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Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

APOLLO THEATRE
Shaftesbury Avenue


 


THE AUDIENCE (play)
Previews from 21st April, opens 5th May 2015.


What goes on when a Prime Minister meets the Queen each week for a chat... this play speculates...

Kristin Scott Thomas plays the lady on the stamp in a revival of this Spring 2013 hit work by Peter Morgan, with Stephen Daldry directing.


Kristin Scott Thomas does not appear at the afternoon performances on 23rd May and 27th June 2015.Cast holiday details are given for information only, and Theatremonkey.com CANNOT take responsibility for any issue arising from the accuracy or otherwise of these details, nor guest use of this information.


 
Theatremonkey Opinion:
(Seen during the previous Gielgud Theatre 2013 run, at the afternoon performance on 25th May 2013). Some actors have now left the cast.

And better late than never, as it turns out. Not a Helen Mirren fan, and expecting some kind of "star vehicle" / "event theatre" piece, the monkey didn't bother... until two people it trusts told it that it had to... so it netted one of the few remaining tickets... and was it pleased it did so.

This is a strong play that demands exceptional performances to work. It doesn't need, nor rely on any particular actor (even if known for playing the role). It just requires performers able to observe acutely their subjects and bring them to life without actual caricature.

Once settled, we skip, in no particular chronological order, through some of our best known prime ministers. The clever device of positioning chairs closer or further to the Queen indicates her inner thoughts, any more open commentary regarding her feelings towards a minister thus come as a moving surprise when uttered - particularly in the case of Harold Wilson, the greatest transformation. Richard McCabe makes smart work of a difficult role, his restraint turning what could be a mere socialist rant into a something far more personal and intriguing.

Nods too, to Paul Ritter's completely believable John Major - with whom the best scenes in the play are shared, and Rufus Wright's David Cameron - with whom the play's constantly changing scene is shared. Hayden Gwynne may perhaps speak a little fast for Thatcher, but has obliviously found her character since a few early reviews. A note too to the "young Elizabeth" for a quietly understated yet memorable contrast with her older self.

Helen Mirren waits until portraying the modern Queen to really let slip how deep her impersonation goes. Until that point, we are watching a superb actor playing a well-written role. Suddenly, we realise just how good, and the whole evening reaches its sharpest focus.

Peter Morgan manages, one speech about the loss of Britannia aside, to create a credible idea of historical events as they might have been, while always unwinding a thread of history to hang the evening on. Never dull, often witty, the weave is tight, the performances tighter, the evening satisfying beyond doubt. Bravo.


 
Your Reviews: Add your own by clicking here.
Important: Some reviews below can contain "spoilers" - please don't read if this bothers you!

(From the previous Gielgud Theatre 2013 run). Some actors have now left the cast.

(6 reviews)

Saw this play last weekend - great play!

Ann Cooper,
Orpington.
_______________________________

I saw this last weekend (2nd March 2013), and it was a joy. Helen Mirren is absolutely phenomenal, and she's well-supported by an excellent cast; it would be unfair to pick out one single performance because they are all so good - including the two corgis!

The sets are beautiful, the staging excellent (Ms Mirren's lightning costume changes take place on stage but are handled so cleverly that you barely notice them occurring). The script is intelligent, witty and imaginative. I couldn't fault any aspect of this show.

An absolutely wonderful night out. Don't miss it.
________________________________

Wednesday 6th March 2013: 7.30pm.
Much of the play is centre stage.

The play is what you expect really. Helen Mirren turning in a performance that at times was uncanny in her resemblance to the Queen. The set, costumes and wigs are spot on, with one exception, Mrs Thatcher. I lived through the 'Thatcher the milk snatcher' years and I never saw her wear anything vaguely resembling the strange looking boldly striped suit they have her in here. Maybe they were going for the 'Spitting Image' look, but for me it didn't work, and neither did Hadyn Gwynne's portrayal, the voice was weak in places and from my seat almost on the front of the stage barely audible at times, and I think with so many moments that they could have chosen for this part, the topic was a bit weak.

What I didn't expect was for the play to be so funny, there are some brilliant and very topical one liners and put downs in it - such as the Pope retiring and betting on the sex of the royal baby. The scenes of the Queen talking to her younger self are well played and give some insight to what the author thinks the Queen maybe thinking of her life, and the young actress playing the part was very good. The best of the rest well anyone except Mrs Thatcher, take your pick but for me it has to Wilson and Major. Some laugh out loud and poignant moments with these two.

want to try and see this again if I'm honest but I think it will deservedly be a sell out for the run. Here's hoping!!!
_________________________________

I saw this show last night (19th March 2013) and it was excellent entertainment. There have been criticisms about the play being overly biased against conservative PMs but I don't think this is entirely justified. It is a known fact that the Queen wasn't that keen on Mrs Thatcher, and it is probably true that she liked Harold Wilson. There were some digs about Tony Blair and the bit where she fell asleep while listening to David Cameron was funny and too much can be read into seeing some of these things in a political sense. A

cting was good, it was good to see entirely different actors playing each of the PMs although the one playing Churchill wasn't very realistic. Full marks to the girl actress playing the Queen’s younger self – her presence and diction were superb and in danger of outshining Ms Mirren.

Helen Best
___________________________________

9th and 10th April 2013

Absolutely loved this show, all the right elements in all the right places.

Dame Helen shines as the dutiful Monarch and is supported tremendously by the supporting cast. I disagree with previous comments about Hayden Gwynne as Maggie, I thought she was brilliant (as in all she does), could hear her no problem. The young actress playing Lady Elizabeth was in danger of upstaging Dame Helen she was that good. I thought the whole thing was done wonderfully and would tell anyone to grab a ticket if they can before it closes.

Graham (West Berkshire's most feared critic) (formerly Oxfordshires most feared critic but I've moved..lol)
____________________________________

The evening was a female triumph – in that we had a great 'girls' night out' and also saw a fabulous female lead in this play about the Queen’s weekly meetings with her Prime Ministers. It helps to be of an age or knowledge to remember many of the current affairs referenced in this play and to be able to instantly recognise the various PMs as they come on stage. It is not done in chronological order but as a series of vignettes strung together by a narrator and conversations between Helen Mirren and her younger self – beautifully played by the young actress on the night we saw it and trying to give us a glimpse of how much like other ‘gals’ she was and had independent spirit.

But Helen Mirren is a star turn. Able to play a woman from 25 to 85 and transform herself before our very eyes. How does she look so frumpy and solid in later life when we see her dazzle in her 1950s black dress as she takes over from her father? Yes clever costuming, but it was in her stance – her feet more solidly planted further apart as she aged, her shoulders slightly dropped, her voice less light and bright. And the actual costume changes done on stage are incredible. I missed them all. Suddenly she is in a different frock, a new era, greyer hair. Very clever.

And the supporting cast are great. Yes, John Major is more Spitting Image than reality, but all of them captured an essence of the man (or woman). And there are plenty of comdedy moments. Dry wit, acerbic put downs. A very easy couple of hours. For me the first half shone over the second, although the poignancy of Wilson’s concern over his mental faculties was beautifully done.

I missed there being no Blair. But there is no Heath either. But there is currency in the script – and I imagine it must evolve if there is a big newsworthy event they can throw a line in about.

This is one to take the over 40s to. Preferably with a little knowledge of British PMs and monarchy, and not looking for hard hitting political satire or anti-monarchy sentiment. It’s as British as a WI baking show and as easily enjoyable as one of their glorious home made sponges. Nearly Four stars.

  

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Performance Schedule:
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm (7pm on 5th May 2015)
Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm


 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

All performances EXCEPT Saturday Evenings:
Stalls:
Rows A to W: £59.50 except:
"Premium Seats" rows E to L 7 to 16: £85
Row X: £49.50

Dress Circle:
Rows A to G: £59.50 except:
"Premium Seats" row A 13 to 20, B 12 to 20 and C 12 to 21: £85
"Restricted View" seats row A 2 to 5, 27 to 31; B 1 to 5, 27 to 32; C 4, 5, 28, 29, 30; D 4, 5, 6, 26, 27, 28: £49.50

Upper Circle:
Rows A to D: £49.50 except
"Restricted View" seats row A 1 to 4 and 25 to 28; B 2, 3, 4, 24, 25, 26; C 3, 4, 5, 23, 24, 25; D 3 to 6 and 22 to 25: £22.50
Rows E and F: £22.50

Boxes:
Stalls A and B: £59.50
Dress Circle A, B and C: £59.50
Upper Circle A, B, C and D: £49.50

 

 


Saturday Evening performances ONLY:
Stalls:
Rows A to W: £62.50 except:
"Premium Seats" rows E to L 7 to 16: £85
Row X: £49.50

Dress Circle:
Rows A to G: £62.50 except:
"Premium Seats" row A 13 to 20, B 12 to 20 and C 12 to 21: £85
"Restricted View" seats row A 2 to 5, 27 to 31; B 1 to 5, 27 to 32; C 4, 5, 28, 29, 30; D 4, 5, 6, 26, 27, 28: £49.50

Upper Circle:
Rows A to D: £49.50 except
"Restricted View" seats row A 1 to 4 and 25 to 28; B 2, 3, 4, 24, 25, 26; C 3, 4, 5, 23, 24, 25; D 3 to 6 and 22 to 25: £22.50
Rows E and F: £22.50

Boxes:
Stalls A and B: £62.50
Dress Circle A, B and C: £62.50
Upper Circle A, B, C and D: £49.50

 


Day Seats": A limited number, availability and location at box office discretion, may be available to personal callers at the box office from 10am on the day of performance at all performances, priced £20 each. These may be limited to one or two tickets per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.


Some details may change. The monkey will update as available.
 


 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Buying Tickets Online:

Other Box Office Information

Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.
Theatre Box Office:
www.nimaxtheatres.com
 

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
A £3 per ticket booking fee is charged. A £1 per ticket optional postage fee is charged. No fee for printing tickets at home or box office collection.

 

 

Other Online Choices (with S.T.A.R. genuine ticket agencies):

When the box office does not have seats available, or you require an alternative choice of seats, the Theatremonkey Ticketshop, telephone 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom), agency service can offer seats with a variable "per ticket" service charge - £13 on £59.50 tickets (£18 on £85, £9.50 on £49.50, £3.50 on £22.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £21 on £85, £17 on £62.50, £13.50 on £49.50, £7 on £22.50 Friday and Saturday seats). More than the box office, but well worth trying as it often has tickets when other companies do not! Note that this system will confirm exact seat numbers prior to purchase. A £1.95 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee may apply on some transactions by telephone. NO handling fee applies for online purchases.

Another alternative is www.seetickets.com / telephone 0870 830 0200 which offers tickets with booking fee of £5.95 on £59.50 tickets (£13.50 on £85, £4.95 on £49.50, £2.25 on £22.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £12.75 on £85, £9.47 on £62.50, £7.42 on £49.50, £3.37 on £22.50 Friday and Saturday seats). A £2.75 per booking, not per ticket, transaction fee is also added on all bookings. (FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times).

www.ticketmaster.co.uk levy a booking fee of £6.25 on £59.50 tickets (£8.90 on £85, £5.25 on £49.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £11.50 on £85, £8.50 on £62.50, £6.70 on £49.50 Friday and Saturday seats), per ticket and a £2.85 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee on all bookings. The site also usually allows you to select your own seats from those it has available.

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer a booking fee of £16.50 on £59.50 tickets (£23 on £85, £13.50 or £9 on £49.50, £4 on £22.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £23 on £85, £17.50 on £62.50, £13.50 or £9 on £49.50, £4 on £22.50 Friday and Saturday seats). A postage charge of £2.25 per booking, not per ticket may be applied to bookings made from UK addresses more than 5 days before the performance. The "Flexiticket" Exchange Service, allowing FREE transfer / cancellation (credit note up to 12 months) of your booking up to 3 days before the performance is also available for £2.50 per ticket. "Meal and Show" packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.

Lastminute.com offer a booking fee of £7 on £59.50 tickets (£5.50 on £49.50, £2.50 on £22.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £7 on £62.50, £9 on £49.50, £4 on £22.50 Friday Evening and Saturday Afternoon seats / £11 on £62.50, £9 on £49.50, £4 on £22.50 Saturday Evening seats) per ticket. NOTE: Seat numbers are NOT available in advance from this company. All seats booked in the same price group will, of course, be together or at the very least be in front or behind each other in the theatre. In the very unlikely event of this not being possible this company will call you and give you the option of cancelling your booking. However if booking in two or more price bands, you will not be sat together. Please DO NOT purchase if this is unacceptable to you, as all tickets are sold subject to this condition. Discounts and "Meal and Show" packages may also be available.

Londontheatredirect.com offer a booking fee of £13.75 on £59.50 tickets (£19.50 on £85, £11.50 on £49.50 seats Monday to Thursday / £19.50 on £85, £14.50 on £62.50, £11.50 on £49.50, £5.25 on £22.50 Friday and Saturday seats) per ticket. Collecting tickets from the box office before your performance is free, OR, if required and time allows, there is a postage charge option of of £2.95 (£4.95 to non-UK addresses) per booking, not per ticket applies to all bookings. Optional Ticket Insurance is also available. Discounts and Meal and Show Packages may also be available.



ALSO SEE Tickettree.com for great value "hotel and theatre ticket" packages.


 

Box Office Information:
Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.
Theatre Box Office:
844 482 9671
Operated by Quay Tickets Agency on behalf of the venue.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
A £3 per ticket booking fee is charged. A £1 per ticket optional postage fee is charged. No fee for printing tickets at home or box office collection.



 

For personal callers or by post: Shaftesbury Avenue, London. W1V 7HD
No booking fee for personal callers.

Special Access Needs Customers:
Wheelchair users and other registered disabled theatregoers can book their seats and enquire about concessionary prices that may be available to them on a dedicated phone line. See Notes.
 

 

 
 
Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Theatre Seat Opinions:
Please remember that cheaper seats often do not offer the same view / location quality as top price ones, and that ticket prices are designed to reflect this difference.

 

 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Upper Circle Balcony Notes
STALLS 
Layout:
The Dress Circle overhangs the outermost three seats in all rows from F, and the centre stalls from around row M.
Rows T to X lose their view of the top of the stage view due to circle overhang.

Speakers hanging under the circle are also in view from row R back.

Split into front and rear sections by an aisle in front of row T.

Rows A to R are split by a centre aisle for some, but not all, productions.

The seats are well raked (sloped floor to help see over rows in front) from around row L - and seats are off-set and slightly raised from row G back. Row X is on a step, so is raised further.

Legroom:
More than acceptable for all but the tallest throughout the Stalls, with a few exceptions. Rows J and R seem to have less space for those over 5ft 10 or so. Rows W and X are mostly very cramped for those over 5ft 9 or so, though feet can go under seats in front and the plinth raising helps.

Row T offers unlimited extra space as a gangway runs in front of it.

X6 has nothing in front of it. V7 has 99% of the seat width free ahead of it. C1, E1, F1 and 21, G 1 and 22 have 10% of the seat width clear ahead of them.

Choosing Seats in General:
Advance booking rows A to D before the set has been installed is a gamble.

When the stage is low, those rows have near-perfect views, and if row A is reduced as "Day Seats" they are a bargain.

If the set has been placed on a plinth, or the stage floor raised, then those in rows A to D will experience neck strain looking upwards - for many rows B and C at top price might be avoidable due to this. If row A isn't discounted, casual visitors paying top price might want to avoid this row too.

A good rake in the stalls otherwise ensures good to excellent views from almost all seats in rows G to T. A centre aisle means the prime seats in the middle of the theatre from row D back have the added luxury of space next to them.

The rest of row T, and V behind it, are nicely central, and central row T seats 11 and (most of) 12 get the bonus of legroom and a view straight down the centre aisle. Wheelchair users can either park at the ends of stalls row R, for a reasonable view; or transfer to any aisle seat.

Behind these, rows W and X, when cheaper, are worth considering for vertigo-sufferers with short legs, feels the monkey. Any discount may indicate a restricted view of the set, but rarely reflects the lack of legroom.

If rows back to X are indeed top price, monkey rates rows from V back avoidable for comfort alone. At low price for other productions row X is fair value for the shorter, it feels, unless you have smaller theatremonkeys in tow.

General Hazard Notes:
The changing height of the stage affects the desirability of rows A to D far more than any other theatre in London.

Speakers hanging under the circle appear in sightlines from row R back.

Row T is disturbed by others moving in front of them to their seats.

Rows W and X are cramped in their rear alcove that was once the cheap "pit" area.

Changes for the current production:
No centre aisle.

Central rows E to L are "premium." Your choice, feels the monkey, who would take central D, C or the pairs of seats beside the expensive ones in E to K, then L in that order, instead for similar views at less cash. It prefers to go back a row than off to the sides in this theatre, as the stage opening is quite narrow and viewing angles from row ends not brilliant, it feels.

Row X is cheaper than usual, a good bet for the 5ft 7 brigade who would be cramped in the circles at the same money. X6 and 17 have nothing in front, great for the very tall.

 

Reader Comments:
Updated row numbering adjusted for the new layout.
"A: "Let The Right One In" (April 2014). Bought as "day seats." If you're this close, I would advise picking seats centre or to the left of centre given the action on stage. The seats are practically on the stage but there are no obstructions in the production."

"
A: "I sat front row and view was fine. Stage slopes down and there's a rail then the stage so not too much in your face."

"A: I got a £10 day seat in the front row of the stalls. Excellent! I didn't find the stage high at all. The stages at the Savoy and Novello are higher than this! Maybe they have lowered it for this production? Or maybe it's just that I like being really up close and personal and don't even think about the stage height!"

"A6 and A7:  ("Blithe Spirit" March 2011). I was a bit disappointed about being here at first because I do think that sometimes you miss quite a lot by being on the front row. However, it was very interesting to see the actors at such close quarters and there was nothing to obstruct our view. I would have preferred more of an overview of the stage but I wouldn't discourage anyone from being on the front row, you get a good view of everything and there is plenty of leg room."

"A6 and A7: ("Day Seats" for "Jerusalem" (October 2011). It was mind blowing! The stage isn't too high, and none of the action is missed whatsoever. For such an emotionally tense show as this, I feel it would be spoilt if you sat too far back, but the view from here was amazing! Definitely worth the early start! Also, worth noting, there is no leg room issue here whatsoever! I could outstretch my legs fully, and still be no where near touching the stage (and I'm 6ft 2!) Finally, if you are sitting in seats 1 to 7 of the front row, be aware; you may get a little wet at various points! ;)"

"A12: ("Day Seats" for "Jerusalem" (October 2011). Got as a day seat for £10.  Extraordinary leg room (I almost felt like royalty!), and the ability to be that close to an extraordinary production was stellar.  Nothing more to report here besides amazing sight lines and the many bugs living in the set's grassy stage that fly about in your face, which makes one feel very much a part of the action!  If you sit on the other side of AA (house right), you might want to not hold or wear anything you like dry! ;)"

"B: "Urinetown" (September 2014). At the interval, I sat in an empty seat in row B, centre-stage. A fellow theatregoer who had a ticket for a seat in row B told me he'd be happier sitting further back. I'd estimate that you are looking up at more than 45 degrees to see the front of the upper level platform. The safety curtain was down (unlike at St James' Theatre where you could watch the set being changed at the interval), so I can't comment on the view of the actors on the upper level, but if we were missing lower legs, I'd suggest that those in row B missed a lot more."

"B16: "Urinetown" (September 2014). Front row seats. Excellent for leg space but you miss most of action on the top portion of set."

"Row D: at a discount - absolutely fine"

"D5: "The Madness of George III" (January 2012). Unobstructed view of the stage, slight neck-ache due to close stage proximity but nothing major, legroom was OK-ish (I'm 6' tall)."

"E10: "Urinetown" (September 2014). Reasonable leg room nice and central."

"F17 to 21: "Urinetown" (September 2014). Even the seat at the end of the row afforded an unobstructed view of the set, as the scenery (a cross-section through a large, round sewer tunnel that frames the stage half-way back) keeps the actors away from edges of the stage as they go upstage. The set itself, however, is split-level, with the upper level protruding to within a couple of metres of the front of the stage. This means that you spend half your time looking up at around 30 degrees in these seats.
The upper-level action is kept to the front half in Act I due to the scenery that forms Mr Cladwell's office, and the actors are usually very close to the front of the upper level. At most, we missed seeing the legs below the knee when they moved to the back wall of the office - nothing important. In Act II, however, the upper level becomes part of the sewer network (by removing the office wall) and action can now take place further back. Although the actors again keep mainly to the front part of the stage, one joke is missed when Hope Cladwell is sitting in her Father's chair where the office wall was once, as you can only see her from the waist upwards."

"Row G: (Monica). Which is too near as the stage is high, I would recommend sitting H and behind. It is a small theatre therefore most of the seats in the stalls probably have a good view". 

"G15: "Let The Right One In" (June 2014), (Andrew Davidson). Discounted by 50% through TKTS. Great view from here, good legroom though I’d have preferred a little steeper a rake, particularly if I was shorter."

"Row H: (John Lafferty). Our seats were in the seventh row and we were right on top of the action, of which we had an unencumbered view."

"Row J: ("The Madness of George III" January 2012): centre "Great" at a discount."

"Row K 5 to 7: (Rupi). Very good with a full view of the stage. There is a decent rake in this theatre, which means there isn't a problem looking over the head of the person in front of you."

"K15: (Graham). An excellent seat. Comfortable and, being over 6', I was also pleasantly surprised by the legroom compared to other theatres I have been in. There wasn't a huge amount, but I didn't feel trapped in my seat."

"K18: (Mark). Excellent."

"L9 and K10: (James, regular contributor). Great seats with a great rake. There was a particularly tall person in front of me as is always the way, but if it wasn’t for this then there’d be no problem with the seats at all. This was for a one-off performance though that didn’t have big sets / lighting, so it could be different for other productions."

"M13 and 14: ("The Country Girl" October 2010). excellent view of the whole stage, comfortable seats with good leg-room. Also I had no problem with hearing any of the actors."

"N9:  ("Jerusalem" October 2011). (James, regular contributor). A perfect place to see the show."

"P: ("Yes, Prime Minister" July 2011). It’s a lovely theatre, but a bit hot. I had a good-ish view from row P, though I had to lean sideways to see past the hair in row P. Mid-way through the first half a woman (in row P) opened a bag of crisps and munched and rustled her way through the next 10 minutes, much to the annoyance of everyone around her. Perhaps a £1 chav surcharge should be imposed."

"P7: (Wim). perfect view, reasonable leg room, comfortable chairs. I did move to the centre seat of row O (which was almost empty) during the break because of the luxurious leg space in front of that row."

"P14: ("The Madness of George III" (January 2012). £27.75 TKTS Booth. Excellent clear view, plenty of legroom and no sound issues. My first visit to the Apollo, and hopefully not my last. It is a lovely little theatre, although somewhat warm even at this time of year; maybe they had turned the heating up, as the vast majority of the audience looked as though they would be in danger of hyperthermia setting in, after sitting in a chill for nearly 3 hours. But the seat I had this time wouldn't be a problem in the future - the stage is very high, and I felt sorry for those in the front few rows who must have all had a severe neck ache."

"Q21 and Q22: "Urinetown" (September 2014). The last two seats on the left-hand end of row Q gave an unobstructed view of the set. No need to crane necks skyward to see the upper level of the set, and the left-hand side of the stage as used by the actors was in view (actors could be seen climbing and descending the ladder on the far left of the stage). The raking and the staggered seating meant that my 5'8" theatre buddy had a good view of the stage. As a 6'2" theatregoer, I usually worry about those behind and try to shimmy down in my seat. No need in Q22 as there isn't a seat behind, so I was able to sit bolt upright and I could see the whole of the stage perfectly with legroom to spare. To make it an even better evening, these were the seats I was assigned as day seats for just £20 each. Brilliant!"

"Row X: Centre seat. I'm only 5'10.5" tall but for the first time in my life I found I could NOT sit in the seat. It was unbearably uncomfortable. There is next to no leg room and my knees would have been either continually bumping the back of or around the ears of the person sitting in front of me. I kindly asked the House Manager if I could have an aisle seat. There were very accommodating stating that they realise the limited legroom in those seats. I ended up in V1 which is fantastic, perfect view because the back stall seats are pretty much centre."



Stalls Boxes
Layout:
Boxes A and B are either side of the stage. Each box has three seats.

Legroom:
Fine, as ordinary chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
If available, these boxes are worth considering as an alternative to seats in the Circles when sold at second or third price.

Take all 3 seats for privacy and to shift your chair for the best view...

General Hazard Notes:
Designated restricted view as the nearest side of stage cannot be seen.

May be shared with speakers.

Changes for the current production:
Fairly expensive at top price, but close to the action - even if you will miss a bit (box B in particular).

Reader Comments:
"
Box A:
("Carrie's War" July 2009). We booked for box D, but were shunted down to box A as they closed the dress circle. Box A was not good for this one as so much takes place out of your view."



DRESS CIRCLE 
Layout:
A shallow ledge above and at the back of the stalls, with a poor rake except where rows F and G are built up at the back.

Seats are split into a central and two side blocks by aisles.

Legroom:
Poor throughout the circle for many over 5ft 8, worst in rows A and C in the centre, and only fit for those under 5ft 6 in the side blocks of row F - and only a little better in front in the sides of row E. Things have been improved by new, raised seating in rows E and F, but still tight.

Central block rows B, D, E, F and G have the most. Those up to 5ft 8 should be comfortable and it's possible to move legs into the gap between the seats in front to improve things further. For those over 6ft, though, stalls row T remains a must, feels the monkey.

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
Seats here offer only fair value for money as they are far from the stage and suffer from the shallow rake, affecting the view from row C back. Front two rows are best bet for view (if not "premium price").

One reader liked row G as he found it quite comfortable.

Side Blocks:
The two side blocks curve inwards, and many seats here are designated restricted view due to the viewing angle precluding seeing the side eighth of the stage. These seats are - Row A 2, 3, 4, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; B 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32; C 4, 5, 28, 29, 30; D 4, 5, 6, 26, 27, 28. It is probably worth avoiding them, and the rest of the seats in these blocks too. If you must, take those seats closest to the centre aisle.

If taller than 5ft 8, don't even think of taking side block row F 7 to 10, and think seriously about taking F 23 to 28 or anything more than three seats off the centre aisle in side block row E.

General Hazard Notes:
A single metal bar in front of the aisles affects the view from row A seats 12,13, 20 and 21.

The further outwards you go, the less seats in both side blocks face centre stage.

Changes for the current production:
Central rows A to C are "premium" seats. , if "front row circle" is your thing, your call, it feels. Taller folk may find stalls premium seats have more legroom, though.

Outermost side block A to D are reduced. B 4, 4, 27 and 28, C 5, 28 and 29 and D 6 and 26 may be worth a glance if stalls row X and upper circle boxes have gone and you are under 5ft6 or so.

Row F is worth avoiding unless 5ft 5, particularly at top price.


Reader Comments:
"A2: "All My Sons" May 2010): Bit of a side view but missed very little. As this was a £10 'day seat' it was fantastic value."

“A27 and 28: “Twelfth Night,” (Chris B). These seats are front row in the curve of the dress circle to the left as you look at the stage. The seats feel very close to the stage too (overhang about row D/E in the stalls) and provide a beautifully clear, up close view. Whilst it is a slight side view, you miss nothing for Twelfth night and only a small slice of the very left hand side of the stage. This doesn't affect the enjoyment of the play at all. The legroom is sufficient but not ample.”

"A27 and 28: "Let The Right One In" (May 2014). Good place to see the show. Sitting back you lose a small corner of the front of the stage, but as long as you are able to lean forward (as we could as no-one was in the seats behind) you can see all but the entire stage. From these seats the actors are very close and you can see everything. Only drawback is a lack of legroom."

"C28: "Let The Right One In" (April 2014) (Burntcopper). Very good view, unrestricted of everything aside from the sweet shop scenes on front left of stage, but just have to sit up straight and lean forward a bit for full view. Newsflash: turns out the gilt cherubs are gold under the dust. New fabric ceiling is gorgeous."

"E17 and 18: "Urinetown" (October 2014). View is near to perfect, in the middle, and being in the dress circle allow to see comfortably both levels of the show without missing anything. Only downside is, as mentioned in the general dress circle seats comment, legroom is awful. I'm so glad I had no one next to me, allowing me to put my legs sideways (I'm 6'2'') Not sure how I would have coped for 2 hours without this extra space! (should have listened to Monkey - maybe the legroom comment for the dress circle should be in bold!!)."

"F1, F2, F3, F4: ("Jerusalem" November 2011). The leg room in these seats is so bad they can only be suitable for children. Even Ryanair wouldn’t allow seats like this. Yet they charged £55 for the 3 hours of discomfort – made worse by having a set of those stupid little binoculars on the back of the seat in front of F1. We had to stand for part of the performance and the discomfort significantly reduced our enjoyment of the evening. AVOID them at all costs!. EDITOR'S COMMENT: Luckily, the monkey happens to know the company who put those binoculars into the theatres. Within a week they responded that,
"The feedback was correct and this morning (January 2012) we have moved the opera glass holder into a position where it won’t ‘restrict legroom’."

"F18 and 19: "Let The Right One In" (May 2014). Ideal seats in terms of positioning as you are directly in front of the stage and the whole of the stage is visible. You are also close enough to see expressions on the actor’s faces. There are no issues caused by the overhang of the Upper Circle. Legroom is decent with no need to fidget felt during the first act. However, if you have a tall person in front of you (or a lady with ‘large hair’ as was the case last night) then the rake – which appears steep enough to avoid any line of sight issues – is just not enough to avoid your view being partially blocked."

"G1 and 2: Despite being on the back row, seats G1 and G2 afforded an excellent view and there was plenty of leg room."







Dress Circle Boxes
Layout:
Boxes C, D and E are at Dress Circle level next to the stage. C has 4 seats, D and E have 3 each.

Legroom:
Fine, as all contain movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
All offer adequate but side on views of the stage. Box D is best, being halfway between stage and Dress Circle.

If available these boxes are worth considering as an alternative to seats in the Circles for comfort, but not really for view.

General Hazard Notes:
Side views.

Changes for the current production:
Top price. Pretty average, feels the monkey. Go for B then A then C.

Reader Comments:
"Box C: ("All My Sons" June 2010). (Mark). It was pretty good as a £10 day seat. Missed about 10% of the stage but for £10 that is to be expected."

 


UPPER CIRCLE
Called the "GRAND CIRCLE" in this theatre.

Layout:
High up, with a shallow rake except rows E and F, which are raised. The raise may induce vertigo from these rows.

The balcony above overhangs the circle but does not affect the view noticeably.

In two blocks, with a centre aisle. As rows extend out to the sides, seats don't face centre stage - side views only there!

Legroom:
Poor in all rows, notably A and B. Centre aisle seats should be requested for maximum comfort and legroom declines as you move outwards to the sides.

Rows D to F have the most. Those up to 5ft 7 should be just comfortable and it's possible to move legs into the gap between the seats in front to improve things further. For those over 6ft, though, stalls row O remains a must, feels the monkey.

Choosing Seats in General:
If forced to sit here, row B away from the aisle is best of the poor bunch, the rest offer average value for a fairly distant view...even the box office are not keen on this Upper Circle.

Try to stay within 5 seats (3 in row F) of the aisle. If forced outwards, go for the first "restricted view" seat nearest the "full price" zone available. You might as well have the best view possible, and things only get worse as you move on outwards.

General Hazard Notes:
A metal bar runs across the side front of the circle, with a second bar at the ends of the aisles, affecting the view in outermost row A, notably seats 6, 18, 19 and 33 and B 12 and 13.

Shallow rake means you won't see over the head of a tall person in front in rows B to D.

Row A, rows B and C 1 to 3, D to F seats 1 to 4, Row B 23 to 25, Row C 22 to 25, Row D 21 to 23, Row E 19 to 22 and row F 17 to 20 are designated restricted view. It is worth avoiding the next two seats as well, in rows B to F, to be on the safe side unless the price is good enough to make sitting here a bargain. Theatremonkey usually finds not.

Changes for the current production:
Row A central seats are not cheaper. and worth skipping for comfort alone, if not view, the monkey feels. Applicable to all seats at second price: take upper circle boxes or stalls row X instead for comfort alone.

Seats more than around 6 off the centre aisle may miss action at the sides of the stage, but only the outermost 4 (3 in B and C) are discounted for that. Avoid the next 4 in (3 in B and C) and again go for those boxes or X instead.

Rows E and F are cheapest in the theatre, and the central 6 are about fair value, the monkey feels.
 

Reader Comments:
"A19 and 20: ("Jerusalem" January 2010). (Deb, regular theatregoer). I noted that these were listed as seats to avoid. When we took our seats, we found that we had to sit bolt upright or lean forward in order to see the front of the stage (a three hour show! Hard on the back and neck). I would really advise people to avoid these, as they are not even particularly cheap. Very luckily for us, most of the action took place mid-stage, and it was a great play, so it didn't ruin the evening, but I would avoid Upper Circle in future, and wish the box office would be more honest about what constitutes restricted view. I think for nearly £40 you should be able to see the whole stage!"

“A 21 and 22: “Idina Menzel” (Chris B). This does not feel that high up as far as upper circles go. You get a good overview of the stage and as its the front row there's nothing to block the clear view. You are just about close enough to make out facial expressions. However the legroom is quite restricted, fine if you've short legs but a struggle if you're over 6 foot.”

"A 25 and 26: ("Jerusalem" January 2010). (C Omran). Brilliant play, what a pity we couldn’t enjoy it in full, due to poor sightline, despite paying £47.50 plus £3.80 booking fee per ticket. These were purchased through lastminute.com, and as they were a Christmas present we went for the higher price, and they were not marketed, or priced, as Restricted View. When we queried this, we were handed a form with the address to complain to, and we were obviously not the first, as the assistant came armed with a pile, ready to hand out. As our tickets were A25 and 26, front row upper circle, obviously we thought that being front row we would have a good view... but there is a wide ledge in front of balcony, then a wide bank of lights beyond that, so left stage facing was completely out of view. A lot of the action takes place in that part of the stage it became increasingly frustrating. Talking to people outside during the interval, the general feeling was the same, that they have your money, and as they are not relying on ‘repeat’ bookings they can do what they like. All in all it was a very uncomfortable 3 hours 10 minutes as we struggled to find a comfortable position to sit with a decent view of stage. We go to theatre regularly, and yes, if we buy low price tickets, expect there to be a certain element of chance in the view, but not when you pay for front row seats. Yes, it is a very old theatre with all the accompanying problems adapting to modern lighting etc, but stop fleecing the public."

"B13: (Julian Taylor). would that I had spotted the red mark of doom before booking! The seat itself seemed designed for the benefit of a contortionist, though, oddly enough, knee-room was adequate for my 6ft plus. My view of the action was blocked almost entirely by the head of the person in front, who leant forward for the duration, this, and the brass bar blocked any view of action downstage - and there was a lot of it for the production I saw ("Virginia Woolf" in Spring 2006)."

Upper Circle Boxes
Layout:
Boxes F and G are above boxes C, D and E at Upper Circle level. 

Each box seats two people.

Legroom:
Good, as seating is in movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
These offer similar views to the Dress Circle boxes below, from a higher level. Normally sold at third price or less, they are value for money only because they promise greater comfort than an upper circle seat at the same price. That, though, may well be worth sacrificing a view of almost half the stage for.

General Hazard Notes:
View lost of a good part of the stage nearest to you.

Changes for the current production:
Decent value and a good alternative to stalls row X at the same price. Also take them if taller than 5ft 7 over any dress or  upper circle ticket. Take A and B before C and D for view.
 

Reader Comments:
"
Box C: (
"All My Sons" June 2010): I cannot recommend is the view from box C. I spent most of the performance standing up and leaning over the edge as that was the only way I could see more than half of the stage – I noticed the lady in box B doing the same. I am a dedicated box user (being broader in the beam than most), and I have to say that this box, for this play, is the worst view I have ever had, and they seem to think that this is worth £46. No way! It was overpriced at the original £33, not for this body again."



BALCONY
Layout:
Directly above the Upper Circle, again high up, with a shallow rake.

In two blocks, with a centre aisle. As rows extend out to the sides, seats don't face centre stage - side views only there!

Legroom:
Very tight in all seats, worst in row A.

Choosing Seats in General:
A shallow rake and being so high up means a modest view of the stage. The 6 seats either end of rows A to C are worst, as they curve to the sides of the auditorium. Rows D to F just induce vertigo. Usually, take C first, before B, then D - or for those who don't mind the height, pick E over D and save a few pounds if row E is discounted.

The monkey would skip central row A at bottom price for a slightly improved view and comfort behind that. To explain, row A is uncomfortable. Often, though, the very ends of rows B and C are reduced to the same price as the middle of row A. When that does happen, Monkey feeling is that B 6 and 25 and C 5 and 24, all next to the more expensive seats, are the most average of the bunch and may be worth a look for those desperate for a ticket. Not a recommendation particularly, just an observation of a way to sit nearer more expensive seats and save a very little cash - if you have to see the show and don't get much other choice. Do be aware that the lack of legroom will tell during a three hour play in all seats here...

All seats here, except those noted, normally offer a cheap way in to the show and value exactly matching the low price.

General Hazard Notes:
So high that you get a superb view of aircraft at maximum cruising height can be seen below you, subject to cloud cover.

A double height metal bar appears at the ends of the aisles, affecting the view in row A, notably seats 20 and 21.

High ledge in front of row A.

Bars run between the rows too, but don't really affect the view for any but the absolute shortest. Some find them reassuring as well.

Changes for the current production:
Not in use.

 

Reader Comments:
"A12 to 15: had to move as the view is so restricted - not by a safety bar, but by a high safety ledge. The seats are also relatively low to the floor, which means you have no choice but to lean forward on to the ledge if you want to have any chance of seeing the stage. Dreadful seats, with very little legroom too."

"B12 and 13: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" (May 2013), (Taljaard). A bit high but at £12 and if booked through the National Theatre no booking fee it is the best buy in London."

"B21 and B22: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" (May 2013), (Taljaard). Quite high but very little problem seeing everything."



Notes
Total 776 seats

Air-conditioning.

Infrared headsets, not working in the front row of the stalls. If short sighted and deaf, a problem! Guide dogs can be dogsat outside. 

The theatre has a stair lift to allow wheelchair users into the venue. They can park at either end of stalls row R. There is also an adapted toilet available. The monkey salutes Nimax Theatres for an amazing improvement in facilities at this venue when it was owned by them. Interestingly, the stair lift is installed in the original "Pit" entrance - at one time the "Pit" was an area of cheap seating at the rear of the stalls.

Other good news is that there are two disabled parking spaces behind the theatre in Archer Street. Fuller details from Nimax Theatres on 0844 482 9677 (10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email access(insert the @ symbol here)nimaxtheatres.com. A "venue access guide" from the team who created book "Theatremonkey: A Guide to London's West End," is available to download in PDF format by clicking here.

No food except Ice cream and confectionery.

Two bars. Stalls and Upper Circle.

Seven Toilets. Stalls 1 gents 1 cubicle, 2 ladies, 3 and 4 cubicles respectively; 1 adapted disabled unit. Upper Circle 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 2 cubicles; Balcony 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 2 cubicles.

Reader Taljaard also notes,
"Totally random, but my walk from the Donmar theatre to Piccadilly took me down Shaftesbury Avenue and I really noticed how magnificently well it is lit and looks. Fantastic job done on the exterior and the jewel on the Avenue!"


 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Getting to this Theatre
Find this theatre on a Street Map. The theatre is just to the right of the arrow.
Nearest Underground Station Buses Car Park
Nearest Underground Station:
Piccadilly Circus - Piccadilly (Dark Blue) and Bakerloo (Brown) lines.

The escalator from the platforms ends in a large circular underground area. 

After leaving the barriers, turn to your left, and follow the curve of the barriers around until you see an exit to your right with the sign "Subway 4" over it. Walk under this sign.

Walk through this tunnel and take the first staircase to your right, marked "Shaftesbury Avenue", take the stairs up to the street.

At the top of the stairs, take a very sharp "U Turn" through 180 degrees to your left. Look forwards and upwards for the huge "Sanyo" sign. Walk forwards towards it.

The busy road to your left is Shaftesbury Avenue. If you see the Prince of Wales Theatre, and Trocadero centre, wrong way.

For the Apollo Theatre cross the road and turn to your right, walk under the covered area where the cash ATM's and street artists are. Walk straight on, crossing Denman Street, and Great Windmill Street. Pass the Lyric Theatre and the Apollo Theatre is the next on Shaftesbury Avenue.

 

Buses:
14,19, 22B, 38,53,88,94,159 To Shaftesbury Avenue.

 

Taxi:
Hail one in the busy street outside the venue.

 

Car Park:
Denman Street. Turn to your left as you leave the car park. If you see the Piccadilly Theatre, wrong way. Walk to the end of the street and turn left. Walk straight on, crossing Great Windmill Street, Pass the Lyric Theatre and the Apollo Theatre is the next on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Also possible is Newport Place, China Town. The "Theatreland Parking Scheme" may be available here. Call Q-Park car parks on 0870 442 0104 or see http://www.q-park.co.uk for details. At this car park, parking under the "Theatreland Parking Scheme" allows a 50% discount in cost. Spaces CANNOT be reserved at these prices, so choose whether you would prefer to book and pay more, or use this scheme.

If you choose the "Theatreland Parking Scheme", you must get your car park ticket validated at the theatre's box office counter (the theatre attendant will insert the car parking ticket into a small machine which updates the information held on the magnetic strip on the reverse, thus enabling the discount). When you pay using the machines at the car park, 50% will be deducted from the full tariff. You may park for up to 24 hours using this scheme and it is endorsed by the Society of London Theatre.

For a full list of car parks and theatres that participate in the 50% off theatreland scheme see http://www.q-park.co.uk.


 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

 

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