About the theatremonkey website
For "Frequently Asked Questions" about London
Theatre in general, click here.
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Who are you?
Theatremonkey is a Londoner who knows the major West End theatres like the back of his paw.
See its' autobiography - a tragic but true
Why the name?
Theatremonkey likes to think it is "monkeying about" with a
respected institution - the secretive world of London Theatre! The other reason
is personal and emailing a large sum to the monkey's bank will reveal it!
Why this site?
Theatremonkey has spent years talking to fellow audience members and has noticed how often
we get a raw deal as customers. From high prices for poor seats, to sitting through a third rate performance of a supposedly ' Top ' show, Theatremonkey
compared notes and, using the wonders of technology, put them on this unofficial private fan site.
So what is it getting out of this?
Theatremonkey loves London's theatres and is keen to encourage the world to share
the passion. And get the best deal they can when they do.
This site is totally independent,
managed by an enthusiastic amateur site owner, and as such says what it likes. Earning
the respect of the industry, backed up by affiliate membership of STAR (The
Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) and with millions of visitors since
2000, it also basks in that rather lovely history too.
So it works in the Industry?
Nope, never. Theatremonkey is just
ordinary customers who, over the years found their own ways around.
How reliable is its Opinion?
Information on this site is
Theatremonkey personal, subjective opinion, based on what has been seen and heard over
many, many years it has been theatregoing and running the website.
Nobody knows everything and contributors are welcome
and strongly encouraged to add to the knowledge here. This site aims to be a
place for theatregoers to share ideas and experiences, not be a personal
"soapbox" for the owner. Theatremonkey's own opinions "calls it as
it sees it" and sincerely hopes not to steer you wrong. Also, please see What
Guests say about this website.
Explain your Seat Ratings?
Everyone is different and has their own preferences and opinions on what
constitutes good value. For this website, the seats
to buy / avoid ratings by the site writers are compiled based on a person five foot six tall, paying
full price for a ticket. Recommendations are based on view of the stage, value for
money and (dealt with in greater detail elsewhere) comfort
- often expressed as the "legroom" factor.
Some folk are confused by the colour codes employed on the seating plans. As
one regular reader puts it,
"I take green seats to be the ones that might
be worth choosing first, white ones a second choice and red
a third because the monkey has a comment to make about them".
And that about sums up the intention of the site. The idea is NOT to grade
seats "good, not so good, bad" but instead to highlight those that
merit particular comments to be made about them.
The monkey takes a cautious and conservative approach to this charting, and
for that reason some comment that tickets are better than the site guide
indicated. Great! The monkey is delighted that a reader felt they had
experienced "added value" in thier outing. Far better to be pleased
than disappointed...and if you are pleased, do share with other readers: contact
Can you help me pick between / describe the differences between two seats?
The site offers an overview of every venue, plus as many comments as it receives
about each one from other readers. Only you can decide if it is worth handing
over your hard earned bananas for a seat, so personal instinct is honestly the
best policy! Consider your own needs in terms of legroom, price and whether you
are trying to have a special or simple evening out...and the answers should
become clearer than even "Mystic Monkey" could help you with!
I'm larger than average, can you help on locating suitable seats?
A page of advice is available by
No Fancy Graphics?
The monkey has to be careful about copyright. Where it has obtained
permission, it uses graphics. Otherwise it generates its own!
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Seating Plans - not like in the theatre?
seating plans are copyright. To avoid any conflict, Theatremonkey has created
its own using carefully written notes from site visits rather than copying in
any way existing plans.
How often are pages updated
/ what happens if they are not?
Theatremonkey has the ability to update pages at any time during opening
hours - and does so whenever it has new information to add. Changes that result
from a production closing are usually made late on a Saturday afternoon.
Occasionally, for technical reasons, it isn't
possible to update pages as quickly as it would like. In those cases, please
excuse outdated / incorrect information - it will be altered as the earliest
Pop / Music Venues too?
Long overdue for comment in Theatremonkey's opinion and while being honest about the theatres, why not use the space.
What No Opera Coverage?
The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has a large and devoted following who are often forced by high prices to seek only the affordable seats - Slips at the very top edges of the theatre and the farthest recesses of the Amphitheatre. They know these are at least cheap and offer a way to hear the music and see what they can.
The official Royal Opera House website also has an interactive seating plan now,
allowing visitors to check the view from many seats all over the venue.
Also, the monkey knows nothing about this specialised art form, so does not
feel it can attempt to cover it!
A reader says,
"I must say that the http://www.roh.org.uk/
interactive seating plan is wonderful....it is incredibly honest and even lets
you know if a head may be in the way.... Oh, and for the record I saw a ballet
there from row T of the amphitheatre - and although I was far away I had a great
view (I remembered the binoculars!!) the legroom was great but my view of the
stage un-obscured and being that far away, you really do appreciate the
choreography.(£15 a seat). Also note that there are NO binoculars in the seats
so people may be disappointed. this is not mentioned anywhere on the ROH site.
Folding paper binoculars are available in the shop for £2 and actually do an
From what readers have told the monkey, the following applies to the London
Coliseum, if it helps:
"the central stalls are good, the stage boxes have a one-fifth restricted view
but are great for close viewing, the top balcony cheap with bars in the way but
a value-for-money view of the stage for £5, and the sound and air-conditioning
are variable! The Upper Circle seats are now spaced as well as the stalls, but
the front row lacks legroom.
Another reader adds, in November 2007,
"It may be worth mentioning that kids appear to go half price as standard. Aside
from the fact that the prices of the tickets, if you want something decent, are
high, it does make taking a child more appealing (even more so when your ten
year old turns out to really enjoy 'The Magic Flute'!!). There is also something
strange at work, at least with an online booking that I haven't quite fathomed
which meant went I last booked I actually paid a third of my seat price for my
daughter. I booked two shows at the same time and I'm on their mailing list.
However, that doesn't quite explain it and I don't like to ask too many
The monkey is saying nothing either, but finds
the information interesting...
Another reader found box D very cozy.
Beyond that, the official website is at
www.eno.org - - and the box office is on
020 7632 8310 (often answered by See Tickets).
"Hoverfly: a life on the edge of the seat" at
facebook.com/HoveringLife, twitter.com/hoveringlife or
https://plus.google.com/103720238167228257499/posts reviews ballet and dance
from the specific perspective of one seeking cheap seats, commenting on both the
productions and what she thinks of where she sat for them. The blog covers the
ROH, Linbury Studio and London Coliseum, among many others.
Why don't you cover the Globe Theatre?
The Globe has a unique and wonderful website www.shakespearesglobe.com
which actually allows you to look at the stage from every section of the theatre seating.
http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/about-us/virtual-tour. With coverage like that,
a theatremonkey report seems a little unnecessary! Look under
"Booking" on their website for this useful information. A seating plan
is also available
www.londontheatre.co.uk showing numbering.
One reader says of the place, following a first visit,
"must remember next time to get seats in Row A where you can lean forward, or
Row E where you can lean back. We were in Row B in the middle on the lowest
level which was a great view but the lack of back support was a bit of a problem
“A6 and 7: “Henry V,” (Chris B). These seats have
a side on view of the stage but as they are the front row, they allow for a good
clear view of the stage. This is a very unique venue, and you almost feel
privileged to be part of such a historical building. They are far enough to the
right to avoid looking directly at the large pillar holding up the front of the
canopy over the stage. These seats are also raised so you can easily see over
the many people standing in the ‘yard’. As it is primarily Shakespeare performed
here and most are 3 hours plus, I’d recommend getting a seat and also either
hiring a cushion or sitting on a coat etc as the seats are very uncomfortable
(essentially wooden boards). I wouldn’t say these seats are perfect by any
stretch but you are close enough to hear everything, see most of it, even if
from a side view, and of course covered if it rains. Plus they are very cheap
which is always good.
Regular reader Taaljard weighs in with, "Sat in
the from row of the lower circle, perfect view for "Richard II" in 2015.
Another reader adds, in 2016: 28th May 2016, "The Taming of the Shrew." Yard:
It’s simple: Pay just £5 for a standing only ticket. Be 2 hours early to queue
for a spot directly at the stage. Be ready to duck from actor’s spittle (almost
every performance) or large amounts of fake blood (Titus Andronicus). Yes, it’s
somewhat uncomfortable and exhausting to stand for so long, but the immediacy of
being so close to (and sometimes in the middle of) the action makes it
worthwhile. Experienced "groundlings" bring a little stool for queuing.
"I'm a great big fatty, and tall too at 6'3". I notice that you don't say
anything about the Globe, or their new indoor theatre the Sam Wanamaker
Playhouse. I've found both to be very comfortable if you go for tickets in the
front row of whatever section you're in."
Why don't you cover other particular London venues?
The reason alas is time, space and cost. The monkey has only limited amounts
of all these, and it has to draw a line somewhere. While it would be great to
cover more places, the monkey simply can't afford the resources to do so. It
would hate to add somewhere and then not be able to monitor changes as they
happened. Rather than post information that could be years out of date, it
currently would rather not disappoint readers...so it "sticks to the
knitting" for the time being.
Some venues are now improving things for themselves. A reader writes,
http://www.cadoganhall.com/seatingplan.html now have a ‘’view from seat’
function, which enables you to ‘see’ the sightlines to the stage from various
(As it is primarily a concert venue, I would have thought the most important
thing would be the sound, but that is another matter) From a brief view, and my
own knowledge of the hall it seemed pretty helpful.
On the venue itself the reader continues,
"As the Cadogan Hall has been relatively recently renovated into a venue, they
have been able to pay attention to the seating, without structural compromises –
the seats are comfortable and ‘good’ everywhere so they are proud to show them –
though I would personally avoid those right down the front, because you either
get a fabulous view up a soloists armpit or strain to see the back region of an
"We have visited there a few times and have to say that even in the cheaper
seats at the back it is very comfortable, nice seats, lots of leg room and also
the sound quality is good. That is I suppose, as long as you do not sit behind
one of the pillars! They do have a good view from your seat application though,
so you know what your getting."
Of the "Little" space at Southwark Playhouse, a
"Superheroes -Southwark Playhouse, The Little - Superheroes (July 2017),
"There are no numbered seats and you sit where you like. The seating is bench
like and I chose to sit in the front row at the end of the row. The theatre is
very intimate and from my seat I had an excellent view of the stage."
The London O2 arena at the Millennium Dome:
Due to the size of the venue, the monkey isn't planning
full coverage at the moment, but will keep the idea under review.
To book, a "choose your own seat" system is available at the main
venue website www.theO2.co.uk. Low booking
fees and simple.
venue has (unusually for a large hall) made fairly comprehensive numbered plans
available online here (nifty 3D plan), and also with their main ticket agency, Ticketmaster.
Click here for the venue page, and select a plan from the "View a
drop down box to the right of the big "O2" graphic title. The graphics
show row, seat and block numbering for most of the events planned, where it is
known and confirmed. Don't forget that seating in the centre of a venue often
isn't fixed until the very last second as stages are portable and nobody quite
knows where equipment will go - hence nobody has total plans online because
crystal balls are in short supply, alas!
A reader reports,
" personally I wouldn’t go for the upper tier seating – it is very steep and not
particularly pleasant – you know it’s bad when you see people coming down the
steps backwards (true I swear!)"
The London Coliseum
The monkey took a visit in 2015, and noted the following:
Stalls: The circle does not overhang any seats except boxes D to L. Stalls have
steps rather than slope between rows, quite shallow but seats are well staggered
to see between those in front. Seats also narrower than those in the dress
circle. Row Q is in an alcove at the back. No aisles at the ends of rows from D
Rows A to D at the outer ends of the side blocks have a private door to them, if
you know how to reach it (use the side corridors leading to the stalls boxes,
follow round to a big door just beyond them, saves a lot of pushing past in
those rows!). From row E back, the seats are right against the wall, so no
The "restricted view" seats at the ends of rows are due to speakers / lighting.
Only the outermost seats in B and C miss much, the inner two are total bargains
usually, felt the monkey. The end one may lose a bit, but has legroom...
Legroom is fine up to 5ft 11 or so, B and C 1 and C 39
have nothing in front. The seats beside them - 3 in B, 1 in C, may also have
nothing in front, depending on the production. With nothing in front, those end
seats in row B has less legroom than C, as the seats are closer to the orchestra
Stalls boxes A and B have side views and miss the stage edges, as do C and M
further back. D to L are in a horseshoe at the back and have a decent view over
seats in front.
Dress Circle: Circle above overhangs at row B,
can't see surtitles from H back, lose the very top of the stage at J and
significant top at L. A very shallow rake to seats, except L, on a high step. C
2 and 51 have nothing in front. D 1 and 53 are angled at 45 degrees to the
stage, with no legroom for a quarter of the seat, unlimited for the rest. D1 is
slightly better angled. Side block aisle seats nearest the centre block have a
little space for one leg to stretch into from row C back. Row L end seats have a
step in front of them, allowing longer legs to dangle a bit. Side block seats
row A 1 and 72 look past lighting. Close to the stage, though.
Legroom is nil in most of row A, 1 to 3, 15 to 38, 70 and 71 in particular. A 4
to 12 and 62 to 68 are OK to around 5ft 5, even 5ft 7 if willing to use toe-room
(not for the monkey, though). Side block B and C, except those with nothing in
front are OK to around 5ft 6 or so. Other seats in the main blocks from B to L
are comfortable to 5ft 10, K to 5ft 8, at least.
Dress Circle boxes have side views but seem excellent.
A reader says of "Sunset Boulevard" in April 2016, "We chose £75 'restricted
view' seats in the dress circle on row C (44 and 45). View was great even is it
was off to the side a little bit - didn't miss anything."
Upper Circle: Circle above overhangs at row B,
can't see surtitles from H back. No legroom in any seat for anyone over 5ft 5
except: C1 - 60% clear in front, B 1 and 51 and C56 - 100% clear. A 1 and 43
have no legroom at all. Boxes have similar views to dress circle.
Balcony: High and misses sides or front of stage,
depending where you sit. Seats are set high on the old concrete steps, so
legroom isn't bad for those under 5ft 6 (just avoid end seats in rows A to C),
and row K is good for those up to 5ft 9 plus. End seats in row K - 1, 6, 7, 19,
20, 32, 33, 45, 46 and 51 have no arm rest on the aisle side, allowing further
Of "Bat Out Of Hell" in June
2017, a reader reports,
"I don't hate all musicals, because there are loads that I haven't seen yet.
Whilst there are original, entertaining plays and novels appearing almost every
week that is likely to remain the case. Bat Out Of Hell was interesting because
it started out as a version of Peter Pan with car crashes. The original producer
considered the whole work to be a joke at the expense of the then "Future Of
Rock'n'Roll", Bruce Springsteen. This production has obviously been chosen to
restore the fortunes of the English National Opera, purveyors of very old
musicals, whose home must be short of state subsidies and recently deceased
It's a rock musical so it must concern the dystopian future where "the kids"
take on a dictator. Whereas We Will Rock You had a version of TV-am fitness and
product placement guru, Rusty Lee, as the baddy, Hell has decided on Barry out
of The Chuckle Brothers. Everyone knows that he is a dictator because this
information is projected onto the backdrop before the start. Other than that the
only clue of his totalitarian tendencies is during a Guantanamo Baywatch
sequence at the start of Act 2 where he does a dance number with a large
skittle, accompanied by some orange jumpsuited people who are sometimes in a
cage. The sad truth is that even if the entire musical had featured The
Tellytubbies frolicking in meadows whilst reversing global warming and World
poverty, it would still have appeared dystopian.
The sound was plain awful. In an apparent attempt to stop the distortion from
the speakers suspended from a ceiling, under a dome, the top and bottom of the
sound mix were taken out so both a snare drum and a bass drum sounded like a
blancmange being whipped with a piece of damp wool by a kitten. Not very
Rock'n'Roll. During the second song the female part of the duet slapped her hand
over the mouth of the male. His singing continued over the speaker and his lip
microphone didn't pick anything up from the hand apparently hitting it. The
technical shortcomings may have disguised the almost complete lack of content.
The yooff are underground dwelling zombies who are permanently 18. Never grow
up, get it? Head yooff wants to elope with dictator's daughter. Dictator wants
to rekindle his wife's love for him. There are a lot of really awful ballads
expressing everyone's yearning. They are all along the lines of , " I am a
leach. who lives in a peach, on a beach, out of reach, from your speech, when
will we meet, it will be treat, even though I lack feet". During the fifteenth
version I decided to start a campaign for real pornography. If the various
participants had simply got on with it to start with then two minutes later
everyone could have got on with their lives and probably done something more
interesting. It might demean women, but I'm sure that their right to chose not
to listen to another romantic poodle-rock ditty would probably have higher moral
The highlight of the evening was when a motorbike was presumably supposed to fly
off, a la Peter Pan, but part remained on the stage whilst others pieces just
dangled. A few embarrassed moments later the lights dimmed and the safety
curtain came down. Unfortunately , many of the character's had similar problems.
Someone called Tink (yeah, that obvious) appeared, got himself killed, but the
main yooff person was still sitting on his grave six months later. A woman, who
looked like Rusty Lee from We Will Rock You, appeared to be in love with several
people and worked for both the goodies and the baddies. A final twist in the
tail? No, she has another sing-song then disappears.
Ten quid for a programme from the ushers. Forty Pounds for a small cushion from
the merchandise stall. One Pound for the original music from Oxfam.
Ms Lola Bear"
The monkey saw the show, and disagreed - its blog
is at www.theatremonkeybook.com.
For seating advice, it would go for the dress circle and upwards, for overall
view. If in the stalls, around row G back, gives the best view. If further
forward, then centre block first, then "low numbers" side of the auditorium if
possible in the side blocks. There are relatively cheaper seats on the side
blocks of row A that are worth a look - take the one closest to the centre aisle
first, the rest on the "low numbers" side after that, and then the rest on the
high numbers side. Same goes for rows B and C cheaper seats behind, too, the
another reader says of "Bat Out Of Hell,
"I went to see "Bat out of Hell" on 21st June 2017, and was seated in Stalls D3 - in many ways
I loved the seat, felt very up close BUT you did lose any action to the right of
the stage which was blocked by a big speaker.
Also, couldn't see everything that was going on in Raven's bedroom, though that
was often picked up on the screen on the left of the stage.
I read your review and agree with your comments. It wasn't a production I was that
bothered about going to, but am glad I did - I did love the album. I refused to
pay £10 for a programme. people were also extremely upset at being forced to
leave their water bottles at the door, on the hottest day of the year - feelings
of cynicism being forced to buy pricy drinks. Though free water was available.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, it was overblown 70s rock, cheesy, no real story
but the special effects team had obviously been allowed to run riot! The
atmosphere was great, friendly audience and a really fun evening.
Another reader says,
"Bat out of Hell Tuesday 27th June 2017.
Upper Circle K 38
Seat was at near the back, but the view was excellent and there was plenty of
leg room. At this performance the Upper Circle was half empty and many people
were moving to more expense seats lower down in the Upper Circle.
An excellent show, with fantastic visual effects and settings. The actors all
had strong voices and easily carried to my seat. All the orchestrations were
also excellent. I would highly recommend seeing this show. It was my first rock
musical, although I knew the music of Meat Loaf and I would certainly go to
another after my experience. The actors received a well deserved standing
Another reader says,
"Given the theatrical nature of Meat Loaf’s performances and Jim Steinman’s
lyrics, it is a wonder ‘Bat of of Hell’ (the 5th best-selling album of all time)
has taken so long to be turned into a musical. Well finally it has. Taking over
The Coliseum (the ENO doesn’t know what has hit it!) before heading to Canada.
OK, we know the show is a vehicle for the songs. And a story needs to be built
purely to wrap around them. It is a very thin wrapping! A wafer thin plot blends
elements from Peter Pan, Romeo and Juliet, We Will Rock You, The Lost Boys, The
Rocky Horror Show and Streets of Fire (an unashamed ‘guilty pleasure’ of mine;
possibly the most cliché-ridden movie of all time, featuring a number of
Steinman songs that are rolling round in my head as I write this).
The plot runs along the lines of [BIT SPOILEY] boy meets girl (who how she knew
him when it seems she had never been out?), parents get in the way, girl finds
parents getting jiggy, boy’s friends get girl for boy, someone gets jealous,
father exploits it, bad stuff happens and a few boys resolve issues with girls
(and girls with girls as well) [END OF SPOILEY STUFF].
But so what? The plot does what it is meant to do; get you to those songs as
quickly as possible. Given the whole script could probably be written out on a
single sheet of paper, it manages to include drama, humour, romance, some bad
language and smutty asides, and makes a three hour (including interval) show fly
And huge amount so credit to a (mostly) very young cast for belting out those
songs with aplomb. Each cast member with a big song has the voice to handle a
belting rock number – and those songs especially have a big ask vocally – and
the stage presence to make it convincing.
A real highlight for me were Christina Bennington’s vocals as Raven. Yes, she
could handle a rock song, but when asked to perform the one truly gentle, slow
ballad, she gave it a tenderness that would have been all too easy to miss in
the maelstrom of the other numbers (if the producers of ‘Wicked’ are sizing up
potential new Ephabas, you could do a lot worse than heading over to The
Coliseum to check her out). Also a big shout out to Ruben Van Keer, the
alternate Strat on the night we went. He made the title song his own and his
performance hit all the right notes as the time-locked lead.
A special [SPOILER] moment: Rob Fowler, how did you pull of that underwater
costume change! And then come to the surface to pound out yet another full-blast
vocal! [SPOILER ENDS]
I know some have grumbled about the amplifiers being turned up to 11. Yes, you
do lose Steinman’s lyrics at times (well an awful lot really), which is a shame
as he does pen a clever lyric. But with a band that good, I’ll forgive them (a
lot of people went to the front after the cast had left just to see the band,
listen to them play out and applaud them... this little theatre goer always does
and so should you all).
I also wonder if the show would benefit from a smaller stage; the impressive set
(really clever use of lighting) filled it well, but at times when there were few
performers on stage it seemed cavernous.
I do have a grump; the chronic under-use of Sharon Sexton. She spends almost the
entire time as the ‘sidekick’ to another performer. But when she gets her chance
at her big solo moment, she grabs it with both hands.
So what to make of Bat out of Hell? If you’re looking for a complex plot, forget
it. If you want a loud, raucous, thumping rock concert of a show, get down there
before 22nd August.
I think the night was best summed up by my wife Laura “It was utterly bonkers...
but we all need spot of bonkers now and again!”
Oh, and can I please have those animatronic bats when they’re finished with
Regular reader Tonyloco opines:
"Well, London’s third great 2017 musical after On the Town and 42nd
Street is definitely Bat Out of Hell. I thought it was sensational in
every respect and I particularly loved its theatricality in the set, the
sound and lighting, the videos and the jokes, especially the car
I knew nothing of the music except perhaps a passing acquaintance with ‘Bat
Out of Hell’ but I thought all the songs fitted the action perfectly and were of
a higher quality than some of the recent pop music composed for musicals like
Kinky Boots and 9 to 5. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ arrived spectacularly during the
mid-1950s when I was at my most impressionable in my late teens with Bill
Hayley, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly and of course Elvis and today I felt I was
right back there with REAL ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’. I know Jim Steinman is much later
than all that but to me the true sound of original Rock ‘n’ Roll was in every
song in the show and I loved it all.
The other thing that impressed me enormously (as with those other two shows
mentioned above) was that the music was presented in the best possible way. It
was loud but not too loud, the balance between the voices and the orchestra was
perfect, and I could understand almost every word. And, best of all, it sounded
like real theatre music. I could hear harmonies and orchestral colours all the
time, even in the loudest ensemble numbers which truly sounded to me like
classic rock but also like a terrific score to a stage musical played by a
I was smiling broadly throughout the entire performance, except when I sat
there open-mouthed in amazement at some of the numbers. Actually, after a
powerful conclusion to the first act, my smile was a bit less broad throughout
the second half which did not maintain the power of the first half but I still
loved it all. The entire cast was top class and I thought all the singing was
exceptionally good. I was particularly happy that all the women sounded so good
when in the past I have had problems with painfully loud female voices as in
Ghost for example. No, it’s not that I am getting deafer – it is down to top
class sound design!
Now for a few gripes. Firstly, it is outrageous that the programme should be
£10. That price is acceptable for a glossy souvenir for those who want such a
thing, but a normal programme should be no more than £5. I think £10 is a
shameful rip off. Secondly, I saw Benjamin Purkiss as Strat instead of Andrew
Polec. It seems that Benjamin plays all the matinees and is designated in the
programme as ‘Alternate Strat’. What riles me is that this looks like the
matinee audience is treated as something of less importance than the evening
audience. Andrew Polec is first cast - but I didn’t know I would be seeing the
alternate Strat when I booked. It seemed to me that many of the other performers
had just as demanding roles as Strat so why cannot Mr Polec do eight shows a
week when all the others can?
Finally, I was not overly impressed by the choreography and felt it lacked a
clear vocabulary of its own but that is a very picky comment and the ensemble
numbers had tons of energy and power. I suspect that I was perhaps looking for
more of the kind of moves that have now developed through street dance and
hip-hop, which of course might have been inappropriate in the context of the
show, certainly for the ensemble.
I was in G3 in the stalls for which I paid £65 although seats almost alongside
were £75. There was a slight problem in that I couldn’t see the initial live
scenes in Raven’s bedroom properly although they were of course visible in the
videos but for me the sound where I was sitting could not have been better so I
wasn’t really bothered by the occasional obstructed view.
PS It was the theatremonkey’s two blogs about Bat Out of Hell that persuaded me
to see the show and I am most grateful! I have now booked in for the last night
of Bat Out of Hell taking my cousin on his last night in London!
The Roundhouse Theatre
In June 2012 reader
reports of "Twelfth Night,":
Circle A14 and B14: Excellent clear view of the extremely expansive stage. You
feel very close and the view is slightly side on but this makes no difference.
There is a safety barrier just to the right which can easily be seen around and
doesn't impact view. There is plenty of leg room, especially with both seats
being an aisle seat."
The Shepherds Bush Empire:
A reader contributes
"Stalls: I generally find the view not that great unless you manage to get right
up the front - although there are 2 possies either side of the bar with a step
that accommodates around 2 people each... so if you managed to grab that spot
you would have a great view.
Level 1: I much prefer level 1 and some of the best spots are around the sides
where there are 2 rows of seating and behind them a sort of wall with a leaning
bar - all give unrestricted views and allow you to stand up and dance (and easy
egress to the bar/toilets)."
Sadler's Wells Theatre:
A reader says,
"C8 and C9 in the stalls - bagged a couple of returns due to the snow, as it was
Production: Sleeping Beauty, January 2013.
Not much rake. The seat in front really was 'in front' - i.e .I was looking
directly at the back of someone's head, whereas usually in the stalls you are
peering through a gap where people's shoulders meet. The seats in front were
positioned same as mine, I had to swivel left and right to see certain parts of
the action on stage - not very good considering the £55 price tag per seat.
I would recommend that patrons book the row behind - Row D. This is stepped up
on a higher level and provides a clear view of the stage unhindered by people's
heads! Same price I believe.
Beautiful production, wouldn't have missed it for the world. But would rather
not sit in these seats given the choice!"
Another reader notes that the back row of the
upper circle is further away than most top balcony seats in the west end. A VERY
distant, though clear view, from up there.
If you book 2 or more
productions in a single transaction, the Sadler's Wells / Peacock Theatre
multi-buy discount may apply, see
www.sadlerswells.com/multibuy for details.
Theatre Royal, Stratford
A reader says,
What a lovely old theatre. Keeping the local paintworks in permanent employment
producing untold gallons of red paint, the Theatre Royal Stratford sits in the
middle of a lot of new buildings, giving little clue of what awaits inside. And
inside is a little gem of a theare. Photos of old productions dominate as you
would expect, but going into the playhouse itself you find a lovely old theatre,
which is tall but at no point is anyone far from the stage, making the
performance an intimate one.
We would quite happily come back here to see more shows.
We had seats D1 and D2 in the stalls. Deliberately chosen, as D1 has a clear
view of the stage with no seat directly in ahead of it from the front three
rows. Ideal for those of a shorter stature.
The first few rows do that odd thing of sloping gently backwards so the rows in
front are actually higher than those behind, but the tilt of the seating means
that you get a decent view. As I said in my comments about the theatre, it would
not be possible to be far from the stage, so a reasonable view should be
possible from just about anywhere.
Row A look like a good choice to see a show. There is a good space between seats
and stage (handy in ‘Fings’ so some of the performers can flirt with the
patrons) and as the seats tilt back a little, neckache should not be an issue.
The Food and Drink:
It is always nice when you get the chance to dine at the theatre. And we enjoyed
the fare at the Theatre Royal Stratford East enough to say we’ll come back and
use it as a restaurant if we are in the area!
Aside from standard burgers, jacket spuds etc., they feature a small Caribbean
menu. I had the Curry Mutton, my wife had the Jerk Chicken and we had a side
order of Macaroni Cheese. And it was all delicious, spiced just right and the
Mac ‘n’ Cheese was thick enough to slice!
Drinks were courtesy of Blue Moon, Kozel and Addlestones Cloudy Cider. They have
a fair selection of bottled drinks, plus enough of a range of draught drinks
(though no handpump, unfortunately)
Interval ice-cream is Loseley – enough of a reason to go along in my opinion!"
Another reader says, in May 2016,
"The Government Inspector:" Next to the rather decrepit Stratford Centre, this
is a little gem of a theatre. Richly decorated, nicely furbished. B was front
row, I believe. Very good legroom and view. The seats are not very wide,
however, if neighbours are a bit on the large side it can get squeezed."
The monkey would add that there's also nothing in
front of A1 and C1 has space for one leg. Rows slope backwards from the stage
from the front row (A or AA) to D, and A and AA are on the same level if in use.
The stage height and offsetting of rows do compensate for this, though. Legroom
is OK up to 5ft 10 or so, and feet can go under seats in front.
The dress circle has no legroom at all in any
seat, so give it a miss if possible if over 5ft 5 or so.
In the upper circle row C has most legroom, then B, then D and E. Row A is cramped if 5ft 5
or over. End seats are comfy as you can turn sideways into the aisle.
The Young Vic
Theatre (main auditorium):
Bench seating, but a generous space allowed per person. Using the "In The
Round" layout, the monkey noted
that legroom is OK in the stalls - unlimited in row A, up to 5ft 10 or so in
other rows except the back row, which is raised and the audience puts feet on a
rail in front. Here (row D when the monkey went, but changes by production)
those up to 6ft should be fine. You get a better view thanks to the extra
height, too. The only other note is to try and avoid seats where the rows "turn
a corner" as they share legroom with next person along.
Upstairs, two rows. Aisle end barriers and rails
at the front don't affect views much. Those up to 5ft 7 should be OK in the
front row, but go for the end aisle seats where the theatre turns a corner for
an inch more legroom. Back row is cramped in all seats for those over 5ft5 or
so. It looks like there's room... until you put the seat down to sit on it...
When in "end stage" rather than the usual "in the
round" layout, the downstairs area is split into a central and two side blocks,
sometimes with two rows of two seats outside of that in the front corner, angled
to the stage. All seats are tiered, with steps between. The front section runs
from row A to C, with a wider aisle in front of D and a rail in front of the
side block row E seats.
Side block rows A to CC are worth skipping at top
price, as they have a side view and may miss action at the corners. The very
cheap extra seats provide exactly what you pay for - up to 75% view, again
depending on how the production is staged.
Row H is the dividing line across the entire
width of the stalls. That gives 2 seats on the two centre aisles unlimited
legroom. Elsewhere in the area, legroom is adequate to 5ft 9 or so, more in the
pairs of "extra" seats in the corner, which are raised benches allowing "dangle"
Behind row H, from J back to M the rows rise
steeply, decent views. Row M is just below the level of the first balcony.
Again, legroom is pretty reasonable, as in rows ahead, and the view is fine
The first balcony itself is unchanged, except
that only the rows behind the main seating block, plus part of the rows at the
side are used.
And finally.... just for fun...
Chichester Festival Theatre... A reader commented, for "Gypsy" in
2014, "We were in N25 and 26. The new seats were very plush and very
comfortable. We were almost straight on looking at the stage. I have to say we
felt somewhat distant from the action and this impacted on our feelings for the
show." just in case anyone is interested!
Theatremonkey: A Guide to
London's West End. The book of the website.
To purchase a copy,
For enquiries from the media / anybody wishing to contact the author, or the
book retail or wholesale trade for bulk purchases, please contact:
The Theatremonkey.com office is unable to deal with these enquiries directly.
Is there a New York and Broadway version of this site?
Not by theatremonkey, no, but some sites exist that offer much of the same type of
information. Telecharge (www.telecharge.com)
offers a computer generated "view from your seat" facility when buying for some
venues. Not as helpful as it sounds, but the images are there.
offers some comments about seating, highlighting the best seats by price.
www.nytix.com also passes a
comment or two about where the best seats are in the house on each "about the
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/eopinions/browse.php?cat_id=3 offers a public
forum to post opinions of seats they have had as doe
For simple listings and disabled
access advice, www.livebroadway.com
are also helpful.
independent, objective, and comprehensive information that allows users to get
the best seats, the best prices, and the best service on Broadway tickets and
http://www.theaterseatstore.com has a short guide mentioning some big
Broadway musicals (and comparing deals with West End ones where applicable.
theatremonkey's "current special offers" page, lists local discount
offers to Broadway shows and how to obtain them. It also has "advice" seating
http://gonyc.about.com/cs/discountbroadway/a/emailtix.htm is a useful
list of discount
sources for Broadway. www.tdf.org
lists the shows likely to be available at Broadway's TKTS Half-Price Ticket
Booth for the week. www.bcefa.org
offer donated tickets to sold out shows at high prices, with the funds going to
The book, "The Back Stage Guide To Broadway" by Robert Viagas
published in October 2004 is also worth a look. It contains many useful tips and hints, plus a VERY brief guide to best /
worst seats in theatres (sounds familiar!). For seating plans, "Seats - 150
seating plans to New York Metro Area Theatres, Concert Halls and Sports
Stadiums" by Jodé Susan Millman (Applause Books) may prove helpful. Amazon.com
stock this one.
Deadly sharp re-written versions of shows are available at: www.broadwayabridged.com.
You decided to sell theatre tickets on this
Yes. The monkey finally capitulated.
Theatremonkey Ticketshop is run by LoveTheatre - a STAR member.
The monkey agreed to start selling tickets because it was satisfied that the
company meets it's own very high standards of customer service and conduct.
It may not be the cheapest option - and the monkey will never shrink from
saying so; but often offers and availability are unbeatable, backed up by a high
quality sales team. The monkey hopes guests will be happy with this feature.
LoveTheatre are open Monday to Friday 10am until 8pm (Saturday
10am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm) on 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom). (quote "theatremonkey ticketshop" when calling), and online
Other ticket agencies are also mentioned on this site. All are S.T.A.R.
members offering a choice of genuine tickets backed by "fair trading"
The phone number for my theatre is different from others
I've seen on leaflets / listings elsewhere?
Theatres use central telephone rooms to take bookings, rather than operating
small box offices within each individual venue. This means that when you dial a
particular theatre, you get put through to a single office owned and operated
either by the individual theatre chain or by an agency on their behalf. For RU
and Nimax Theatres, their phoneroom has the brand "See Tickets"; for Live Nation
owned venues, "Ticketmaster" is used, while Ambassador and Delfont-Mackintosh
Theatres both answer their own telephones during the day, then transfer calls to
"Ticketmaster" and "See" respectively overnight.
Sometimes the phones will be answered using the brand name, rather than the
individual theatre name. Theatremonkey always lists the most appropriate
telephone numbers, though, and never knowingly provides details of sub-agencies
in place of contact details for the the actual central phoneroom acting on
behalf of the box office.
Why Can't you comment on ticket availability?
Simply, the monkey is a regular theatregoing member of the public and is not
privy to box office information.
Unlike Broadway, London is secretive and does not reveal anything publicly
about how well a show is doing.
The best way to find out about availability is to call the box office direct
and ask. Mention specific seat numbers and see if they can offer them to you.
Even ask directly if seats go to Leicester Square TKTS to be sold at half price. They
will often tell you.
Leicester Square TKTS booth post their
day's ticket availability online. Go to www.tkts.co.uk,
and look to the "What's On Sale" option in the top menu.
Overseas visitors might also try using the online ticket agency systems to
see what they are offered. The monkey notes, however that on occasion these
systems only offer poor quality tickets. An international phonecall can prove a
Where does Theatremonkey sit when it goes to the theatre?
Wherever it can get a cheap seat! Seriously, given the choice the monkey
likes either the front row of the stalls, or the ends of rows where there are no
seats in front so that it can stretch, or aisle seats with a bit of space. This
is personal preference, nothing more.
What are the Theatremonkey Opinions?
The opinions are currently just that. A reflection of the views of an ordinary ticket buying member of
the public who chooses to comment on a show they have seen.
They are NOT written or drawn from professional critics (unless stated) or by anyone connected to the
industry or who is biased by being "star-struck" or having a personal
Those who contribute and / or compile the Opinions (the monkey and a small group of others)
follow a code of reviewing only the work on the stage, free of influence from
past performances, whatever the medium.
Readers are always welcome to add their comments too. Contact
Can I post information from Theatremonkey on my own website?
Sorry, no, not without the express permission of Theatremonkey.com. The
seating plans and text on this site are subject to the international laws of
Can I Contact Theatremonkey?
This site wants to offer a catalogue of visitor experiences. Tell
it your opinions of the tickets you bought, the people who sold them to you, the show you saw and the theatre you watched in, the place you ate in beforehand, the hotel you stayed in. Anything not
libelous will be added to this site. Theatremonkey
Material contributions are always gratefully received.
Thankyou's and Credits Page