and Terence Frisch.

Peanuts are thrown (at us), false teeth found in the soup, a fire extinguisher employed, even Manuel’s pet rat makes an appearance. Every favourite line manages to sneak its way in, amazing considering only a third of the production is scripted, the rest is just genius improvisation. The mannerisms, voices and characteristics are captured perfectly by the three talented impersonators. The show is fully immersive, the actors work hard to include all the guests, making us giggle but never humiliating anyone. Visitors can choose to be as involved as they desire, the birthday boy on the next door table was mocked merrily and received an embarrassing rendition of ‘happy birthday,’ others stole extra bread rolls and paid the consequences, having their bottoms smacked.

The food was rather bland and disappointing: Leek and potato soup was under-seasoned and too thin, chicken with potato was lukewarm and unexciting and the cheesecake was certainly not freshly made. Of it all the bread rolls with butter were the most palatable. However you don’t visit this show expecting haute cuisine, in fact just like every other detail of the night, the food was just as it would have been in the tv programme.

It was, without doubt the best worst meal I’ve ever had. An experience I will never forget and a must for Fawlty fans!

More information here.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: Sex and the City Tour, New York

As Manchester is the rainiest city in the UK, I took full advantage of miserable, wet days whilst at University by snuggling up with girlfriends on the sofa and delving into the Sex and the City boxset. How we all wished we were the SATC girls, living a fabulous life that revolved around gossiping, shopping and endless cocktails in New York City. I knew the words to practically every episode by heart and felt like the famous four were long lost friends. So when Milly told me that we would be visiting all the sites where our idols spent their time, I could hardly contain my excitement.

As 40 giggling girls, plus 3 men (obviously dragged along by their persuasive girlfriends) clambered onboard the tour bus in the Upper East Side, it started to rain, which immediately took me back to those days in Manchester, where my love of SATC first began. Milly and I adored our tour guide, a part time actress from Manhattan, who we decided we would quite like to adopt as our very cool and seriously fun older sister. She instantly had all 43 tour goers whooping and cheering, in the mood for a very good time.

As the tour navigated the city, various locations from the six series and the most recent films were pointed out. The coach was kitted out with small televisions, and as we drove past exciting landmarks, we were shown short clips that took place right where we passing. We started at The Plaza Hotel, where Carrie said goodbye to Mr. Big and also where Mr. Big hosted his engagement party – to another woman! Our driver took us through the Upper East Side, passing the New York Library where Carrie and Big nearly tied the knot, then stopping for a quick browse of the ‘Pleasure Chest’ where Charlotte bought her ‘rabbit’. A few tour goers made some cheeky purchases, which they were too embarrassed to ‘show and tell’ to the rest of the bus – I wonder why?! Moving downtown to SoHo, we were given enough time for a speedy pit stop for boutique shopping in Bleeker Street and more importantly to refuel with coffee and a super sweet Magnolia Bakery cupcake. After a walk around historic Greenwich Village, what better way to end the tour than heading to Scout, the bar Aidan and Steve opened on the show, for the cocktail SATC made famous – the  Cosmopolitan.

Our experience on the Sex and the City tour was so enjoyable, I would thoroughly recommend this to any girls seeking a small piece of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte’s fabulous New York lifestyle.

For more info, visit: www.screentours.com and www.nycgo.com

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Miss, Susie Hemsted.