President Hotel, London
The President Hotel located in Russell Square is currently the home to Fawlty Towers The Dining Experience. Situated a few minutes walks away from Russell Square tube station it’s conveniently located for a West End night out.
For fans of the BBC television comedy Fawlty Towers, the immersive experience is a must. Three of the main characters’ charm, entertainment and at times spook us as their antics are all in keeping with the popular comedy series.
The script encompasses many of the lines and quotes from the original series. We see Manuel telling diners that “he comes from Barcelona”, Basil’s betting slip debacle and Cybil being permanently disappointed with her husband’s lack of professionalism. Even Manuel’s friend the rat makes an appearance. Let’s just hope the hotel inspector doesn’t arrive.
It is fair to say from watching this evening’s cast that close attention to the mannerisms and voices of the original cast have been studied at length to perfection. From the hyena-style shrill of Cybil’s laugh and Manuel’s literal take on instructions – for example, “roll on a plate” where he forward rolls over the side plate – to Basil’s exaggerated walk and blunt disposition towards all the dining guests, they all take centre stage. Suspending your disbelief is easy as you become completely absorbed in the chaos and feel you are truly experiencing a visit to the iconic hotel.
Although the performance has been brilliantly scripted, when interacting with the audience the artists’ ability to improvise on their feet without stopping the flow of the evening is suitably impressive. At times you can see the cast is desperately holding in their laughter while delivering some excellent comedic one-liners and, unlike the original Basil Fawlty, the actor taking on the role remains professional throughout.
Over the watchful eye of one of the hotel managers, the evening’s food service ran smoothly. Despite the chaos created by Basil. Sat at tables laid out for ten dinner guests. Service began with a delicious broccoli-based vegetable soup, followed by half a chicken, roast potatoes and a delicious medley of ratatouille-style vegetables. I cannot tell anyone what the dessert was as after one mouthful I decided it wasn’t to my taste and left it.
It was a fantastic night out and many of the evening’s dinner guests were celebrating birthdays and special occasions. Although be warned, if you disclose this information to the cast you will become part of the action for a few moments. For more information on the dining experience or the hotel please use the links below.