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West End vs The Regions...
Theatre in London - Tips & Comments
Member Name: Critchyboy
Theatre in London - Tips & Comments
Date: 06/02/03, updated on 06/02/03 (239 review reads)
Advantages: Atmosphere mostly.
Disadvantages: Cost., Travel.
Happy New Year one and all. Feels a little strange saying that in February but I've not visited here for so long. Began to miss the place and thought - well, it can't hurt to start writing again - can it?!
So here I am - once more.
I am writing this review because firstly, obviously I want too and secondly, out of an experience in the West End that has annoyed me.
***THE ANNOYING EXPERIENCE***
I consider myself to be a seasoned theatre-goer. I love it. The rush to get to theatre and the expectation of what lies ahead as you sit in your seat awaiting curtain up and the transportation into another world.
I was delighted to have seen an offer to buy tickets for Les Miserables - half price - on the back of a receipt from Somerfield of all places! The tickets were ordered, purchased and for months I was looking forward to see 'Les Mis' from the front of the circle.
I had seen 'Les Mis' four times previously and totally loved every minute of what is an incredibly moving story of forgiveness, judgement and ultimately redemption. Marvellous lyrics, soaring melodies and tragic events. It had gained a special place in my psyche.
The performance itself at the Palace Theatre in London's West End - home to the show for 16 or so years - was not at all what I had expected. It was appalling to say the least. The levels of sound were so bad that some actors could not be heard and may as well have mimed their way through the performance. The acting half-hearted and it smacked of 'going through the motions'. It was a truly cringeworthy experience. My wife, who had never seen it, will go nowhere near the show again.
And it made me think...
Thank goodness I paid only £20.00 for a top price ticket.
Surely that's not the feeling people should be getting from a night out at the theatre in the West End..? Or am I just feeling bitter..?
***THE REST OF TH
E WEST END***
Let's have a quick look at some of what is on in the West End at the moment.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Musical.
- Bombay Dreams.
- Les Miserables.
- Phantom of the Opera.
- My Fair Lady.
- Romeo and Juliet: The Musical.
- Mamma Mia.
- This is our Youth.
- The Woman in Black.
- The Mousetrap.
- We Will Rock You.
- Our House.
To name a few!
A great selection of course - naturally - but with long-runners (Phantom 17 years, Les Mis 16 years, The Mousetrap 50 years), Revivals (My Fair Lady - quite excellent) and celebrity names (Chicago - Gaby Roslin ad Michael Greco, Rent - Caprice!) taking a lot of the space up there's not much room for anything new.
Expect for that is - the new breed of musical theatre that is the back-catalogue. Mamma Mia - ABBA, We Will Rock You - Queen, Our House - Madness, Cliff: The Musical - Cliff Richard and a rumoured Rod Stewart based show PLUS the prospect of We Will Rock You: The Sequel.
***THE BIGGEST GRIPE OF ALL***
We Will Rock You is playing to nearly full houses every evening. And good luck to it it is so much fun - fantastic tunes, brilliantly played and sung with OTT acting, shocking script, but it wins you over. (Maybe I should write a review!) BUT they are now charging £50.00 for the top price tickets on a Saturday evening. £50.00!
Les Mis- thankfully I paid £20.00 for a £40.00 ticket as the production was of such a low standard I'd have demanded my money back.
If we are expected to pay that much money - surely we should be safe in the knowledge that the production we are going to see is tip-top quality.
Then it is not just the ticket price: travel there pushes the budget for my wife and I upto over £120.00 for a night out in London at the theatre... Gutted.
Yes there are ticket offers available - TKTS in Leicester Square and var
ious offers in the press, but I am so worried now that one show has gone to £50 all the others will follow suit.
Forgive me for indulging in this, but allow me to show you what is playing the theatres near me in the coming months...
Bristol: Miss Saigon, The Vagina Monologues.
Bath: Art, The Mysteries.
Southampton: Art, Noises Off, Fiddler on the Roof.
And of course, reading reviews on this site you can see the wealth and diversity of what is playing the regions throughout the year.
I don't think that Regional Theatre is any longer the poor cousin of the West End. Regional Theatre has so much going for it over the West End.
- A cycle of great (and sometimes, admittedly, not great) shows.
- Cheaper tickets (in some cases £35.00 against £40.00 for the same seat in London).
- Less travel if nearby.
- Better deals.
- No congestion charges(!) Had to get that in!
I am abandoning the West End now as I can longer afford to get there. TKTS is all very well, but getting there for opening is not the easiest thing.
I am abandoing the West End because of my recent bad experience. Why pay so much for something that was of a lesser quality than when I saw it in Manchester?
I am abandoning the West End because there is so much on elsewhere.
So there you have it.
Unless something drastic happens with the pricing of tickets in London's West End - I shall not be going.
This is the start of my campaign to SAVE THE REGIONS!!
Anyone else with me..?
Don't know how to star rate this one! Shall leave it on three... 2 stars for London and 4 for The Regions!
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