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I haven’t laughed so much since …

It was a dining experience with a difference. The food was exemplary. There was a choice, of course – take it or leave it. Unlike the entertainment; the Ovation restaurant at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre had been taken over by Basil Fawlty, his wife Sybil, and the waiter, Manuel, from Fawlty Towers. You couldn’t leave it.

Fawlty Tower

Manuel waits ‘on table’, while Basil lambastes an innocent diner

Luckily we arrived before the allotted time and were shown to our seat, unlike the couple who didn’t quite make it. Basil announced to the restaurant that these people must be the most fashionable in Southampton, as they insist on arriving ‘fashionably late’. That set the tone for the rest of the evening. Every joke and punchline from the BBC’s 12 original episodes (Two series, 1975 and 1979) was replayed in context of the evening.

Between bouts of laughter, we had our elbows pushed off the table by Basil, and our chairs pushed in every time Manuel went past. Bread rolls were served Fawlty-style, from the end of the table and lobbed in the general direction of a diner. Nobody was safe. One lady diner, in urgent need of the ‘facilities’ tried to make her way, discretely, to the loo, only to be grabbed by Basil and marched back to her seat and told that it was not a fire evacuation.

Basil the Rat (iz no a rat, iz a hamster!) played his part, and we didn’t mention the war, but we did mention The Germans.

All in all, an evening of side-splitting laughter and tears. The voices and mannerisms of the actors were a perfect match for the originals (John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs), and the delivery and ad-libs were perfect for the evening.

I must thank ‘my little piranha fish’ for booking our places.