A bread roll has just been smacked down on the table, I’ve had to duck to miss some flying peanuts being hurled by the waiter and now the woman sitting next to me is fishing a pair of false teeth out of her soup.

‘Uuugggh,’ I groan, dropping my spoon into my bowl, just as a woman comes flying out of the kitchen. ‘Everyone check their starter,’ she instructs. ‘The chef has lost something. Oh yes, there they are.’

She grabs the teeth from the shocked diner to my left and scuttles off, leaving me – and no doubt the rest of the packed restaurant – suddenly with very little appetite.

We are in a London hotel in the heart of the West End but this isn’t the world’s worst restaurant and I’m not about to get a case of food poisoning, or worse.

Great British Life: 'Que?' (c) Elliott Franks'Que?' (c) Elliott Franks (Image: Elliott Franks)

Faulty Towers

I’m at Faulty Towers The Dining Experience, an interactive theatre show based on the 1970s BBC TV series Fawlty Towers starring John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs, that has fans flocking from all over the world to see.

Tonight, Canadians, Americans, Mexicans, French, Spanish and a fair few Brits of all ages are in to watch restaurateur terrible Basil Fawlty oversee a three-course dinner with long-suffering wife Sybil and hapless waiter Manuel.

TV critics slam many British comedy classics, saying they don’t travel well and are outdated and no longer funny, but this hilarious show proves them wrong.

With every ‘que?’, shriek of Baaaaasiiiiil, and melt down of the John Cleese-created character, the real-life restaurant, in The President Hotel, erupts in hoots, snorts and guffaws of laughter. Even my teenage daughter, who has never heard of the TV show and began protesting when I dragged her along, is giggling, and covering her mouth in shock at some of the antics of the trio (sadly Polly, played on TV by Connie Booth isn’t part of the cast).

Shocking, silly and so, so clever from the off, Basil, Sybil and Manuel, fawn over, insult and ignore the diners, while squabbling with each other and making ad libbing into an art form. ‘Its so lovely to have someone with a double-barrelled name in tonight,’ Basil says, spotting my name on the list. ‘A bit of class for once.’

The show is one of the best I’ve seen and is part of a clever package put together by Great Little Breaks who marry shows with hotel stays all over the country.

Great British Life: The suite life at The Cumberland (c) Elliott FranksThe suite life at The Cumberland (c) Elliott Franks (Image: The Cumberland)

Suite Life 

We are staying for two nights at The Cumberland in Marble Arch – a four-star hotel just off Oxford Circus, but we could have stayed at The President, where the show is, or at a number all over the city, suited to a range of budgets.

My daughter and I fell for The Cumberland the moment we walked in. There is a music theme running throughout the 900-room property while our gorgeous suite comes with a record player and vinyl records, a Fender electric guitar and Marshall amp, and a walk-in Wardrobe Change dressing room complete with a gold star on the door. We are also given an access all areas VIP pass for Back Stage, a lounge serving complimentary food and drinks.

We even have a complimentary mini bar in the suite, and with a huge buffet breakfast in the Green Room and lunch, afternoon tea and dinner served Back Stage, we are more than catered for.

Great British Life: Music, mates and beer on offer at The Choir of Man. (c) Elliott FranksMusic, mates and beer on offer at The Choir of Man. (c) Elliott Franks (Image: Elliott Franks)

The Choir Of Man

Another show is included in our stay – the Olivier-nominated Choir of Man, which is also immersive. The stage at The Arts Theatre, in the West End, is set up as The Jungle pub where a group of men get together to drink, sing, tap dance and celebrate friendships. Cue plenty of covers including hits from Adele, Guns n Roses, Queen, Paul Simon, Katy Perry and a rendition of Escape (The Pina Colada Song) that literally has me spitting out my drink.

Luckily, beer vouchers are included in my package and the cast hand out drinks, packets of crisps and invite members of the audience up to dance and join in the show that pays homage to the great British pub. I sink down into my seat every time they’re near, but my daughter and I are soon singing along, clapping and laughing. It’s a clever, poignant as well as feel-good show that is like the best lock-in I’ve ever been to.

We head back to The Cumberland ready to go Back Stage for the last time. Our Little Break has almost, sadly, come to an end but it’s been packed with fun, food and fabulous comedy and singing so we can honestly say it’s been Great.

The Details

A break including show tickets and a 2-night hotel stay in London starts from £169 per person for a double hotel room. https://www.greatlittlebreaks.com/