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

CRITERION THEATRE


THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY
(play)
NOT SUITABLE FOR THOSE AGED UNDER 12.

A diamond, 8 criminals and a dozy guard. This crime should be a cinch...



"Mischief Theatre" - the team behind "The Play That Goes Wrong" and "Peter Pan Goes Wrong" - strike again.


 

Theatremonkey Opinion:
(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 3rd April 2016). These actors have now left the cast.
In the week that Ronnie Corbett passed away, it was rather heartening to see a show that he and partner Ronnie Barker could almost have written – and been very proud of. Yes, the choice of language at one point was possibly too strong for them (and some younger Mischief Theatre fans – if your children loved “Peter Pan Goes Wrong,” be aware they need to be 12 or so to get this one) but they would surely have loved the homage and pastiche.

For that is what this is. Complete with Abbott and Costello routines, Gumshoe clichés and a shaky movie-led grasp of everything 1958 Minneapolis, writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields move their theatre company into “proper” comedy play territory with this new work.

There’s still plenty of the old. Playing with props, the slightly ragged feel of the set, rushing around and smart-but-obvious lines. Sometimes, this time around, it even feels a little too self-indulgent, with routines going on a bit too long, a little “we enjoyed this last time, let’s do it again” even, which takes slightly the freshness away. Still, what is left is often riotous, and some of the set pieces (without giving too much away, the ‘prison break’ and actual robbery) are among the funniest ever staged.

Terrific sets, genuinely thrilling and inventive stunt work (even more so given Ms Russell’s stated fear of heights and – what looked like scabbed, healing leg – to prove it) and madcap visual humour (note the number on the apartment door, related to dialogue) make the time fly by.

The real pleasure is seeing the core “Mischief Theatre” team really stretch their acting skills. Biggest revelation is Henry Shields. His Danny Zuko-esque Mitch Ruscitti is sharp contrast to his famous Fawlty routine. Henry Lewis as Robin Freeboys is a corpulent, hysterically funny bank manager, and Greg Tannahill an accomplice worth avoiding.

Pairing Dave Hearn and Nancy Wallinger as son and mother is an inspiration, Ms Wallinger once again confirming herself as the leading female comic talent in the West End. As ruthless daughter Caprice Freeboys, Charlie Russell adopts a decent American accent, providing a nicely hydrated performance handling a character far less vacant than her previous roles, with surprising depth.

Mention too for Mark Bell’s direction which almost invariably keeps things on track, and David Farley for a set design which rarely fails to surprise. Also worth noting are Alex Frith and David Leach – stunt designer and safety consultant respectively, who must have worked overtime on this.

It’s heavier and a little less naively charming than the company’s previous work. It’s also sometimes more mature and better considered too. Perhaps played a little faster once they are truly sure of the material it’ll really hit the fifth star it is aiming for. Still, it’s as satisfying for this fan of the team as all that has gone before, and if the monkey has one regret, it is that there probably won’t be another new show from them for a long while to come. Luckily, for the moment, this is a pretty fair sized diamond.
 


 

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

(9 reviews)

Sat in the Circle Box C for this production, and whilst it's lovely having the space, boxes C and D are oddly angled away from the stage, so you need to lean over the edge for a reasonable view of the action. There is also an annoyingly placed spotlight in your line of sight. A fair amount of significant action occurs in the rear part of the stage on the box C side, which you totally miss. I think Box D would be a better bet, as the occupants of that didn't seem to be craning their necks around quite so much.

As for the production, I had high hopes after loving 'Peter Pan Goes Wrong.' This just didn't have the same volume of laugh out loud moments, with much less physical humour throughout. The amateur staging suited their previous productions, as they were pays about an amateur play, but for me it just didn't work. Neither did the American setting. It's very British humour and the ropey American accents detracted from this.

Entertaining enough, but I think it still needs work.
____________________________________________________________________

Seen: Sunday, May 8th, 2016, Evening performance.

Seat: A15
Sold relatively cheaply, this is a great seat. Looking slightly upward, as is expected, but within reason. Except for a few moments here and there clear view of everything. Legroom is quite good (I'm 6'2''), even slouching in the seat my knees had plenty of space.

Review:
Wild mix of slapstick, sight gags, wordplay, and everything else they could find. While not every joke landed, most of them did. The cast embrace the absurdity of the situations and run with it, enthusiastically. Stage design is fantastic: sometimes gleefully simple (the car/motorcycle chase), sometimes crazy inventive (view from the ceiling). I was not a super big fan of 'The Play That Goes Wrong' (now I want to see it again, of course), but this one I loved from the first moment to the last. Highly recommended!
____________________________________________________________________

We had tickets in Row N of the stalls, just to the left of centre. The leg room wasn't bad for my 6' husband, and the view wasn't bad at all, considering the shallow rake.

The play itself was very good, the laughs started straight away and continued throughout. As with the last 2 productions, the timing of the stunts are flawless, and the acting is spot-on and the set changes are slick and entertaining in themselves.

This play is maybe not as madcap as the previous plays but very enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour.
___________________________________________________________________

Upper Circle Row C.

Another hit from the Mischief Theatre Company.

Really enjoyed this show and was very cleverly staged in places with some great performances all round.

This lot are a clever bunch, and hope they continue to write, produce and perform in many more future productions.

It's on a par with 'The Play that Goes Wrong,' and we did not leave disappointed. Would love to go and see it again.

I'm not an upper circle fan but it was the 'best of a bad bunch' when choosing. However after consulting the theatre bible a.k.a. Theatre Monkey I decided on the back row of the upper circle and was very pleased with these seats as one is still not that far from the stage and view was great so would have no problems booking these again.

Graham.
__________________________________________________________________

It did feel a little odd going down into the theatre, but that was partly because it was so crowded arriving, with nowhere to linger. The tiled walls were also oddly reminiscent of a tube station or a Victorian toilet! The theatre itself was fine, although the Circle overhang was a little disconcerting. No sign of tubes rattling by!

Seat Review: We were in the Stalls, in H1 and 2 and J1 and 2. J2 is directly next to a large pillar so those two seats are a little pair to themselves, which was cute, and pleased Tall Daughter. Leg room was fine. Those seats at the end are under the side overhang of the Circle, which didn’t block the stage view (there is some business right at the top of the stage) but did make it feel a little enclosed.

Behind was an individual seat alone with space all round it, because of that pillar - no one was sitting there and that meant wriggling from side to side to see the stage was easier. The seats weren’t staggered but the side angle to the stage meant a pretty good view between heads - my husband and Tall Son, in fact - with a bit of dodging from side to side. (I was in J1, TD was in J2 and saw fine.) You can’t really lean back in your seat and see as well, and you miss a little of the action on the far right of the stage but not enough to matter and for the price, they were good value.

As TM said, though, higher numbers aisle seats might give you a better all round view with this particular play. And also, as the toilets and bar are at that low numbers side of the theatre, with no centre aisle, the ENTIRE row felt they had to come through in the interval, rather than walking around the back of the theatre (and it really isn’t that big a walk!) including the obligatory last minute returner after the interval when we had finally sat down!

We all enjoyed the play. There was plenty of very daft word play, but the humour built up progressively as the plot twisted and turned like a duvet cover in a tumble dryer getting itself into unbelievable knots! The speed of it all was remarkable and the music was good. Several moments drew applause – most notably Caprice drinking water! – and the scene with Caprice miming across the bed to Sam (trying not to give spoilers here!) was amazing and very funny. The use of the set and the special effects in the staging were fabulous, especially in the second half. A thoroughly good evening.

Thanks, as ever, TM, for your recommendation!
___________________________________________________________________

Sat in Box D at the Criterion, for the evening performance Saturday 24th September 2016. Missed quite a bit of the happenings on our side of the stage, but we like the comfort and space.

This really should not work, it has every old cliché in the book, but they do it with gusto, and somehow manage to add a freshness to it. We loved every minute, it is a real laugh out loud farce. The Mischief Theatre is great, I cannot recommend this enough. I am still chuckling when thinking about it now.
___________________________________________________________________

A wander past TKTS lead us to an impromptu visit to see 'The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.' Thought this was great fun, and very well performed. Love the sense of madness Mischief Theatre bring to their plays, and whilst I didn't find this as funny as the other two, it was definitely worth seeing and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. The Criterion is now another theatre ticked off my diminishing list of ones to visit.

We got seats in the dress circle, row E seats 6 and 7. Now we got these for half price but one should have been £49.50 and E6 should have been £20 due to a pillar. However, we were very pleasantly surprised. Expecting to see half the stage from E6 we actually found almost no restriction whatsoever apart from the very front right corner of the stage which was only used once, and once scene involving a window. Therefore I would say that with the present pricing structure I would have been disappointed to pay the £50 for E7, but would have found E6 to be an absolute steal for £20. But at half price, no complaints at all! Fabulous value.
___________________________________________________________________

£10 seat at box office...restricted view but that was OK. I watched the heist on a television screen. Didn't like it nearly as much as "Play That Goes Wrong," which I see again in NY in two weeks.
___________________________________________________________________

Criterion Theatre, 4th March 2017.

Having seen The Play That Goes Wrong twice, I'm a big fan of the group - and I was NOT disappointed.The Show builds very nicely - relying on traditional word play through to dynamic stage craft. Thoroughly enjoyable for all ages - there were many younger people there who laughed out loud with the rest of us. Builds and builds to a whirlwind, Excellent!

SEAT: STALLS H23, I.E. end of row but before those dreaded columns - Thanks TM for the suggestions. Missed nothing, would rather be here for this production than the other side where you would miss window scenes, and I was less obscured than end of rows in front of me. Paid usual 'partially restricted view' £33 ticket price and was happy with that. I am 6'4" though so that helped with the flat rake. Agree with others - it is a loud performance so would not want to be too far forward.



 

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.

All performances until 23rd April 2017, and from 18th July 2017 onwards:
Tuesday to Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm and 7pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.
 

For performances from 25th April until 16th July 2017 only:
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm only
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm and 7pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.
 

Runs 2 hours 20 minutes approximately.


 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

"Off Peak" Tuesday to Thursday, plus Sunday Evening performances ONLY:
Stalls
Row A: £36.50 
Rows B to P: £46.50 except
"Premium Seats" rows E to H 7 to 18: £66.50
Restricted view seats C3, D2: £10
Restricted view seats D 24; E 22; M 21: £12
Restricted view seats B 5, 22; C 22; D 3, 23; E 2, 3, 23, 24; F 2, 3; M21; N 20, 21; P 2, 3, 4, 22: £17
Restricted view seats C 4; F 23, 24; G 2, 3, 23, 24; H 23; K1, L 21; M 3, 4, 5; P 5, 6, 7, 18, 19: £22
Row Q 12, 13, 14: £36.50
Restricted view row Q 5, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 20; R 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18; S 8, 9, 12, 13, 17: £26.50
Restricted view row Q 3, 4, 7, 8, 19, 21, 22; R 5 to 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19 to 22; S 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18: £17
Restricted view seats Q 2, 11, 15, 23, 24; R 3, 4; S 5, 6, 19, 20, 21: £12
Restricted view seats R23 and S 4: £10

NOTE THAT SOME RESTRICTED VIEW SEATS MAY NOT BE SOLD UNLESS ALL OTHER SEATS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.



Dress Circle
All seats: £46.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 9 to 23 and B 10 to 22: £66.50
Restricted view row AA 28 and 29; C 27 and 28: £32.50
Restricted view seats C 1, 2, 5, 9, 20, 24; D 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25; E 3, 4, 5, 8, 9; F 6 to 23, 25, 26, 27: £26.50
Restricted view seats AA 1, 2, 3; D 1, 2, 27, 28; E 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25 to 29; F 4, 5: G 6 to 8: £17


Upper Circle
Row A 6 to 28: £36.50
Row A 29; B 11 to 24 and C 6 to 20: £26.50
Row B 5 to 10 and 25 to 30: £17

Boxes:
C and D: £17 per seat.

A £3 per ticket supplement applies to some "Off Peak" Monday to Thursday / Sunday Evening performances on some dates.
 



Friday Evening, Saturday Afternoon and Evening and Sunday Afternoon, plus all "Peak Date" performances ONLY:
Stalls
Row A: £42.50 
Rows B to P: £52.50 except
"Premium Seats" rows E to H 7 to 18: £72.50
Restricted view seats C3, D2: £10
Restricted view seats D 24; E 22; M 21: £18
Restricted view seats B 5, 22; C 22; D 3, 23; E 2, 3, 23, 24; F 2, 3; M21; N 20, 21; P 2, 3, 4, 22: £23
Restricted view seats C 4; F 23, 24; G 2, 3, 23, 24; H 23; K1, L 21; M 3, 4, 5; P 5, 6, 7, 18, 19: £28
Row Q 12, 13, 14: £42.50
Restricted view row Q 5, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 20; R 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18; S 8, 9, 12, 13, 17: £32.50
Restricted view row Q 3, 4, 7, 8, 19, 21, 22; R 5 to 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19 to 22; S 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18: £23
Restricted view seats Q 2, 11, 15, 23, 24; R 3, 4; S 5, 6, 19, 20, 21: £18
Restricted view seats R23 and S 4: £10

NOTE THAT SOME RESTRICTED VIEW SEATS MAY NOT BE SOLD UNLESS ALL OTHER SEATS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.



Dress Circle
All seats: £52.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 9 to 23 and B 10 to 22: £72.50
Restricted view row AA 28 and 29; C 27 and 28: £38
Restricted view seats C 1, 2, 5, 9, 20, 24; D 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25; E 3, 4, 5, 8, 9; F 6 to 23, 25, 26, 27: £32.50
Restricted view seats AA 1, 2, 3; D 1, 2, 27, 28; E 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25 to 29; F 4, 5: G 6 to 8: £23


Upper Circle
Row A 6 to 28: £42.50
Row A 29; B 11 to 24 and C 6 to 20: £32.50
Row B 5 to 10 and 25 to 30: £23

Boxes:
C and D: £23 per seat.

 

 

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.criterion-theatre.co.uk 
This system allows you to choose your own seats.
 

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
A £1.25 per ticket booking fee is charged. An optional £2 per booking (not per ticket) postage fee is also added. No postage fee is charged if you choose to collect your tickets on the day at the venue or print them at home, rather than have them mailed to you.

 

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

When the theatre does not have tickets available, it is worth trying the Theatremonkey Ticketshop agency, telephone 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom), which offers £46.50 seats with an £8 (£11.50 on £66.50, £7.10 on £42.50, £6 on £36.50, £5.45 on £32.50, £4.75 on £26.50, £4 on £22, £3 on £17, £2.25 on £12 seats Monday to Thursday and Sunday Evenings / £12.50 on £72.50, £9 on £52.50, £7.50 on £42.50, £6.50 on £38, £5.75 on £32.50, £5 on £28, £4 on £23, £3.25 on £18 seats Friday, Saturday afternoon and Evening and Sunday afternoon performances) booking fee per ticket. Moderate by agency standards, though higher than box office prices, but worth trying! 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 £46.50 seats with a £6.98 (£9.98 on £66.50, £5.48 on £36.50, £4.30 on £32.50, £3.30 on £22, £2.55 on £17, £1.80 on £12, £1.50 on £10 seats Monday to Thursday and Sunday Evenings / £10.88 on £72.50, £17.88 on £52.50, £7.38 on £42.50, £5.70 on £38, £5.88 on £32.50, £4.20 on £28, £3.45 on £23, £2.70 on £18, £1.50 on £10 seats Friday, Saturday afternoon and Evening and Sunday afternoon performances) booking fee per ticket, plus a £2.75 per booking (not per ticket) service charge. (FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times).

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer £46.50 seats with a £13.50 (£18.50 on £66.50, £4.50 on £42.50 and £36.50, £1.50 on £32.50, £2.40 on £26.50, £4 on £12, £1 on £10 seats Monday to Thursday and Sunday Evenings / £20.50 on £72.50, £15.50 on £52.50, £12.50 on £42.50, £11 on £38, £9.50 on £32.50, £8 on £28, £7 on £23, £6 on £18, £3 on £10 seats Friday, Saturday afternoon and Evening and Sunday afternoon performances) 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.

Londontheatredirect.com offer £46.50 seats with a £9.25 (£13.25 on £66.50, £7.25 on £36.50, £6 on £32.50, £5.25 on £26.50, £4.50 on £22, £3.50 on £17, £2.50 on £12, £2 on £10 seats Monday to Thursday and Sunday Evenings / £14.50 on £72.50, £10.50 on £52.50, £8.50 on £42.50, £7.50 on £38, £6.50 on £32.50, £5.50 on £28, £4.50 on £23, £3.50 on £18, £2 on £10 seats Friday, Saturday afternoon and Evening and Sunday afternoon performances) per ticket. There is a £1 per booking, not per ticket, transaction fee for collecting tickets from the box office before your performance. Alternatively, if time allows, there is a postage to your home option, costing £2.95 (£4.95 to non-UK addresses) per booking, not per ticket. Optional Ticket Insurance is also available. Discounts and Meal and Show Packages may also be available.

Ticketmaster offer: £46.50 seats with a £4.95 (£7.31 on £66.50, £3.95 on £36.50 seats Monday to Thursday and Sunday Evenings / £7.90 on £72.50, £5.70 on £52.50, £4.60 on £42.50 seats Friday, Saturday afternoon and Evening and Sunday afternoon performances) per ticket. All prices also add a £3.05 per transaction (not per ticket) booking fee. This system allows you to choose your own seats from the selection the company has available.

 

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

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: 0844 815 6131
Operated by Quay Tickets on behalf of the venue.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
A £1.25 per ticket booking fee is charged. An optional £2 per booking (not per ticket) postage fee is also added. No postage fee is charged if you choose to collect your tickets on the day at the venue or print them at home, rather than have them mailed to you.

For personal callers or by post: Piccadilly Circus, London. SW1Y 4XA
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.

This theatre is underground. It is a very long walk down to the stalls and longer back up to the surface. The infirm or those not related to mountain goats (theatremonkey fortunately has a caprine third cousin) should consider the Upper Circle, which is only just below street level!

One reader says,
"I thought the theatre was rather nice. Deep under the ground and very old, you could sometimes hear the tube rattling above you. To me, it just added to the magic!"


 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Upper Circle Notes

STALLS 
 

Layout:
A single block of seats face the stage. 

The Dress Circle overhangs the stalls at row H at the sides, K in the centre. Circle overhang noticeably affects the view of the top of the stage from row M back.

Pillars in rows J, K, N and P further affect views from the rear stalls.

The rake (sloped floor to help see over rows in front) is shallow throughout the stalls. In fact, the monkey felt rows B to D were slightly lower than A, before the rake came back at row E.

Legroom:
Legroom is adequate throughout the Stalls - including row A - for all under 6ft or so. Those over 6ft might "check their legs into the cloakroom" according to one reader in row M, though.

B 3 and 4, C 23 and 24, L 2 and P 22 have nothing in front; B 5 is 90% clear in front; D 1 and J 28 around 50% clear in front.

Choosing Seats in General:
Rows A to H seats 5 to 20 offer at least fair value - central seats near the front - E to H 5 to 20 being prime. Sitting here minimises the risk of both the shallow rake and pillars at top price.

For bargains, forage at the edges of row A to E (A to F on the "high numbers" side). Often officially "restricted view" stalls seats are: A 4 and 21, B 3 to 6, C 2, 3 and 24; D 2 and E 2. An extended proscenium wall seems to be the cause and some readers may want to avoid the seats next to these too. On the other hand, the view is pretty good unless the actors stand far over to the side of the stage... and the price is lower too...

Some feel that C3 and 23 and M 4 and 21 are worthwhile at fourth price, despite restricted views, and a few others are happy with the first seats in rows D, E, L and M too at the same price.

Rows J to L seats 1 to 4 (L 2 to 4) and 19 to 22 should be avoided as the first pillars interfere here. Accept row J to L seats 5 to 18 grudgingly - frankly, the rest are better, just because that rake is shallow.

In the rear stalls row P 12, 15 and 16 normally combine second price with a reasonably pillar free view. All other second price seats are not on this monkey's to buy list unless legroom is a factor.

The rest of the Stalls seats can cheerfully be ignored by most, though, is the feeling. If you must, then go as central as possible between the pillars, and don't go less lower than seat 7 or higher than 18 from row Q back, though R23 isn't terrible at lowest price, the monkey feels.

General Hazard Notes:
A shallow rake frustrates shorter folk everywhere in the stalls.

Pillars throughout the rear stalls: affected seats are K 1 and 21; L 2; M 2, 4 and 21; N 1, 3, 4 and 20; P 1 to 4, 7 and 17 to 22; Q 1 to 7, 11, 14, 15, 18 to 24; R 1 to 7, 11, 12, 15, 16 and 19 to 23; S 4 to 7, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 18 to 21.

Changes for the current production:
Premium seats occupy E to H 7 to 18. Luckily, D 5 to 20 or J 5 to 18, plus the two seats next to the premium stuff in E to H are all decent at top price.

The stage is low and the front row is cheap - the monkey isn't sure why as only a filing cabinet missed for a few seconds - as it would be from most rows back to about E or even further, it thinks. Monkey likes. Just avoid A 4 and 21 as there is a step in front, restricting legroom - though A4 is cheap, so fine if short.

Most end of row seats are cheaper. The monkey feels them all well-priced, but the way the staging is, it would go for "high numbers" tickets first. Anything on the ends of B to K below top price is a bargain, it feels. Go for "high numbers" F and G first, then forward to B. Go for G 2 and 3 at the next price, then the single cheapies on K before the second price pairs on J (high numbers first). If you really want to get in cheap, take "low numbers" C 3, M2, N1, S1 in that order at £10 each. Note that at £10, C3's view is really poor, and the same goes for a few of the other worst restricted view seats unless all others have been sold.

From M back, be careful. There is a reason that all pillars now have TV screens attached... take anything at top or second price back here last - skip central row P and go for cheaper upper circle seats, for example.

All seats (with a few exceptions) from Q back drop to fourth price or less. Go for the most central and ones without pillars directly in front, first. Q 9, 10, 12, 13, 7, 16 for a start. Box D, even C may also be worth it for the same or less money.

If you must, back corner S 4 or R 23 is very cheap once all seats in the front corners at the same price have gone. Next to it, 5, 6, and 19 to 21 are also a fair price, the monkey feels.

 

Reader Comments:
"A 10 and 11: "The 39 Steps," (
Rebecca). I'm 4ft 11 and I have seen it twice now from row A, seats 10 and 11: It requires some looking up, but I really enjoy the close proximity of the actors, and getting to see every bit of subtlety in their comedic performances. I found leg room here to be average. The seats are a little uncomfortable, but as a comedy the show is shorter than most musicals, so it's less noticeable."

"A15: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery" (May 2016). Sold relatively cheaply, this is a great seat. Looking slightly upward, as is expected, but within reason. Except for a few moments here and there clear view of everything. Legroom is quite good (I'm 6'2''), even slouching in the seat my knees had plenty of space."

"A16: OK, it’s very close to the action – but it was great!"

"B 5 and 6: Permanently cheaper because of the restricted view. Sitting in the seats and looking directly forward you are looking at a wall; seat 6 is where the wall ends so that was the better seat. In seat 5 I couldn’t see about 10% of the action, and at the scene in the hotel lobby which is at the far right of the stage I could hardly see anything. I could see the stagehand, though. Seat 6 had no such problem. Some of the action also takes back at the far right back of the stage which is impossible to see from seat 5.

The saving grace is that row A ends at seat 5 so seat 5, 4 and 3 have acres of leg room, albeit with a side view. For 90% of the show though the view is superb, and well worth the £22.50 instead of £47.50 ticket price when we saw it (August 2010). The theatremonkey seating plan is slightly wrong as seat B4 has no seat in front of it (not wrong, just unable to show it for technical reasons - editor). With the seat colour, carpet and wall paint I always feel like I’m sitting in some one’s lounge at the Criterion! (The monkey raised the rating of B6 for view, and left the rest 'fair value' for comfort reasons if nothing else).

"B22: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery" (February 2016). I don't understand why B22 isn't coloured green when the rest of the seats along that edge are. I'm practically resident in B22!" (because seats further back have a better angle, feels the monkey).

"Row C: neck-ache!"

"C13: "Close to You" (January 2016). An excellent seat, with good leg room and perfect view of the stage, bang in the centre. Rows A and B are a bit close, whereas C is far enough back to avoid neck ache."

"C22: Although this was not a bad seat, I felt that it was difficult to see the actors when they were standing at the edge of the stage. It was not so much a restricted view, but instead a poor view. As this was a full price seat it offered poor value for money and would be best avoided in my opinion."

"E3: The seat was awful. There is no rake, meaning that if a tall person, or a person with a very dodgy hair-do sits in front of you - you've had it. This meant that I missed much of the first act, as I couldn't see the performance clearly, and also without the people behind poking me saying that I was blocking their view!. In the interval, I spoke to an usher, and they kindly let me sit in the Dress Circle - which again had lots of pillars in view, but was much better than my stalls seat."

"E11: (Tom). I got this at a reduced price. This is a small, pretty theatre and E11 is an excellent seat. I wouldn't like to sit further forward as it's a rather 'shouty' performance. There is almost no rake at the front and the seats aren't staggered here so someone tall in the row in front would cause a problem. The seats also seem to be strangely noisy, and if half a dozen people choose to re-settle at the same time it is a bit distracting! By London standards the seats and leg room are reasonable."

"E 16: (Jon B). My seat in the stalls was fine with a good close view of the stage and reasonable leg room. There's very little rake on the stalls so you could be unlucky if someone tall sits in front of you."

"E17: (Jackie, Devon). There was plenty of leg room, however, the rake in the stalls was appalling. The view was obscured by the people in the row in front which was annoying."

"E18 and 19: gave a good view of the stage and provided adequate legroom."

"Row F: Centre. this view was just fine as I had an unblocked view of the stage and was able to enjoy the play."

"F6 and 7: were good seats, with a good view of the stage and with sufficient room even for me at over 6 ft."

"F17 and 18: at £22.50 each with no booking fee. Perfect seats with a full view of the stage."

"Row G: next time I would definitely choose the dress circle. The rake of the stalls is non-existent and being of fairly average height, I found it hard to make out some of the tap dancing etc at the production I saw."

"H 1 and 2 and J 1 and 2. "The Comedy about a Bank Robbery" (March 2016). It did feel a little odd going down into the theatre, but that was partly because it was so crowded arriving, with nowhere to linger. The tiled walls were also oddly reminiscent of a tube station or a Victorian toilet! The theatre itself was fine, although the Circle overhang was a little disconcerting. No sign of tubes rattling by!. J2 is directly next to a large pillar so those two seats are a little pair to themselves, which was cute, and pleased Tall Daughter. Leg room was fine. Those seats at the end are under the side overhang of the Circle, which didn’t block the stage view (there is some business right at the top of the stage) but did make it feel a little enclosed.
Behind was an individual seat alone with space all round it, because of that pillar - no one was sitting there and that meant wriggling from side to side to see the stage was easier. The seats weren’t staggered but the side angle to the stage meant a pretty good view between heads - my husband and Tall Son, in fact - with a bit of dodging from side to side. (I was in J1, TD was in J2 and saw fine.) You can’t really lean back in your seat and see as well, and you miss a little of the action on the far right of the stage but not enough to matter and for the price, they were good value.
As TM said, though, higher numbers aisle seats might give you a better all round view with this particular play. And also, as the toilets and bar are at that low numbers side of the theatre, with no centre aisle, the ENTIRE row felt they had to come through in the interval, rather than walking around the back of the theatre (and it really isn’t that big a walk!) including the obligatory last minute returner after the interval when we had finally sat down!"

"H23: "The Comedy about a Bank Robbery" (March 2016). End of row but before those dreaded columns - Thanks TM for the suggestions. Missed nothing, would rather be here for this production than the other side where you would miss window scenes, and I was less obscured than end of rows in front of me. Paid usual 'partially restricted view' £33 ticket price and was happy with that. I am 6'4" though so that helped with the flat rake. Agree with others - it is a loud performance so would not want to be too far forward."

"J 7 to 9: (JS). Fab seats, lots of legroom even for tall people. Would highly recommend. You could see perfectly and we were nowhere near the pillars."

"Row K: My seats were great - central to the stage about 10 rows back. I was a little worried as I'm rather short, but the view was okay as long as a giant wasn't sitting in front of me."

"K 12 and 13. (B). Good seats, dead centre; a perfect view of everything. The Criterion Theatre is marvellous, but there are seats I wouldn’t want to sit in. Best to check which ones have restricted views before purchasing them."


"Row M: (Jackie Bassom). Seats in row M gave a comfy view."

"M11 and 12: It's a very small and cramped auditorium. We were wedged into M11 and 12 which were dead centre of the row towards the back. It seems that there is no rake, but the seats were staggered - which helped, as I had to look between two very large heads. The seats were pretty comfy, it has to be said, but partly because once you were in them there was no way you were moving again. It was almost like I was vacuum packed."

"Row N: "The Comedy about a Bank Robbery" (March 2016). We sat just to the left of centre. The leg room wasn't bad for my 6' husband, and the view wasn't bad at all, considering the shallow rake."

 

DRESS CIRCLE 
Layout:
A single block of seats face the stage, with a trio and pair of seats in the corners of the circle by the boxes too.

The Upper Circle overhangs the Dress Circle at row B.

Pillars holding it up are liberally scattered in front of row C.

Legroom:
Poor for the taller with row AA and D 9 to 19 having least. Elsewhere, row A has most, and those up to around 5ft 10 should be fairly comfortable in other rows outside D 9 to 19.

Choosing Seats in General:
Row B seats 10 to 20 are the best value here, followed by row A 9 to 25. If given the choice though, this monkey opts for top price stalls instead.

Of the other seats, C 5, 9 and 24 are heavily discounted for being right behind pillars, with seats behind and to the sides slightly more expensive. Pillar seats are fair value below around £25 feels the monkey, and those on G are in a short row, which may please the less sociable.

General Hazard Notes:
Seats officially designated "restricted view" due to pillars are: row C 5, 9, 20 and 24; D 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 27 and 28; E 1 to 5, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25, 28 and 29; F 4 to 7, 10, 21, 22, 25 to 27; G 6 to 9.

AA 1, 2, 3, 28 and 29 also have viewing problems due to their position at the side of the circle.

Changes for the current production:
Premium seats at the centre of rows A and B have less legroom than stalls at the same price, and non-premium seats both beside and behind them offering the same view for less cash.

At top price, it also wouldn't go further back than row C, as pillars start to kick in there. Sure, those in C won't bother anyone, but paying full price to sit next to a pillar could upset purists.

Among the pillars, ends of rows are the best bet for a discount, it feels, as pillars line up with the stage edge better. Closer than equivalent stalls for the same money (once past row L downstairs), about fair value but few bargains to be had, it feels.

 

Reader Comments:
"R
ow A: We had seats A22 and A23 in the Dress Circle, which had adequate legroom (friend 5’ 8”) and an excellent view."

"A16 and A17: The view was great, and my long legged husband managed to sit through the performance without fidgeting!
Of course, as in most older theatres, the seats are narrow."

"A24 to A27: Paid £96 for four seats on an offer from Lovetheatre. Seats were very good - they gave a clear view of the stage, although I felt I was looking slightly to my left to see it (in A24) - this wasn't a problem. My wife sat in A27 and did not find that the handrail obstructed her vision. I tried the seat at the interval and agreed that it was no problem, although there was one scene in the second half where she couldn't see one item on the extreme left of the stage. Seat comfort was fine and the legroom was more than adequate."

“A26 and 27: “The 39 Steps,” (Chris B). The Criterion feels very cosy and intimate as west end theatres go. These seats are to the very left as you look at the stage, but offer a good clear view. There is a safety rail to the left of seat A27 but it’s easy to look around especially if you know the person in A26, and it doesn't impact on the quality of the view. There is a large curve to the circle so these seats are much further forward than the central seats and you feel very close to the stage (They overhang about row H of the stalls) There is plenty of legroom too.”

"B 6 to 9: (Dan). I went to see 'The 39 Steps' in December 2007. We had booked a 'best available seat' deal for the bargain price of £10 per ticket, and were allocated Dress Circle Row B, seats 6 to 9. For my friends in seats 6 to 8, the view was fantastic as there was no one in front of them. Unfortunately, I had a (normal-sized) gentleman in front of me in seat A9, whose head blocked out a portion of the centre of the stage for much of the performance. Strangely enough, I didn't actually miss much of the action, but I just wanted to advise fellow theatregoers that the Dress Circle rake at this theatre doesn't really count for much. I probably could have moved to one of the seats in Row AA, but didn't think this would actually improve things due to the odd viewing angle from there. In any case, for £10 I was hardly complaining!"

"C 6 and 7: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery" (February 2016). I would say that 6 & 7, even for the normal £50, I would rate definitely white (if not green when using the Sunday Saver!), as it offers a really fantastic view, with only a minuscule fraction of action missed at the window of Caprice's apartment."

"D6 and 7:  Although we paid less than half the price, I personally wouldn't have minded paying full price for these. The legroom is very small, but the chairs are comfortable. The view is outstanding. I was worried about the pillars, but they are so small, that neither of us had an obstructed view at all! It was quite a charming place to sit, you could see everything in pure detail (on stage, and around the theatre). I would sit here anyday."

"D13 - Hated the show but was a good seat none the less, I think Stalls would be better in this theatre as I felt a bit distant."

"E6 and 7: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery" (February 2016). We got these for half price but one should have been £49.50 and E6 should have been £20 due to a pillar. However, we were very pleasantly surprised. Expecting to see half the stage from E6 we actually found almost no restriction whatsoever apart from the very front right corner of the stage which was only used once, and once scene involving a window. Therefore I would say that with the present pricing structure I would have been disappointed to pay the £50 for E7, but would have found E6 to be an absolute steal for £20. But at half price, no complaints at all! Fabulous value."

 

 

Dress Circle Boxes
Layout:
Boxes A, B, C and D are at Dress Circle level. All are located at the sides of the theatre, either side of the stage.

A and B seat 4 people, C and D seat 2.

Legroom:
Good, as seats are movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
Boxes A and B are best, followed by C and D if you can tolerate the side views.

These boxes offer a good alternative to all the pillar blighted seats in the rest of the theatre.

General Hazard Notes:
An odd viewing angle prevents seeing the nearest edge of the stage to the box.

Changes for the current production:
C and D are in use, with a fair view - though you will miss a good amount. Go D before C. Worth taking over rear stalls, to see more of the stage top, the monkey feels.

Reader Comments:
"Box C: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery." (April 2016).  Whilst it's lovely having the space, boxes C and D are oddly angled away from the stage, so you need to lean over the edge for a reasonable view of the action. There is also an annoyingly placed spotlight in your line of sight. A fair amount of significant action occurs in the rear part of the stage on the box C side, which you totally miss. I think Box D would be a better bet, as the occupants of that didn't seem to be craning their necks around quite so much."

"Box D: "The Comedy About A Bank Robbery." (April 2016). Missed quite a bit of the happenings on our side of the stage, but we like the comfort and space."

 

UPPER CIRCLE
Layout:
This overhangs the Dress Circle at row B.

Two block of seats faces the stage, divided by a centre aisle.

Legroom:
Very tight in row A - a six foot tall reader stood rather than sit there. Row B should please those up to 5ft 7, while C is further elevated to be acceptable to those up to around 5ft 10, feels the monkey.

Choosing Seats in General:
Being fairly low and without any pillars (how does the roof stay up?) these seats are good value normally. Select row B first, or cheaper C, then A as last resort - it is much more expensive too, so go for B and save money! 

The central seats have a far better view than outer ones, and prices reflect the loss of stage corners.

Two wheelchair spaces next to C20. The view is slightly restricted but adequate value.

General Hazard Notes:
The shallow rake makes for problems in row B if those in front lean forwards. C is elevated, so the taller should avoid this a little.

Changes for the current production:
Most of row A is second price, B fourth or fifth and C plus the end seat of A, fourth.

The monkey might take B over A for comfort, but the view isn't great if anyone leans, and since C is raised, it would skip B 11 to 24 for the higher perspective.

The extreme end of row B isn't bad, but better still, try rear or restricted view stalls at equal or lower price first, feels the monkey.

 

Reader Comments:
"Upper Circle: (Taljaard). Paid £27.50 for a decent view on the top shelf."

"Row A: I am six foot tall and I was sat in the upper circle in the front row - and I just couldn't fit in at all, ended up having to sit sideways and then just stood to the side instead. I was given the ticket for £10 and even at that price it wasn't worth it."

"B11 to 13: The front row may be cramped but I would try it if I wanted to go again. I was in B11, my daughter and wife were in B12 and B13. My wife had difficulty until she could lean sideways after B14 and B15 decamped to somewhere in C. I was lucky, A10 and A11 did not turn up, but if A11 had done his/her head would have been centre stage. My wife tells me that row C were complaining and asking, without success, to be moved."

"B 21 to 23: (Simon). £25 from Ticketmaster. Good value we thought; decent legroom (I'm 5'11") and a good view even for my 10 year-old, albeit through the gaps between the heads in row A - only a problem if they leaned forward. There were no seats behind us so we could have sat on a coat or bag for extra height if we'd needed to!"

"B24 and B25: The view was great - just an ever so slight obstruction by the hand rail which meant a small part of the left hand side of the stage was obscured but it didn't detract. Next time, I would be quite happy to sit in the centre of Row C as that view was perfect (I tried out a few of the empty seats!)."

"Row C: "The Comedy about a Bank Robbery" (March 2016), (Graham). I'm not an upper circle fan but it was the best of a bad bunch when choosing. However after consulting the theatre bible a.k.a. Theatre Monkey I decided on the back row of the upper circle and was very pleased with these seats as one is still not that far from the stage and view was great so would have no problems booking these again."





 

Upper Circle Boxes
Layout:
Boxes E and F are at Upper Circle level. Both are located at the sides of the theatre, either side of the stage.

Both seat 2 people.

Legroom:
Good, as seats are movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
These offer a side view of the stage. Sold at third price normally, these boxes offer a good alternative to all the pillar blighted seats in the rest of the theatre for those willing to lean a lot.

General Hazard Notes:
The odd viewing angle preventing seeing the nearest edge of the stage to the box unless you lean right up against the wall.

Changes for the current production:
Not in use.

Reader Comments:
"
Box E: (James). The view was fine for £10, but you really do have to lean forwards to see anything, almost out of the box! Hard on the legs too, as you're pressed right up against the edge of the box. Also worth knowing is that the boxes can only be booked over the phone, and no booking fee or postage was charged at all, unlike for the other seats in the theatre!"

 

Notes
Total 590 seats.

Air-conditioned auditorium. Reader Tom rated it good in July 2010.

Hearing loop available. Occasional signed performances. Guide dog sitter available. Access to Wheelchair places via firedoor and down a slope. Adapted unisex toilet available (segregated would have been nicer). Specific details from the theatre on 020 7839 8811. Information can also be found at www.theatre-access.co.uk, Artsline 020 7388 2227, email artsline@dicon.co.uk.  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 Dress Circle.

2 toilets. Dress Circle 1 gents 3 cubicles, 1 ladies 8 cubicles.
Reader Sara Levene comments,
"I would like to commend this theatre for having 8 cubicles in the stalls’ Ladies loo – all female theatregoers will understand that this is a very positive recommendation."

 

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:
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 ignore the first staircase to your right, marked "Shaftesbury Avenue". Continue along the tunnel passing the "Trocadero" doors, and follow it as it curves round. Follow the arrow on the sign ahead of you that says "Eros" - it points on down the tunnel to your right. 

In this new section of tunnel, take the stairs ahead and to your right up to the street.

At the top of the stairs, the Criterion Theatre is to your right.

 

Buses:
3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 38, 55, 88, and 159 to Piccadilly Circus.

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a good distance from the theatre, if you cannot hail one in the busy street outside the venue.

 

Car Park:
China Town.

From the car park, walk ahead and turn right to face Shaftesbury Avenue. On Shaftsbury Avenue, turn to your left. Walk along, passing the Lyric and Apollo Theatres on the other side of the road. If you see the Palace Theatre, wrong way.

At the end of Shaftesbury Avenue, the Criterion Theatre is ahead of you, across Piccadilly Circus behind the statue of Eros.

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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