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

CHARING CROSS THEATRE
(formerly the New Players Theatre)

 


THE BRAILLE LEGACY (musical)
Ends 24th June 2017.
Audio Described performances: 27th and 29th May 2017.



“The Braille Legacy” tells the thrilling, true, inspirational and epic story of Louis Braille, a young blind boy who wanted the same chance in life as those who see and ended up improving the lives of millions of blind people around the world.

In Paris in the 19th century, blind people were victims of profound discrimination. Louis Braille, a bright young mind with a mad dream, arrives at the Royal Institute of Blind Youth, searching for the same chance as everyone else: to be free and independent. But he soon discovers that people and things aren’t always what they first seem. By sheer determination and courage he stumbles upon something revolutionary: a simple idea, a genius invention, a legacy. Two hundred years ago, Louis Braille changed the world by inventing the tactile system of communication, the Braille alphabet, liberating the “People of the Night” and introducing literacy, knowledge and culture to a people who were otherwise trapped. It was their journey into the light.

The tale of a revolution and an heroic fight for independence, with the themes of difference, freedom, hope and love and the triumph of human values over adversity.

This world première will star


Jérôme Pradon, whose West End credits include the UK premiere of the musical “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”, Guillaume in “Martin Guerre”, The Man in “Whistle Down the Wind”, Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” musical, Chris in “Miss Saigon” and Javert in “Les Misérables” in London and Marius in Paris, as well as Judas in the Emmy-winning video of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Joining him are:


Jason Broderick (“Godspell” UK tour, “Anna Nicole - The Opera” Royal Opera House); Tate-Eliot Drew (“My Lands Shore” Ye Olde Rose N Crown Theatre); Will Haswell (“Jersey Boys” West End, Pinocchio in ‘Shrek the Musical” UK tour); Lottie Henshall (“Doctors” BBC1); Sarah-Marie Maxwell (“She Loves Me” Menier Chocolate Factory, “Top Hat” UK tour); Matthew McDonald (“Death Takes a Holiday” Charing Cross Theatre, “Allegro” Southwark Playhouse); Kate Milner-Evans (“Showboat” West End, Carlotta in “The Phantom of the Opera”); Janet Mooney (West End includes “Les Miserables” and “Love Never Dies”); Ceili O’Connor (“Grand Hotel” Southwark Playhouse, “Evita” UK tour); Michael Remick (West End includes “Dirty Dancing” and “The Sound of Music”); Ashley Stillburn (Corrado in “Death Takes A Holiday” Charing Cross Theatre, “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables” West End); Jack Wolfe (is making his professional stage debut as Louis Braille); and a child cast featuring Guillermo Bedward, Thomas Brown, Tallulah Byrne, Beau Cripps, Ilan Galkoff, Honey Harrison-Maw, Eliz Hassan, Megan Haynes, Zachary Loonie, Mimi Slinger, Ophir Fifi Tal, William Thompson.

“The Braille Legacy” has an original French Book and Lyrics by Sébastien Lancrenon, Music by Jean-Baptiste Saudray, with an English translation by Ranjit Bolt. Music Supervision and Orchestrations are by Simon Lee.

CREATIVE TEAM


Director: Thom Southerland
Music Supervision and Orchestrations: Simon Lee
Set Designer: Tim Shortall
Costume Designer: Jonathan Lipman
Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson
Casting: Stephen Crockett at Grindrod Casting and Jo Hawes for children’s casting
Music Preparation: Simone Manfredini

Producers: The Braille Legacy Ltd by arrangement with Colbert Entertainment Ltd
Associate Producer: Kayla Hain
General Management: Charing Cross Theatre Productions Ltd. Steven M. Levy

Photo credit: Scott Rylander.

 

Theatremonkey Opinion:
At the Palais des Sports, Paris, in September 1980, a mere 500,000 people were lucky enough to witness the birth of a show that went on to become a theatrical legend. Last night, history repeated itself - on a somewhat smaller scale – as 276 theatregoers (and two gorgeous Labrador guide-dogs) had what may well prove to be a very similar experience.

In 1820s Paris, blind children have only Doctor Pignier (Jerome Pradon) and his team at the “Royal Institute for Blind Youth” to speak for and educate them. Even as the Government withdraw funding (producing an ironic snort from a section of the press night audience), Captain Charles Barbier de la Serre (Michael Remick) attempts to advocate for them and presents his “night reading” system of raised dots on paper as an alternative to the difficult raised letters currently in use. Young pupil Louis Braille (Jack Wolfe) simplifies the system, and changes the lives of the blind community forever.

This theatrical debut should change the life of young Mr Wolfe forever, too. His first professional engagement is breathtakingly accomplished, his musical theatre skills making feather-lightness of a heavy role. With Pradon’s paternalism adding to the warmth and Remick’s military bearing preventing the whole collapsing into schmaltz, it’s a fine trio at the show’s heart.

There’s also strong work from Celi O’Connor as the institute’s matron, Jason Broderick as Gabriel (enemy then friend of Braille), and Lottie Henshall as Rose, the Captain’s daughter. The “Coupvray Group” of children – notably Tallulah Byrne as Lepage - add much to the action, particularly when director Thom Southerland showers them with broken hope in a simple yet heart-breaking sequence.

Indeed, he makes thorough and consistent use of Tim Shortall’s two-teir revolving school set and passerelle. Tim Lutkin’s lighting keeps the school in shadow, only emerging into the light as it dawns for the community, and Jonathan Lipman’s moving idea of blindfolds – which Southerland builds symbolically on, heighten the tale.

Jean-Baptiste Saudray’s music is simply beautiful. The haunting “In These Words I See” and “The Gift Is In Your Hands” as fine a pair of tunes as ever heard in musical theatre. Sebastien Lancrenon’s book may wind things up a little too quickly, but the fact the tale is economically told means there is space for development – and there is enormous credit to be given for the unsensationalised incorporation of one horrifying twist. Irritatingly, Ranjit Bolt’s lyric translation is far too reliant on the ‘rhyming dictionary,’ and it is here, and only here, that the show requires a level of remedial work.

Like the “Les Misérables” of 1980, “The Braille Legacy” has a French creative team telling an important French story in a totally individual way. Also like the “Les Misérables” of 1980, it is perhaps not quite the ‘finished product.’ And yet, and yet, the whole is enthralling, exciting and refreshingly different that it deserves not only the work it needs, but audience numbers to match.

Most important, the show must have a “children’s edition” immediately, both one for ‘full production’ and also simply for ‘choir and narrator,’ for this is an absolute must for schools to perform.

An inspiring story, in a profoundly moving musical version, universal acclaim for this should be assured.

Four stars – and it will be five in the future, the monkey is certain.

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

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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 Friday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm

Runs 2 hours approximately.


 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here


Stalls
Rows C to E and H to V: £32.50
"Premium Seats" rows F and G: £39.50 including a programme and glass of "bubbly" (alcohol cannot be served to those aged under 18, proof of age may be requested and the right to refuse service is reserved. Choice of brand and provision of items is at venue discretion. No refund is given for unused vouchers).
Rows W and X: £29.50

Balcony
All seats: £22.50

Benches
All seats: £17.50



 

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.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk
Sales are handled by the venue.
 

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
A fee of £3 per ticket, plus 50p per ticket "restoration levy" applies.
 

 

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

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer £39.50 seats with a £3.50 booking fee per ticket. A postage charge of £1.45 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 £1.99 per ticket. Discounts and "Meal and Show" packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.






Other Independent S.T.A.R. ticket agencies may also offer an alternative choice of seats.
 

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:
Telephone: 08444 930 650
Answered by the theatre.

 

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
A fee of £3 per ticket, plus 50p per ticket "restoration levy" applies.
 

 

For personal callers: The Arches, Villiers Street, London. WC2N 6NG
No booking fee for personal callers. This box office is open from 2 hours before performances - roughly 5.30pm usually, on performance days only.

 

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.

www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk is the official theatre website.

 

 
 
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 Side Balconies Notes
STALLS 
Layout:
This consists of a front and rear block of seats, the division being a wide aisle in front of row K.

From row D back, the seats are raked (arranged to help see over rows in front) by means of steps (as in a Circle) rather than a sloped floor.

Rows L to N seem to have a slightly shallower tiering than row P back. 

Seating is a warm "plum" colour that should hide the stains, thinks the monkey!

Legroom:
Pretty generous to all but the tallest over 6ft or so, in all rows except the front one. The tallest should pick K or D1 and 12, as they have nothing in front. D 2 and 11 are 70% clear in front, too.

Rows from L back have an inch or two less, but are still comfortable.

Choosing Seats in General:
If all seats are sold at a single price, monkey advice is rows G to K first, then F, E, D, then A or L back, in that order.

Otherwise, it would normally take F, E, G then D, in that order, seats 3 to 10 being most central.

Moving back in this block, rows H to J seats 3 to 10 offer good views too, being about a third of the way back and just adequately raked to look slightly down on the stage. Before buying in the rear of the front block, though, it might just be worth considering the row behind...

...the front row of the rear block of seats. Row K, as the theatre have named it, is on a wide aisle and looks over the block in front and down onto the stage at comfortable height. The combination of nobody in front, a lower price and extra legroom makes the monkey feel this is the row it would choose. Several readers prefer J, though, as the angle to the stage is felt to be slightly better. The long gap in front of K can be cancelled out by a tall person in J blocking the view, it's been noted.

Moving further back, rows R and S seem a little further from the stage, so when all seats in the section are the same price, try for further forward.

General Hazard Notes:
Row A looks directly up at the low stage. A few may find it a bit of a neck ache, but compared to other theatres, there is little problem, and inventive pricing can often make them pretty good value, in monkey opinion.

The front block of seats consists of rows A to J. Rows A to C are on a flat, one reader felt back-sloping, floor. Though staggered to allow viewing between the seats in front, the shorter visitor - especially children - would probably be advised to avoid rows B and C completely, just to guard against having anyone tall in front of them.

When row A is removed and the stage forms a curve in front of row B, row B 4 to 7 have no legroom, and all may be blocked by stage lights in front. A sharp look up to the stage is also guaranteed - not great for top price seats, feels the monkey.

In the rear section, the side balconies (well, the lights on the front of them) slightly project out, intruding on the edges of the stage. Only purists will notice that one, though.

Row X has two extra problems worth noting. A sound desk is normally directly behind the central seats, and behind that is a bar serving drinks and refreshments. This means double noise from technicians both audio and alcohol service proficient. Not an atmosphere the monkey feels it would enjoy watching a show in. At a low price, though, the monkey feels it fair value.

Changes for the current productions:
Row C is the front row. The stage is low, with a "passerelle" (low walkway) at the front of it. This makes it look as if centre row C has no legroom - whereas in fact feet can go under the passerelle. Even so, the tall should avoid C 5, 6 and 7 in particular. Legroom is unlimited in the outermost 2 seats in row C.

Action takes place high on a two-tier set, so perhaps sitting around row E back is even safer.

Rows F and G are premium. Skip the outermost 2 seats, and take G over F - slightly better view.

All other seats are a single price back to V, so take K or J in that order first, then F, then E or L then M, D, N back to Q. R back is last pick at full price, feels the monkey.

At second price, W makes sense, and X isn't bad either.

A sound desk behind X 4 to 9 may prove distracting to purists.
 

Reader Comments:
"Row B: "Lost Boy" (January 2014). The stage has been built out in such a way that if you are seated in row B you are sat staring directly at the wall that supports the stage itself– even if you are above average height. Front row seats (for this show B is the front row) always come with a bit of requirement to look up. However, on this occasion the reward for a cricked neck is an uninterrupted view of the footlights and not much else. At this proximity in terms of blocking your view, the footlights are equivalent to sitting behind a pillar. Thankfully, a quick word with a friendly usher meant that we (and everyone else in Row B) were moved to empty seats elsewhere in the theatre – so the upshot is I can’t say how restricted the view would have been, but it would have been substantial. Moral always be nice to ushers.
Row B is on your warning list for this theatre – but based on my experience then for some productions it needs to be a severe warning. For me, in future if these were the only seats available I would question how badly I wanted to go.
As for the theatre, well I think that it is very bad of them to a) to be offering these seats for sale at all b) to charge the same price as elsewhere in the auditorium, and b) not give any restricted view guidance on their web site."

"D1 and 2: "Lost Boy" (January 2014). Third row from the stage for ‘Lost Boy’. We got these because of your seating plan, btw - they tried to give us row C but I asked to move a little further back, and D1 and 2 was the result! These were the right-aisle (as you face the stage) seats, which the box office told us were excellent. Lots of legroom (more on that in a moment) and close to the stage (the edge of the stage is at eye level, which is not an issue), but with good clearance over the two rows in front. Because D1 is beyond the last seat in row C, this is an excellent seat for someone of smaller stature as it ensures a clear view of the stage.
All seats have good legroom: row K especially so as it is the centre lane/aisle leading to the main exit, but if sitting there I would suggest row L as it gives slightly better clearance of row J at the front of the centre lane/aisle. All seats give a good view of the stage (with the possible exception of the front two rows as they are below the level of the stage so you lose a little at the very front with row C giving the worst views as there is a backward rake that tilts it below row B) as the rake is gradual but gives more than head clearance for each row. Only drawback is occasional train noise overhead, but not enough to cause annoyance. The theatre also has it’s own restaurant, serving up a small, but very good quality pre-show menu."

"D 11 and 12: "Titanic" (June 2016). Sat in D11 and 12 of this rather small theatre which were perfect if, like myself, you get a bit claustrophobic (but like to be at the front) as D12 is end of a 12 seat row with nothing in front of it. Great view from all seats due to one step rake at each row. Would probably avoid A to C as with the high but quite compact stage you tend to get the backs of actors or objects blocking your view of what's happening behind. Seat comfort, couldn't complain."

"D12: "Ragtime" (November 2016). It was on the end of a row with nothing in front of it and I found the seat itself very comfortable for what was quite a long performance (2 hours 45 minutes, with one interval). Row D is the first tiered row and the view is perfect – you are just high enough to see all the footwork on the stage. I like being at the front, but rows B and C (no row A for this production) were possibly a little too close to the stage and are all flat on one level, meaning you need to crane your neck to see the stage and may have people in front of you blocking your view if you are in row B.
This is a long, thin theatre and I think if you sat at the back you would feel quite distant from the stage. By contrast, book a seat on the one of the benches on either side of the stage (tucked away and accessed via a small, steep staircase) and you might find yourself rather closer to the action than you'd envisaged!"

"F10 to 12: "Titanic The Musical" (July 2016). These were premium seats - only bought as they were the only seats left - but they did give an excellent view and the addition of a drink and programme was a nice touch, worth the £39 paid."

"G3: "The Mikado" (December 2014). Great seat but legroom might be an issue for tall folk. Squeezing past people in this theatre to get to a seat further along the row is a nightmare! On the plus side, the venue feels very intimate."

"G5: "Oh Come All Ye Divas" (December 2016). Not one, but two, side spotlights reflected from the highly polished side of the grand piano and sent beams of blindingly bright light straight into my good eye, to the extent that I spent most of the show with one hand in front of my face shielding the light. Apart from that, G5 was perfect."

 

 

Stalls Benches
Layout:
Either side of the front stalls, two raised alcoves containing benches.

There is only one row in each bench area.

Legroom:
Seat 1 is fine - nothing in front. Every other seat is tight, even for a midget - if 5ft or less you could sit here just about... but won't be able to see over the wall in front.

Choosing Seats in General:
If sold, they are often a cheap option for the tiny. At second price or above, there are better seats available.

The seat furthest from the stage has the best viewing angle, the one closest has legroom but misses the near eighth of the stage and quarter of the rear stage.

Changes for the current production:
A fifth of the stage is missed from seat 1 - mostly at the back of the stage and on the balcony nearest to you, and a bit less from 5.

Really, not great seats for this show, the monkey feels.

 

Stalls Alcove
Layout:
On the side furthest from the entrance door, and at the end of the "cross aisle," this is a niche in the wall, under a staircase, with a low wall in front of it.

Legroom:
Normal chairs, so no problem.

Choosing Seats in General:
If sold, go for seat 1, furthest from the stage and nearest the aisle.

General Hazard Notes:
About half the stage is missed from here.

A bit of a strange place to sit, cut off from the auditorium yet part of it. Odd. Not somewhere the monkey recommends.
 

Changes for the current production:
Not in use.

Reader Comments:
None.

 

SIDE BALCONIES
Layout:
Above the stalls, along the longest side walls run narrow balconies. These overhang the stalls aisles, and so do not interfere with the view from the seats beneath.

Seats are arranged in single file, one behind the other, and are not raked.

Legroom:
Good in all seats.

Choosing Seats in General:
Around a fifth of the nearest side of the stage is not visible from these seats. Factor in the problem of those in front of you leaning outwards to see more, and anyone seated here may have a hard time enjoying the show...as well as needing an appointment with a physiotherapist at some point!

If you must, then take the seats nearest to the stage first - but be aware you won't be able to lean out without attracting moans from others seated behind you. On the other hand, if you take the seat furtherst away, you will have to lean a long way over to see that missing fifth of stage.

Wheelchair users are seated in Balcony 1. The monkey isn't sure how a user would see very well from this position, though - a plinth or cushion may well help here.

General Hazard Notes:
A low bar runs across the front - the view is not affected in the least by it... but to see anything, you lean outwards over the edge - makes a change from leaning forwards, felt the monkey. If somebody ahead of you is leaning too far, you see less.

Seats are not raked to see over those ahead.

Changes for the current productions:
Third price. If you must. The monkey would also look at cheaper bench 1 seat number 1 before taking balcony tickets. Comfort may be inferior, but the view isn't much worse.

 

Reader Comments:
None.

 

Notes
Total 276 seats.

Air conditioned.

Wheelchair access is flat from the foyer to the viewing position in Balcony 1. The entrance door is wide, and the disabled toilet is close by on the same level. The only problem is that part of the street outside is cobbled, making pushing harder. Steep stairs down to the auditorium may make access for transferees difficult. Guide dogs are welcome. 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. The listing is under the old name - New Players Theatre. During office hours, theatre administration staff can assist with disabled bookings ONLY on 020 7930 5868. Please DO NOT use this telephone number for any other purpose.

No food except bar snacks in the auditorium, but a full restaurant is available adjacent, open until 2.30am with live music on many nights.

Two bars, Rear stalls (opening into the auditorium) and foyer.

3 Toilets in all. 1 ladies, 1 Gents, 1 unisex disabled.

 

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
Nearest Underground Station Buses Car Park
Nearest Underground Station:
Charing Cross - Bakerloo (brown) and Northern (black) lines or Embankment - Bakerloo (brown), Northern (black), Circle (yellow) and District (green) lines. Also Main rail network terminus.

Charing Cross: Leave the station by following signs from the platforms to the STRAND street exits. Walk straight ahead into the underground shopping arcade and keep going straight on into the light. If, underground, you pass Davenports Magic shop, turn around and walk the other way.

Take the right-hand staircase up to street level. At the top of it, you should see a semi-pedestrianised street sloping downwards to Embankment underground station. If you see instead a very busy road, the Strand, with Brook Street Employment Agency to your right, turn around and face downhill instead - you took the left instead of the right hand side stairs.

Walk downhill a very short distance, looking up and to your left for a silver, semi circular sign with "The Arches Shopping Centre" on it. 


This juts out over the street and marks the entrance to the tunnel where the theatre hides. At street level, a small sign to the right of the tunnel entrance confirms that you have the correct place.

Below the silver sign is a wide, brownish, sloping path into an area of small shops and restaurants - all snugly tucked into this railway arch beneath the station bridge above.


Walk almost to the end of the shops, and the theatre entrance is to your left.

________________________

Embankment: Leave the barriers and turn left, exiting to look up a semi-pedestrianised street sloping downwards to the underground station. If you see instead the river, go back and use the other station exit.

Walk uphill a short distance, looking up and to your left for a silver, semi circular sign with "The Arches Shopping Centre" on it. The theatre is inside - as per directions above.

 

Buses:
3, 11, 12, 15, 24, 29, 53, 77, 77A, 88, 159, 170, 172  stop nearby.

A reader notes that the 15 route compliments it's modern buses with a small number of Routemasters (or, to the non-Londoner, the ones they've all seen in pictures with the open bit on the back). Sadly these days the conductor will run a scanner over your Oyster rather than punch your ticket. Getting off at the station I rang the bell to stop the bus by pulling the wire than runs along one side... and got off grinning like a fool in the middle of a nostalgia trip!"
 

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a short distance from the theatre up hill via Villiers Street. Best chance of hailing one in the street is to walk down the tunnel to Northumberland Avenue and / or on to the Embankment.

 

Car Park:
Spring Gardens. On leaving the car park walk into Trafalgar Square. The first major road you come to is Whitehall. Cross it, and head on round, crossing Northumberland Avenue and continuing past Waterstones bookshop. Bearing to your right, enter a busy street called the Strand.

To your right will be Charing Cross Railway Station. Don't be tempted to enter it, just stay outside the railings and walk past it (mind the taxis as they enter and leave). 

Keep going to the far side of the station. At the corner of it, to your right, is Villiers Street. The Brook Street Employment Agency ahead of you on the corner will confirm it - don't walk any further than this blue fronted landmark!

Villiers Street  is semi-pedestrianised and slopes downwards to Embankment underground station. Turn right into it, and walk around the stairs set into the centre of the street - they lead to the underground station, and nowhere else. 

Walk downhill a very short distance, looking up and to your left for a silver, semi circular sign with "The Arches Shopping Centre" on it. This juts out over the street and marks the entrance to the tunnel where the theatre hides. At street level, a small sign to the right of the tunnel entrance confirms that you have the correct place.

Below the silver sign is a wide, brownish, sloping path into an area of small shops and restaurants - all snugly tucked into this railway arch beneath the station bridge above.

Walk almost to the end of the shops, and the theatre entrance is to your left.

 

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

 

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