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



BRIEF ENCOUNTER (play with music)
Ends 9th September 2018.

In a railway station cafe, she has a smut in her eye, he is a doctor. This is love, British style.

Noel Coward's classic script is given the Kneehigh Theatre treatment by Emma Rice.


Theatremonkey Opinion:
(seen at the afternoon performance on 8th April 2018). Arrive early, as you won't want to miss the "pre-show." The rest is about as British as the flag, and indeed, rarely does.

An inventive re-telling of Noel "The Master" Coward's classic railway story, this opens out the film by featuring her husband. It also features a beautifully presented selection of His songs, by a talented actor / musician team. Events engulf the audience in a mixture of live action, a little projection, some puppetry and more than a little foolery along the way.

The frustrated (and very correct) lovers Laura (Isabel Pollen) and Alec (Jim Sturgeon) could have stepped from the page of any 1940s novel. Ms Pollen has the uprightness of the dutiful wife and mother, with economy of movement and speech pattern to match. Mr Sturgeon gives us "manful" with a hint of scoundrel, the pair quite obviously smitten and entertaining with it.

In supporting roles, Beryl (Beverly Rudd) takes the honours. With a couple of other characters to play too, she once again demonstrates her comedic talents, lovely singing voice (as those who remember her Regent's Park 'Into The Woods' brat will recall) and a versatility that puts her in the top flight of character performers in the West End at the moment.

Stanley (Jos Slovick) is her perfect partner in crime - and a talented entertainer with a neat line in confectionery. Competing the station buffet team,  Myrtle (Lucy Thackeray) is hugely amusing as dispenser of dodgy buns (also, possibly overcharging for tea - the monkey swears she asked the doctor for 3d, when the projected menu said 1 1/2d, but still). Stationmaster Albert (Dean Nolan) has more than a match on his hands, but his ability to improvise and play a number of characters of varying ages should see him through - his portrayal of loyal husband Fred being equally good.

Nice work from Katrina Kleve, Peter Dukes, Seamas Carey and Pat Moran as musicians and various parts from ushers to cranky neighbours shouldn't be missed and deserve equal mention with all others on the stage for sure.

If sometimes things feel a little long with music or a scene change stretching out a little, no matter. Accept that this is a different time, and pace yourself accordingly. As a little piece of time-travel, it's well worth the experience.


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

(1 review)

Sat in M7 which provided a great view.

The production is great fun and there are so many ideas coupled with frantic energy that the 90 minutes flew by. It's a fascinating venue and the programme is worth the £4 to learn about the history of it.

If you are looking for frivolous fun it a perfect night out.



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.

Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm ONLY.

Runs 1 hours 30 minutes approximately, with no interval.


Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

Rows B to L: £52.50 except:
"Premium Seats" row E to L 10 to 25: £65
Rows M to Q 7 to 36: £39.50
Rows A, M to Q 1 to 4 and 39 to 42, and row R: £20

RUSH TICKETS: App Todaytix are offering £20 "Rush tickets" for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix, unlock the "Rush Ticketing" feature by sharing on Facebook or Twitter, and that will allow you to buy tickets.

NHS staff can see the show for free, with a friend, if there are tickets left on the day. Apply to the box office, with I.D. from 30 minutes before show time, and receive a pair of tickets, if 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: 
The venue is using the Old Vic Theatre's website to provide the service for this show.
This site allows seat selection.

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
£1.50 per booking, not per ticket, transaction fee is charged. Cheaper than by telephone.

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 £52.50 seats with a £12 booking fee. 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. Meal and Show Ticket Deals may also be available, click here. 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 / telephone 0870 830 0200 (FREE call if using Calling Plan at your chosen times) which offers £52.50 seats with a £10.50 (£13 on £65 seats) booking fee per ticket; and £2.75 per booking, not per ticket handling fee.

Another alternative is who offer seats with a booking fee of £8.75 on £52.50 seats (£10.75 on £65, £6.75 on £39.50, £3.50 on £20 seats). This system allows you to choose your own seats from the selection the company has available.

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer seats with a booking fee of £15.50 on £52.50 seats (£19 on £65, £11.50 on £39.50 seats). 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.

London Theatre Direct offer seats with a booking fee of £10.50 on £52.50 seats (£13 on £65, £8 on £39.50, £4 on £20 seats). 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.

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 871 7628
Operated by the Old Vic Theatre group's appointed ticket agency, Ticketzone.

Booking fees per transaction for telephone bookings:
£2.50 per booking, not per ticket, transaction fee is charged. This is more expensive than booking online.

For personal callers or by post: Empire Cinema, 63-65 Haymarket, St James’s, London SW1Y 4RL
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 0844 871 7628. 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 auditorium is usually a cinema - and the actual space was once the upper circle of a theatre.

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Notes

Seating is split into front and rear sections by an aisle behind row L.

The front section is split into central and two side blocks by aisles. The rear section is split into 5 blocks by aisles, plus two entrance doors built into the seating from rows M to P, between seats M9 and 18 and 25 and 34.

Rows A to D are on a sloping floor. All other rows are tiered on steps. Seats are cinema seats with high backs and cup-holders - very comfortable, notes the monkey.

Unlimited in row A, and Q 21, 22 and 23, with nothing in front.

H12 and 22 have space for one leg.

All other rows are more than comfortable for those of average height (around 5 ft 10 or so) in all seats except row R, which appears to have less space, perhaps fine for those of 5ft 8 or so.

Row P 10, 16, 22, 27 and 33 have flat "aisle end" panels in front of them. Though it looks like they have less legroom, the monkey feels they have the same. Likewise, P 11 to 15 and 28 to 32 behind walls above the auditorium entrance are similarly not deprived of legroom.

Choosing Seats in General:
The cinema origins both help and hinder sightlines here. On the plus side, all centre block seats have an outstanding view of the adapted stage. On the minus, side seats and those furthest from the stage feel a long way back as live characters are far shorter than projected ones.

Front section:
The off-set (seats arranged so you can see between the two in front) between seats isn't great. Without much rake (slope to help seats see over those in front) the monkey rates rows B to D worth avoiding for all but the tallest. There's no way for the short to see either over or around heads in front, if need be.

Rows E to L are nicely stepped, though, making these first choice in the centre block, then the two just off the aisle in F to L - 10, 11, 24 and 25.

Moving outwards, the next 2 are acceptable, but views decline the further off the centre you go, and the monkey would skip the outermost 4 seats at all times.

The sound desk is on its own against the side wall near row H 34, over the aisle from it. No problems for anybody, feels the monkey.

Rear section:
Between seats 7 and 36, the middle two and immediately adjacent blocks, row M is rather fun. Walls in front of the row mean that each little section feels like a private box. Pretty great view over the rows in front, too, for all but the shortest (under 5ft 3 or so).

Row N is likewise acceptable, but go as central as possible for best value.

Row P seats 10, 16, 22, 27 and 33 have the flat "aisle end" panels in front of them, but no issue seeing over, either.

Row Q appears to be designed to unite the other blocks, running unbroken from 7 to 36, behind the wall above the entrances at 11 to 15 and 28 to 32. Once more, the view from all seats is fine, only those under 5ft 3 should perhaps sit further along to miss the wall out. Row Q 16 to 27 has the added advantage of having nothing but a wall behind it, too.

Row R does feel tucked away, and looks to have a little less legroom. 15 to 5 and 28 to 35 are acceptable, though, with a clear view.

Only outer blocks seem really remote. Skip M to Q 1 to 4 and 39 to 42, and R 3 to 5 and 38 to 40. Very far to the sides, with a difficult angled view to the stage.

General Hazard Notes:
Rows B to D are not well-raked nor off-set to compensate.

Row R may feel claustrophobic for some.

Outer row ends have a lesser viewing angle to the action.

Changes for the current production:
The stage is low, with small footlights that won't bother anyone. The width varies during the performance - when, most of the time, the curtains are wide open, action is mostly inside two areas of scenery at the sides and above the stage - good visibility from almost all seats. If the curtains are not fully open, those at the sides will lose views at times.

Row A is the cheapest in the house, and 12 to 19, then 11 and 24 have an outstanding view. Expect to look up at times, but it's worth it (the 12 side of the auditorium is where to be for maximum effect). Just take the outermost three seats last as viewing some sequences is difficult from there.

Moving back, all other seats are "top non-premium" price, or "premium" price. At "premium" price, take row F, then G, then E, if you must, feels the monkey, then H back.

Of the other seats, there isn't a lot of great stuff outside the premium ones. Perhaps try F to L 9 and 26 then 8 and 27, and the next seat along from that, or take seats in central B, then C or D before going much further off the centre. Those in rows B to D could miss action with tall folk in front, but less than being to the sides, monkey feels.

The monkey would try to skip outermost 5 seats in rows back to L, as the angle to action isn't good. If you do have to sit here, "high numbers" probably see more, but "low numbers" are more 'involved' in the action.

Moving back, seats drop a price, making M to Q good hunting - M and N 7 to 36 in particular, taking most central seats first.

M to Q 1 to 4 and 39 to 42, and row R are bottom price, if you can't get in on row A. Take M to Q 4 or 39 first, then 3 if you must. The rest really are very far to the sides, with a difficult angled view to the stage.

At lowest price, and more central, row R is also acceptable to all but the claustrophobic, but the monkey would go for cheaper row A if at all possible.

Reader Comments:
"M7: (Taljaard). Provided a great view."


Total 454 seats.

Air-conditioned auditorium.

Guide dogs welcome. No hearing loop. No wheelchair facility, as the entrance is up 30 steps, with a minimum of 1 extra step up or down to row K or M, the nearest to the entrance, and one step between every other row in the auditorium, from row D back.

Food: Ice Cream and confectionery available.

Two Bars, foyer and stalls.

2 toilets in all. Stalls 1 gents 3 cubicles, 1 ladies 5 cubicles.


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.

Keep walking through this tunnel and ignore the first staircase marked "Shaftesbury Avenue". Continue along the tunnel passing the "Trocadero" doors, and follow it as it curves past another set of doors. Follow the arrow on the sign ahead of you that says "Eros" (the tunnel continues to the right). 

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

You will emerge near the Criterion Theatre. Walk ahead of you. If you see two roads - Piccadilly and Regent Street - with a shop between them..., wrong way. 

You will come to a busy road, Haymarket. Railings prevent you crossing it. A large statue of horses is to your right. Turn to your right and walk down Haymarket. 

Cross Jermyn Street, continue walking downhill. Cross St James's Market and Norris Street. The cinema is to your right. If you Cross Charles II Street, too far!


6,12,13,15,22B,38,53, 88,159 to Haymarket. Haymarket is a one way street. If you are travelling by bus from Trafalgar Square to Piccadilly Circus, leave the bus at the first stop in Lower Regent Street. Cross Lower Regent Street. Turn to your right, looking downhill towards the Crimea War Memorial column with the road either side of it. The first side street after the roads rejoin in front of the monument is Charles II Street. Walk along it. Her Majesty's Theatre is at the end on the right - go on to the corner, look the other way, and the cinema you want is on your left. If you come to a garden square instead, wrong way. Turn around, walk back to Regent Street, cross it, and walk down the other part of Charles II Street.

If travelling from Oxford Street or Shaftesbury Avenue you will be able to leave the bus on Haymarket itself. Do so at the second stop in the street.


A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a fair distance from the theatre. Best chance of hailing one is in the street outside.


Car Park:
Whitcomb Street. Leave the car park, turn left and walk uphill. The first street on your left is Panton Street. Turn down it and pass the multiscreen film complex. Keep going straight on. Pass the Harold Pinter (formerly Comedy) Theatre. At the end of the street is Haymarket, a busy road. Cross it and turn to your left. Walk downhill, cross St James's Market and Norris Street. The cinema is to your right. If you Cross Charles II Street, too far!

Spring Gardens / Trafalgar Square is also nearby.

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







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