The Hotel / The Guardian

“The production is directed by comedian Mark Watson, and it’s all very Fawlty Towers, only with a sharper, absurdist edge. The staircase is decorated with photos of celebrities – JFK, Sean Connery – who haven’t been guests at the hotel; the restaurant is closed for lunch between noon and 2pm; and when you try to check in you are treated as if you are a swine-flu carrying terrorist. Open doors and cupboards and there are unexpected surprises: some of them very funny; some of them quite nasty. As you wander around the building, it becomes clear that the hotel was once very successful and has fallen into decline, along with its owner. There is evidence of the owner’s obsessions and his breakdown in an upstairs bedroom; you just have to piece the clues together.

It’s an entertaining if rather over-crowded experience that doesn’t quite fulfil its considerable potential. Although there is a wealth of cleverly faked written material, including a history of the building from its poor-house origins through to the present day, the scripted and spontaneous human interactions are often not nearly as successful as the installation element.” Lyn Gardner

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