Assembly @ George Street
5-31 August (ex. 17) 16.15
In a Georgian townhouse not far from the Assembly Rooms is a hotel where all your worst nightmares about holidaying in Britain come true. Granted, Basil Fawlty is not present (you’ll need to head over to The Faulty Towers Dining Experience at B’est to bump into him), but all the hallmarks of a wet weekend in Scunthorpe are spread out for your delectation.
The paint is peeling, the staff are stressed, the chefs are revolting and the washing-up is piled to the ceiling. Entertainment in the bar is provided by an off-colour Frenchman and a murderous American singer, who likes to base her lyrics on the ex-boyfriends she’s killed in order to keep them near her. Nooks and crannies are stuffed with weird characters – the bored Lost and Found lady asks you to sort golf balls, and there’s a man in the cupboard whose only job is to offer you toilet paper.
It’s all very bizarre, and a lot of fun in its own way, but the whole experience is meandering and mostly directionless. Audience members wander around as the will takes them, discovering new peculiarities around every turn, and you can’t help but feel that you’re missing something. The joy of last year’s Office Party was that you had a guide of sorts, and tasks assigned to you to help the jollity along. Here you’re not quite sure where to begin, and where it all ends.
On the plus side, the attention to detail, from the frosted glass front windows, proudly emblazoned with the hotel’s crest, to the staff uniforms, to the do not disturb door hangers saying things such as “exorcism in progress”, is fastidious. And with so much going on, you certainly won’t get bored.