Magnificent Manuel. Photos by Deanne Scott
Faulty Towers the Dining Experience
Brisbane Golf Club
70 Tennyson Memorial Avenue
Back in 2011 I went to “experience” Basil, Sybil and Manuel’s dinner night and declared it the funniest dining experience I had had eaten since lunching with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore back in the l970s.On December 15 this year I tried another night out with the trio, this time at the Brisbane Golf Club on one night of the group’s tour of Australia where they are to play to a mix of 26 new and repeat venues in Qld, Vic, WA, Tas, SA and NSW over the next three months.One again the night was hilarious with superb comic performances from Sybil, Basil, and Manuel. Andy Foreman was Spanish waiter Manuel at my last dinner and I consider myself lucky to have him in the cast again. He is simply a magnificent Manuel with his eagerness to please and his total misunderstanding of the English language. He never dropped character once even when posing with patrons for selfies after the show.Basil was his usual objectionable, down-trodden self and managed to be rude to everyone when he wasn’t being ingratiating, and yet somehow the managed his act without being truly offensive. He was played by Dan Wood who created a creditable Basil impersonation down to the funny walk, speech pattern, and uncontrollable rage. Donna Gray was just as good as the biting, overbearing Sybil. They worked terrifically individually and as a team. The evening started in the bar. A harassed looking Manuel was busy clearing away glasses while Basil strode haughtily around looking important until came the cry “Basiiiil!” And Sybil arrived to tell Basil to get the guests seated. Manuel then began his clever misinterpretations, getting guests to sit on the floor taking away full glasses and playing games with a plate of peanuts as he frantically tried to herd everyone into the beautifully set out dining room. And it was belly-aching laughter from then until the end of the two-hour frolic.The best way to get something from the show was to interact – and there were plenty of hints for this. Cutlery was missing, rolls went on the floor, there was not enough butter; plenty of reasons to complain to Basil or Sybil.Basil stole cutlery from other tables, took someone else chair to seat a guest at another table uttered sarcastic little cracks to complainers and berated Manuel at every chance he got.I had my little go, as I was one of those who had cutlery stolen. I asked Basil for a fork and got some muttered abuse which was just loud enough for the people on the table to hear. I even threw a curly one at Manuel when I accused him of serving “’amster” instead of chicken. It did not faze him though; he became indignant, gave a nervous giggle, and carried on. He had his own “’amster” game later in the show.The interaction between Manuel and Basil was hilarious as the poor Spanish waiter went through a host of visual gags after misinterpreting Basil’s instructions. The fire extinguisher was fully utilised when Manuel was “fired”The set script is tight and funny in its own right and expertly delivered.It is a night out I would recommend to anyone on the lookout for fun and laughter. Check out venues when the show hits your area.
My turn to manhandle Manuel.