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

HAROLD PINTER THEATRE
(formerly the Comedy Theatre)


NICE FISH
(play)
Ends 11th February 2017.

Life's biggest questions, sometimes in verse by Lewis Jenkins, are explored as fishermen drill ice in search of the last Minnosota fish of the season.

Mark Rylance stars in a self-penned play, originally seen in Massechucets in 2013. His wife Claire van Kampen directs.


 

 

Theatremonkey Opinion:

(Seen at the afternoon performance on 5th December 2016).

Sometimes, the monkey suspects that a play only makes it to London because it has "names" attached. This is one of those times. Rylance both co-wrote and stars in this bewildering slice of male-bonding, devoid of anything resembling a plot, structure, style, wit or substance.

Fortunately just an hour and a half long (and if the monkey hadn't been mid-row and "on duty" it would have made a dash for it at the third or so of many black-outs) nothing holds the attention bar a reasonable scene about fishing licences (Bob Davis, nice performance) which could have come from the type of sit-com you stumble across on TV and which holds your attention for a few moments while ad-breaks are on the other side. You then shudder and switch back, grateful you don't have to endure the rest.

For this does indeed vanish far up its fundamental, getting far worse without ever getting better. "Breaking the fourth wall" is not only risky, but when it is positioned with part of the show still to go, is downright reckless, and fatally destructive to any atmosphere required for the remaining years, er, minutes of the production.

Rylance turns in a standard performance, impressive if you've never seen him work before, less so if you know his style. Friend Wayne (Raye Birk) is similarly in tune with the star, and lumbered with another crumby role. Kayli Carter (Flo) has a sweet singing voice but no reason to be there, and nor does Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl).

If Pinter's "No Man's Land" seems confusing, at least it has immense style and portentous meaning to convince us of the gravity of its existence. This has less gravity than the moon, less intelligence than moon rock and puppets which, thanks to Todd Rosenthal's impressive but badly installed set, are as pathetic as they are invisible.

For fans of tenth rate US cable TV comedy, this could be worth catching. Those who want to see Rylance act will also get some value from a ticket. The literate theatregoer, however, should very quickly spot the Emperor's missing clothes and give this fiasco the wide berth it deserves.


 

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

(2 reviews)

Friday 18th November 2016. Started 19:35. Finished 21:05 with no interval.

Stalls seats D11-12.

Perfect view for me at 5'8", but stage is built up about 18 inches, so anyone shorter would want to be further back. Rows A-C miss some details involving miniature puppets at stage level.

I'd rate the show four stars. It's quite original, with lyrical dialogue that resonates more often than it misfires. The narrative, involving two men fishing on a frozen lake in Minnesota, acts as an allegory for the human life experience. Definitely worth seeing.
____________________________________________________

We popped up for 'Nice Fish' at the weekend (26th November 2016).

We sat at table 4, in the centre, at the back. The view is excellent, nice to have a table, but, the chairs are fixed, and once people are seated it is quite difficult to get into some of the seats. We were first in, and being a table for two we had plenty of room, but there was much amusement to be had watching people trying to get into some of the other seats.

No interval for this one, an hour and 40 minutes on a hard chair without a chance to get up and move is a little bit much. Good job the play was riveting.

The stage is raised, and I am really not sure that anyone in the first few rows could see very much at all.

Well, where do we start, this is quite a surreal comedy. Downright weird in some places, and hilariously funny in others. It is extremely cleverly put together, the set which seems so simple is actually quite spectacular, but this needs to be seen so I will say no more.

Once again Mark Rylance shows his talent, he plays the buffoon perfectly, his timing is excellent, and for such a 'serious' actor he is once again proving that he is not afraid to poke fun at himself. It is complete nonsense, some bits work better than others, but it all adds up to great entertainment.

It is certainly different, and I would thoroughly recommend it.







 

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

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

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Runs 1 hour 35 minutes approximately.



 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

Stalls:
Rows C to Q (except "premium seats" and "restricted view" seats): £59.50
"Premium Seats" row E 5 to 17, F 5 to 18, G 4 to 17, H 5 to 18, J 4 to 16, K 5 to 16, L 16 and 17, M 7 to 13: £90
"Premium Package" seats row L 6 to 15: £74.50
"Restricted View" row B and row N seats 6, 7; O 6, 7, 16, 17; P 5, 6, 7, 15, 16, 17; Q 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 18: £49.50
Table 9: £90 per seat.
Tables 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11: £59.50 per seat.
Tables 2 and 6: £15 per seat.


Dress Circle:
All seats: £59.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 7 to 11, B 8 to 12, C 8 to 13: £90
"restricted view" seats A 6 and 12; B 6, 7, 13, 14; C 6, 7, 14, 15; D 6, 7, 15, 16; E 6, 7, 15, 16; F 1, 2, 10, 11: £49.50
"restricted view" seats D 1, 2, 20, 21; E 1, 2, 20, 21: £15


Upper Circle:
Row A 3 to 17; B 3 to 18; C 3, 4, 5, 8 to 15, 18, 19; D 3 to 5, 8 to 16, 19, 20, 21; E 4, 5, 11 to 14, 20, 21; F 16, 17: £49.50
All other seats: £29.50 except
Restricted view seats row E 9, 10, 15, 16: £15


Balcony:
Row A 3 to 18; B 3 to 19; C 3 to 20; D 3 to 21: £29.50
All other seats: £15

Boxes:
Boxes A and B will be filled by those judged to have the best fishing outfits on the day of performance.
C, D and E: £64.50 per seat, with a "package" if sold.







"Day Seats:" 4 seats in boxes A and B will be awarded, free of charge, daily to the first arrivals at 6pm (1.30pm for afternoon performances) who come dressed as a fish or fisherperson (with fishing equipment). Box office decision is final.

For everyone else: A limited number of tickets, up to 19 in stalls row A, are available to personal callers at the box office from 10am (may be Noon on Bank Holiday dates - check before setting out, as it may change), priced £15 each. Limited to 1 or 2 per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.
 

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


 

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

Buying Tickets Online:

Other Box Office Information

Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.
Theatre Box Office:
Online: Ambassador Theatre Group, the theatre group's own website provide the service for this theatre. This site allows you to choose your own tickets from those available.

Booking fees per transaction for online bookings:
£3.50 per transaction (not per ticket) fee.


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

When the theatre does not have tickets you'd like available, it is also worth trying the Theatremonkey Ticketshop agency, which offers £59.50 seats with a £9.90 (£14.90 on £90, £8.40 on £49.50, £5 on £29.50, £2.50 on £15 seats) booking fee per ticket - moderate by agency standards, high by box office ones, but worth trying as they often have some choice available! 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 £59.50 seats with an £11.90 (£18 on £90, £9.90 on £49.50, £5.90 on £29.50 seats); and £2.75 per booking (not per ticket) postal charge. (FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times.

www.ticketmaster.co.uk which offers £59.50 seats with a £4.90 (£7.40 on £90, £4.10 on £49.50, £2.45 on £29.50, £1.25 on £15 seats). A £3.20 per transaction (NOT per ticket) service charge also applies. This system allows you to select your own seats.

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) which offers £59.50 seats with a £17.50 (£26 on £90, £8.50 on £29.50 seats) per seat booking fee. 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. Meal and show packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.

Londontheatredirect.com offer which offers £59.50 seats with a £12 or £13 (£20 on £90, £10 on £49.50, £7 on £29.50 seats) booking fee 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.


 

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

Note that the tickets offered may differ between phone and online sources.

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 7622
Operated by the Ambassador Theatre group's own phoneroom from 9am until 10pm (Sundays 10am until 8pm). Outside these hours the Ticketmaster agency answer calls on their behalf.

Booking fees per transaction for telephone bookings:
£3.50 per transaction (not per ticket) fee.

 

For personal callers or by post: Panton Street, London. SW1 4DN
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.

PLEASE NOTE: DETAILS BELOW ARE FOR "NICE FISH" IN DECEMBER 2016. THIS WILL HAVE THE FRONT STALLS AREA RESTORED, WITH FULL ROWS FROM A TO E.

"WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF" IN FEBRUARY 2017 WILL HAVE THE STALLS RESTORED. FOR A PROVISIONAL SEATING PLAN, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Upper Circle Balcony Notes
STALLS 

Layout:
The Dress Circle overhangs the stalls at row L - sweeping forward over the end four seats of row J at the sides. It is noticeable in row O, and intrudes on views from row N back.

Two large pillars in row M hold the circle up and destroy the view from most seats in the rear stalls (though creating a few cut price ticket opportunities; see below).

Seats are in a single block, except in the back three rows where a central pillar divides them into two sections.

The rake
(sloped floor to help see over rows in front) of the stalls is adequate from around row G back.
 

Legroom:
Row C seats 1 and 21 and row K seats 1 and 20 have restricted legroom. In practise, you can put your legs either side of the pillar or just to one side, if slim enough. No real issue that the monkey could see, unless tall and needing a lot of space directly in front.

5ft 10 reader Lany felt in C1 that "the pillar immediately in front of your right leg is not so big that you can not curl your leg around it out into the aisle."

Elsewhere, legroom is acceptable throughout the stalls for all but the tallest. The seats are pretty hard, though, and have lower than normal backs, the monkey thought.

Seats D1 and 22 have space for 1 leg with 10% clear in front. L1 has nothing in front.
 

Choosing Seats in General:
Rows A and B may well be uncomfortable for many, as those seated here "look up" to the stage and suffer neck ache in the process, though the tickets aren't sold more cheaply to allow for that fact!

Row A seat 1 especially is to be avoided as it has an official "restricted view" designation, but isn't discounted significantly unless used as a "day seat."

If a production has row A heavily discounted either in advance or as “day seats,” the monkey would take 5 to 15 first, 1 and 19 last for view and comfort.

Almost all of rows C to M normally offer acceptable value for money with only the first and last two seats in rows C to H should be avoided. These are outside the proscenium arch, with a poor view of the outermost edges of the stage. Unacceptable at the price. Sadly, they are too close to the stage for distance to improve the viewing angle.

Rows D to H seats 7 to 16, row J seats 5 to 14 and K 6 to 15 offer best value at top (non-premium) price, in the monkey's opinion.

At top price, the monkey would probably skip anything top price from row N back to row U, as they are behind pillars. Against this, seats here are a better bet for comfort than the Upper Circle if at the same price. It isn't that they are restricted, just that the pillars are in view and you are looking towards a stage with them framed in the foreground like goalposts. Do watch for N16, though, a pillar clips the view of this "top price" ticket...

Pillar intrusion is noticeable from central rows P and Q onwards - the monkey would give the non-offset seats between the goalposts a miss if possible. They feel as if one is looking through a window ... and circle overhang really adds further lack-of-delight to the view from the rows beyond around row R.

If the monkey has to sit in the rear stalls, it would take seats near the outer aisles first as far back as row R. The view is surprisingly decent (at worst you have only one pillar to contend with) even if the price sometimes isn’t. A second price seat will be more comfortable here, though, than the upper circle equivalent. Hence the monkey would endure the pillars rather than the cramp...

The monkey is happy now to grab N 7 (and the pairs of seats behind it in row O) if sold for a very low price - as they sometimes are.. As reader Richard explains, in 2013,
"they have redone the seating in the stalls which affects the restricted view seats. There's now a gap between N7 (and its equivalent) and the seat next to it - so these seats no longer have the pillar in front. In fact they are now better than normal seats as you have somewhere to put your coat! I was in one of the row O seats, a bargain at (I think) £15 - it cut off the very extreme edge of the stage but could see any "action" by moving my head slightly."

The monkey might also take the other cheaper seats nearby too, allowing again for the pillar issues. On the other hand, it's still just £15 - bargain. When day seats are in use, if you miss out on a "day seat" at the same price...

Otherwise, always take the most central seat in the restricted view section - next to the more expensive seats - first, then the one that isn't directly behind the pillar, then the middle ones.

P7 and Q7 see the pillar line up almost with the side of the stage for a start.

There is a gap between seats P6 and 7 to improve sightlines. Divorcing couples don't get a discount sitting here, though.
 

General Hazard Notes:
Pillars in the centre of rows M and S restrict views of seats behind. It does little for the view from K1 either...

Outermost seats in row A have poor views.

Seats in row P are not offset to see between seats in front.

The circle overhang cuts views of the stage top from around row R.

A sound desk can replace seats in the centre of rows S to U. Worth skipping seats near it, feels the monkey.

Changes for the current production:
The front row is A, sold cheap as "day seats." The set has been modified so that the stage isn't as high as it was at the first few previews, so these are excellent value. Be aware that you won't see the puppets at the back of the set (not much missed by not doing so) and that seats 1, 2, 18 and 19 are "outside the proscenium" with a worse view than others. Also, those on the "middle to high numbers" end of the row see more at one point than others will. Good news is unlimited legroom in the entire row.

Row B is likewise discounted for missing puppets. Better than other seats at the price for comfort, so average value, feels the monkey.

Row C is not discounted, but those over 5ft 5 or so will see to the back of the stage, sitting upright to do so.

"Premium" seats are located in most of rows E to M. Your choice, feels the monkey, who would take seats in front, then beside them first.

A number of "restricted view" from N back are second price. If you must go behind, then try for N 7 first, then outermost seats in rows from O back to minimise intrusion.

The rear stalls, behind row Q retain tables. Note that the seats are nailed down. They are chairs, high ones, and fairly comfortable.

Behind row Q, tables 7 to 11 are on a raised plinth, with 1 to 6 on another higher plinth behind them. Far more spacious to sit at, and the overhanging circle cuts nothing of importance from view. The only problem is that tables 8, 9, 10, 3 and 4 are looking through and around pillars. Not acceptable at top price. On the other hand, tables 2 and 6 at lowest price are a bargain, the monkey feels.

 



Reader Comments:
"A4 and A5: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011). Taken as they were rejected by the woman ahead of me - who took row C1 and C2 as she didn't want to be so close. Front row is actually no problem for this, ankles cut off - but prime view otherwise, with action taking place a few feet away. Bargain for £15 if you get up early enough."

"A8: "Absent Friends" (February 2012), (Taljaard). Got a day seat, A8 in the stalls. Was worried that it might be too close but was promised that the stage was not too close to the front row. And it was not. At 5'7" I hardly had to look up at all and at £15 was a bargain!"

"A18: "A Chorus of Disapproval" (September 2012), (Taljaard). Bought a day seat.. Even though they have raised the stage this does not prove a problem. No neck ache to report. I would avoid A19 as it really is right on the side facing a wall but my seat was fine."

“B7 and 8: (Kevin). We sat in the stalls row B, seats 7 and 8, and I'd tend to agree with the Monkey about the possibility of neck ache because it's so close"

B 17 and 18: (Adam Walker). These were EXCELLENT! Agreed, a little neck-ache but totally worth it. You are so close to the action that you might as well be on stage with them. Neil Stuke's sweat was more than evident.

Row C: (with row A absent), (MF). We had half price seats in Row C (thanks Theatremonkey for the advice). Seats were great, close to the stage but not neck-strainingly so."

"C1: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011), (Iany). I found the seat good for £15 day seat, as the pillar immediately in front of your right leg is not so big that you cannot curl your leg around it out into the aisle - I'm 5ft 10. The pillar does not cause any sight restriction or feel imposing upon you. A small amount of restricted view of side rear of stage (not really a problem for this production) caused because you are out wider than the stage."

"C9 and 10: "Absent Friends" (February 2012). I think row B would have been too close, C was just about OK for the neck but brilliant for the experience. Every nervous twitch and uncomfortable grimace on the stage was clear to see - and there were plenty of those. Seeing Reece Shearsmith's "Colin faces" up close was a treat in itself."

“Row D: Sunset Boulevard" (December 2008). I was in the fourth row of the stalls and loved the intimate scale and closeness of it, not sure how well it would have played to the back... hopefully another reviewer might be able to confirm."

“D5 and 6: (Mila). We had a great view from the stalls row D seats 5 and 6 (only a white but a perfect view)"

"D11 and 12: "Nice Fish" (November 2016). Perfect view for me at 5'8", but stage is built up about 18 inches, so anyone shorter would want to be further back. Rows A-C miss some details involving miniature puppets at stage level." NOTE: This was altered during previews, so the stage is far lower now - editor.

“D11 and 12: (Theatremonkey regular). Theatremonkey has, quite rightly, marked as "GREEN"! Great seats."

"D12: "La Bete" (June 2010). Brilliant seat. Very close to the stage so all the subtle facial expressions can be seen. Ideally I may have preferred the row behind, just to be a tiny bit further away."

"Row E: "Merrily We Roll Along" (May 2013). Lovely little theatre and seats in row E (third row from the front for this show) were excellent , being comfortable, enough leg room, and good sightings between heads in front."

“E 7 and 8 for “Sunset Boulevard” (May 2009), (James – regular reader). Close enough to see all facial expressions and hear everything clearly, but I would have preferred to be a few rows back to see the whole stage without turning from side to side. However, the rows behind were premium seats and I got row E at a discount, so definitely a good deal."

"E9 and 10: (Theatremonkey regular). Seats were good. It certainly isn't worth paying premium to be in the row behind as you do not have to look up from these seats.(This alludes to the fact that central seats in rows F to K were slightly more expensive for "Prick Up Your Ears" in September 2009).

“E13 to 15: "Sunset Boulevard" (March 2009). Usually I am a bit wary of sitting too close to the stage (last time I was in row G), but I really enjoyed being so close to the actors. We certainly didn't get neck ache."

"F1 and F2: “Betrayal (2011). Comfortable seats even for us bigger people, good view."

“F17 and 18: “Absent Friends” (March 2012), (Chris B). Good clear view of the stage; you are close enough to feel totally absorbed in the action and can see every last detail and facial expression. (and there are some great ones!) These seats are slightly to the left but you can see the whole stage. No trouble to see over the heads in front either. Plenty of legroom.”

"G4: (Sam). On this occasion (the first time really) I strongly disagree with theatremonkey's assessment. Even though I bought my ticket from TKTS, so it was discounted, I still would recommend this seat at full price. I felt very satisfied with my seat. The view was very clear, and legroom was good. The monkey raises the issue of the outermost edges of the stage. I can't comment on all productions, but for "Donkey's Years" that wasn't the case from G4, but I believe he is right for G1, and G2, and maybe G3. I can't comment on the first 3 seats, but personally I would give G4 a Green. White at worst."

"G11 and 12: Great seats with a full view of the stage whilst also feeling intimate."

"H7: (Mark). Very good view of the stage, no problems at all."

"H10: "Merrily We Roll Along" (May 2013). Just about perfect as far as position goes. Dead centre so a perfect view. Decent leg room. Stage highish but even with some action in this production taking place up stage you don't miss a thing with this seat."

"H12 to H14: (James – regular reader). Good rake ensures a good view from here."

"H21 and 22: plenty of legroom and comfortable seats."

"J6: "Spamalot" (August 2012). Only slightly off centre and a good view of everything, including the action (quite a bit of it in Spamalot) that took place quite tight stage left (people in the boxes were hanging by their toes). Close enough to feel part of it and decent leg room. Not a great deal of rake here, but decent height to the stage so tall people in front shouldn't be any more of a problem than in most theatres."

"J14: “Betrayal” (2011), (Taljaard). Got it for £20 15 minutes before curtain up. A really good seat and bargain."

"K3 and K4: "La Bete" (June 2010), (That Fulham Couple). A good view of the stage, but the lumbar and back support cushioning was noticeably poor as you approach the 90 minute mark."

“K5: (A 6ft 6 reader). Excellent position, legroom was adequate, therefore the seat was comfortable. However the theatre has a very shallow rake which means that there is a lot of head dodging to be done, although the spacing of the seats allows you to see through gaps. If you are smaller than average I would advise caution, suffice to say I personally didn't have a problem, although others in my group did. The person behind me did ask me to slouch in my seat but the legroom would not allow that even if I wanted to!"

"K5 to K7: "A Chorus of Disapproval." We got our tickets for £35 each. At 6ft tall I found there to be no issue with sitting in K5 and I could even stretch out a bit under the seat in front. The rake isn't great here but at least the rows are staggered so you can see between the space of the two seats directly in front. In general all three of us had a great view of the entire stage, missing nothing. I thought the seats were comfortable enough with fair padding and didn't experience any discomfort (though one lady in our group said she was a little uncomfortable towards the end of the play)."

“J 1 to 3: (Mum paying, why go with the cheap seats?) They are nice and close to the action and the view is not obscured by one of the myriad of poles the architect seems to have distributed through the theatre. However, the rake is only very slight and if you are a bit short and are sat behind some tall/with an afro you may have to do a bit of leaning. Deserving of the white rating methinks."

"J3 and J4: (James – regular reader). Unlike some theatres, these seats didn’t feel like they were too far to the side. Good view and good sound from here."

"J7 and J8: Good - as enough legroom and centre stage."

"J9 and J10: (James) Great view, feels very close to the action."

“L11 to 15: (Lizzie) Very good indeed."

"L13: "Sunset Boulevard" (December 2008), (Alison). Very good: plenty of leg room (well, I'm short, but I had plenty of room). I believe the prices in row L are less than in row K, directly ahead, and thus I think row L is a good value."

"L13 and 14: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011),
excellent seats. Highly recommended as they are completely central to the stage and just the right distance from it. Comfy seats, with loads of leg room."

“L21: Avoid as it is beside a pillar - you don't actually miss any of the stage, but perhaps lose a bit of atmosphere and legroom."

“Row M: has pillars interrupting the usual flow of seating so that, between the pillars, the seats are directly behind those in front rather than staggered as in the rest of the stalls. I suggest these seats are downgraded in your colour coded advice."

"M8: Great seat for me but not raked very well for my friends who are of an average height. They always seem to struggle when tall people sit in front of them."

“N7: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011). "Tested the notorious N7 and N15 £5 seats...sat in them for test purposes I would have zero complaints, easy-peasy to avoid the pillar - a no brainer giveaway if booked in advance."

"N7: "Chimerica" (October 2013). "No impressed."

"N12: "Merrily We Roll Along" (May 2013). At a discount rate of £15, is absolutely fantastic. Comfortable, plenty of leg space but not much elbow space for me I found. Excellent view with everything clearly visible. Close enough to the stage too. There is a shallow rake in the old theatre and row N isn't staggered due to support posts - causing an issue for whoever sits behind, though. It did get incredibly hot inside the theatre as it was at least 28*C outside, which made it rather uncomfortable, most likely due to the age of the building."

“N15: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011). As a £5 pillar seat it was a STEAL! Great view just by leaning on the right arm-rest slightly. I could see 100% of the stage. Excellent."

"Row O: "Old Times" (February 2013), (Richard). They have redone the seating in the stalls which affects the restricted view seats. There's now a gap between N7 (and its equivalent) and the seat next to it - so these seats no longer have the pillar in front. In fact they are now better than normal seats as you have somewhere to put your coat! I was in one of the row O seats, a bargain at (I think) £15 - it cut off the very extreme edge of the stage but could see any "action" by moving my head slightly."

"O 1 and 2: "The Importance of Being Earnest" (June 2014). £15 each (preview priced 'day seats') and were fantastic seats!"

"O10: "Merrily We Roll Along" (May 2013). I found this perfect for overcoming the Pinter pillar problem. It's dead centre and is positioned very well for seeing past the pillars and they don't obscure anything stage left or right from this seat. I would imagine seats 9, 11, 12 and 13 would be as good. You are back from the Dress overhang, but it doesn't spoilt the view of anything high. Leg room is very good with a half decent rake. The only problem might be if you have someone tall in front of you as seats here are not offset but directly behind each other."

“O12 and 13 in the stalls were fantastic."

"O12 and 13: "Birdsong" (September 2010), (Rich). I would recommend these seats to get a clear, central view of the stage; however I would not have wanted to be any further back. The legroom was satisfactory but considering we only paid for balcony seats and got upgraded, I can't complain."

"P3 and 4: "Merrily We Roll Along" (May 2013).  At a discount rate of £25 were a bargain."

“Q9 and 10: “Death and the Maiden” (December 2011), (Chris B). Centrally located seats with a good clear view of the entire stage. There is a good rake so you are not obstructed by heads in front (unless you are unlucky to have a giant sitting in front). I would say these seats are a little far back, you do feel a bit distant although it is quite a small, intimate theatre. Having sat further forward in this theatre I would recommend it for a more engaging experience.”

“Q9 and 10: “Old Times,” (Chris B). These seats are at the back of the stalls but are centrally located. They offer a clear, unobstructed view of the whole stage, as there is a good sized rake. However the overhang from the dress circle does cut off a slight bit of the top of the stage, but this doesn't impact on the view of 'Old Times' at all. You are a little too far back to clearly make out facial expressions though. The low ceiling does make it feel a little boxed in though. The legroom is sufficient, but not plentiful and Q10 is next to a small central aisle allowing for extra legroom if needed.”

"Q16 and 17: Marked white in your plan. They should definitely be red. A pillar is directly in line with centre stage and you have to keep craning your neck. This must also annoy the people in the row behind."

"Table 4: "Nice Fish" (November 2016). We sat at table 4, in the centre, at the back. The view is excellent, nice to have a table, but, the chairs are fixed, and once people are seated it is quite difficult to get into some of the seats. We were first in, and being a table for two we had plenty of room, but there was much amusement to be had watching people trying to get into some of the other seats.
No interval for this one, an hour and 40 minutes on a hard chair without a chance to get up and move is a little bit much. Good job the play was riveting.
The stage is raised, and I am really not sure that anyone in the first few rows could see very much at all."



 


DRESS CIRCLE 

Layout:
The Upper Circle overhangs the Dress Circle at row B. The support pillars holding it up appear in row B. The overhang does not affect the view from Dress Circle seats, the pillars, do!

Seats are divided into three blocks by gangways. The outer two blocks follow the curve of the horseshoe shaped circle towards the sides of the theatre.

The circle has a shallow rake.

Legroom:
Legroom is poor for those over 5ft 10 or so. New seating does allow feet to stretch a little more than before, though.

There is more legroom in row A seats 6 to 12, and also E5 and 17 have a bit more (plus the aisle to stretch into). E4 and 18 are not bad either. Other aisle seats also allow stretching for one leg.

A 1 and 17 have less legroom as the circle curves in front of them.

B1 and 19 have less legroom as a wall pillar intrudes into the space on one side of the seat.

C 6 and 15 may also be cramped for those over 5ft 7 or so due to the circle curve.
 

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
Central row A, when not at premium price, is the way to go.

Of the rest, B 7 to 13 and C 8 to 13 in the centre are the better end of average. Also look across the aisle at B 4, 5, 15, 16 and C 4, 5, 16, 17.

The remaining central block seats are between pillars and sitting here feels like watching through goalposts.

The shallow rake makes rows from E back seem far from the stage. One reader reports a poor view from row E back too.

Row F is recessed behind row E in an alcove. The seat backs are set flat against a wall, which may well be uncomfortable for the taller (or anyone not wanting to feel forced upright, really).

Restricted view seats:
Those behind the pillars are poor value with a bad view at top price. Theatremonkey advises not buying them unless very cheap. If they are very cheap, take them along with the ones in stalls rows O, and before any seats further back in the stalls at that cheap price. For those willing to lean a bit. When cheap and able to accept the limitations, they are a bargain, though. C 6 and 15 in particular, for those under 5ft 8 and willing to lean a little, will see the whole stage just by moving their head a bit.

More expensive, usually, are seats behind rails in row A (the aisle end rails really do cut 50% into your view), and behind a pillar in row D. If reduced to second price or less, A6 and 12, reduced for the rail in view - are worth nabbing, it thinks.

After this, take the ones in row D if it is the only way of seeing the show. A reader comments for one previous production,
"It is true that there was a column that obstructed some of the action, but it was a very thin one. You just had to lean to one side or the other sometimes."

Worth knowing is that sometimes the pairs of aisle seats behind in rows E and F are also reduced. The row E ones are a more interesting pair, once the seat in D has gone. Note that in both rows, the seat that isn't on the aisle has a better view - a trade off for the cramped legroom if tall. Row F is pretty much the same.

Wheelchair users can either sit at seat E17, or transfer is possible from a wheelchair to E4, 5, 16 or 17. Seats on the ends of the row have some of the worst restricted views. E 5 or 17 are best bet, feels the monkey.

Side Blocks:
These offer an odd viewing angle. Seats here face the stage at an angle - the view of centre stage is fine. The view of the sides less so.

At top price, the monkey would skip all but inner aisle seats in rows B and C, really. It would go more central in the stalls for less cash in the 'restricted view' seats if it were honest.

As a reader sums it up, "A fair bit of restricted vision up here if you sit to one side, but centrally it is fine."

General Hazard Notes:
Each gangway has a double height bar at the end of it - it does not really affect the view (except in A 6 and 12) but the picky like to know these things and sit one seat in from them, the monkey finds.

Outermost ends of rows do not have aisles next to them – claustrophobics beware.

The shallow rake makes row E feel distant from the stage.

Poor legroom and upright backs to the seats for the tall in row F is worth underlining.
 

Changes for the current production:
Central rows A to C are at "premium" price, a good view from A, feels the monkey. Unless short and preferring a dress circle view, first take stalls at the same price, for both comfort and view. If only having a choice of seats in the centre of stalls row O back or circle seats - the monkey would again take stalls for the same price.

Row A 6 and 12 have a restricted view but are sold at premium price. You will see the show, with a rail through it, so you know what to do. Behind, B B 6, 7, 13 and 14 are regular top price for a similar view.

Other restricted view seats are second price, just about fair, feels the monkey. Take centre block C for view, E or F for legroom, and one seat off the aisle for maximum viewing. Accept the rest are pretty over-priced, feels the monkey...

Except for the extreme corner seats in rows D and E. Lowest price, and worth grabbing, feels the monkey.

 

Reader Comments:
"B15: This was a good seat as you could see the whole stage and felt very close to the action. The safety bar was slightly annoying however. For the £25 I paid I thought it was good value."

"C6: "Sunny Afternoon" (October 2014). Bought as a "day seat." It was very slightly restricted view due to a pillar but it didn't spoil my enjoyment."

C6 and 7: “Spamalot” August 2012 (Chris B). The circle feels very close to the stage and it feels low down too so you feel the atmosphere. The legroom is great as the circle is on a curve so these two seats being next to the aisle (C6) seem to get more legroom. The rake is not very steep however so if you have a tall person in front this can be frustrating. There is a pillar in front of C6 and is advertised as blocking 1/4 of the stage, however it is in reality only about 6 inches wide and not the big column you are expecting. As long as you know the person next to you, you can lean towards them and only cut out a very small sliver of the stage on the far right.”

"C13 and 14: "La Bete" (June 2010). Not bad but not the best (which would be A row of dress circle)."

"C16 and 17: "Sunny Afternoon" (October 2014), (Geoffrey Hollis). Disappointed with seats because rake in front 3 rows very poor. People in row in front of us leaned forward a lot to see action on walkway so we missed large parts of central action. At half time we moved to empty seats in back row F directly behind and had much better view - rake steeper towards rear of circle. Could even stand up if we had to. We could not see some action on walkway but only slight inconvenience. No problem with leg room in either row."

“Row F: I specifically booked row F as the seating plan shows a space in front of that row which suggests extra legroom and two members of my family are over 6 foot tall. In fact the row had even less legroom than elsewhere in the dress circle and my 6'4" husband had to move to a restricted view seat. So be warned, avoid row F if you are tall.”

"F6 and 7: The back row, with a good view of the stage. The problem is the leg room. For two people, each around 6 feet tall it was impossible to sit down and I mean that. The seats were so uncomfortable, putting undue pressure on my back by being forced to try to sit so uncomfortably I was prepared to walk out without seeing the production rather than enduring such uncomfortable seats. Fortunately the box office moved us to the Stalls on my request, where the leg room is slightly better. My advice to anyone tall is to absolutely avoid all seats in Dress Circle Row F. These are charged at the top price which in my view is wrong. They should certainly come with a warning. I know leg room is a problem in many West End theatres but in more than 20 years of theatre going this is amongst the worst I’ve encountered."

"F9: “Prick Up Your Ears” (September 2009). Although the view was fine and unobscured, leg room is non-existent. I'm only 5'9" tall, but even when sitting as far back in my seat as possible, my knees were still touching the back of the seat in front.

I don't know whether microphones were used in the production I saw, but if not, either the cast were exceptionally good at voice projection, or the theatre has good acoustics, because the clarity of the dialogue was outstanding from the back row of the Dress Circle. (The monkey downgraded the seat rating on comfort grounds. It puts sound down to the age of the theatre - designed for best acoustics in an era without microphones, but would welcome observations from other guests.)

 


 

Dress Circle Boxes

Layout:
Four boxes, two either side of the stage.

Legroom:
Acceptable, as movable chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
The view from the boxes is sideways on. Theatremonkey rates the seats barely adequate. These seats are rarely sold. At third price or less they are a way to see the show if ticket demand is high.

General Hazard Notes:
The rear corner of the stage is not visible.

Changes for the current production:
Given away to the best dressed fish or fisher people. Bargain, feels the monkey.

Reader Comments:
“Box D: “La Bete” (June 2010), (That Fulham Couple). We noticed that occupiers in Box D stood up a couple of times and stretched out over the balcony to catch some of the action."

 

 




UPPER CIRCLE
Called the Royal Circle in this theatre

Layout:
The Balcony overhangs the Upper Circle at row B, pillars holding it up appear in row B. The overhang does not affect the view from Upper Circle seats, the pillars, as in the Dress Circle, do!

Seats are a tiered single block, curved towards the stage.

Row F is split into two sections by an aisle beside seats 9 and 10.

Legroom:
Poor throughout the circle, worst in row A - 1 to 3, 7 to 12 and 17 to 20 particularly - and in seat numbers B 5, 6, 15, 16, E 10 and 11 and particularly F10 and 11. Those over 5ft 7 are going to be uncomfortable anywhere here.

There's a bit of space for those up to about 5ft 6 in C1 and 20 and D1 and 23 where the rows curve forward and a leg can travel into an aisle. Only for the able-bodied, though, as it's still uncomfortable enough to trigger any underlying existing problems...

The seats have been raised on plinths now, giving an extra inch of vertical legroom to rows B back, notes the monkey. So, 5ft 6 or under should be more comfortable.
 

Choosing Seats in General:
Be careful choosing seats here. Many “restricted view” seats – some quite central – are priced as high as possible by some producers.

Skip row A for comfort and view at any price.

Best seats for the short are row B 7 to 14 and row C 8 to 14. Row D 11 to 14 are also good value when sold at fourth price. At second price, the monkey would go for rear stalls or pay a bit more for best stalls, rather than squeeze itself into expensive seats up here.

The shallow rake of the circle does not help sightlines from row D back.

"Restricted view" seats B 3, 4, 6, 17 and 18, C 2 to 5 and 17 to 19, D 8 and 16, E 4, 5, 21 and 22 and F 3, 4, 16 and 17 are acceptable if discounted to fifth price or below for view, if not comfort. Again, not seats it would choose particularly. If they are more expensive, certainly worth missing.

B5 and 16 are cramped, another reason to avoid, the monkey feels, other cheaper seats might be worth a look even if this circle is more cramped than most generally.

Of the seats directly behind the pillars, consider paying more - they are too poor to recommend.

C7 has the pillar beside it, if you can stand the cramp, the view isn't bad for a restricted view ticket.

As the circle curves like the Dress Circle below it, the first and last five seats in each row face the stage at an angle - the view of centre stage is fine. The view of the sides less so. This makes these seats poor value though these aisle end seats may still appeal to some.

General Hazard Notes:
A metal bar runs across the front of the circle. This intrudes into the view from many seats, running horizontally across it. Vertical supports cut across the view of every fourth seat, notably in rows A and B. Further safety bars at the edges of the circle make row A seats 1,2,16 and 17 well worth missing.

One reader, taking a quick glance during an interval summed it up with,
"I thought there was quite a lot of restriction up there."

Changes for the current production:
There are many central seats at second price, with some restricted view seats at a lower price next to them and behind pillars. At second price the monkey would take a look at rows B 7 to 14 and C 6 to 16 (C7 particularly) at these prices, but would actually take same price restricted view dress circle any cheaper stalls for comfort - accepting the restricted view these will have.

It notes that normally "restricted view" seats B 5 and 16, C 3 to 5 and 17 to 19, D 19 and 20, E 4, 5, 21 and 22 and F 3, 4, 16 and 17 are at second price too. Not seats it would choose.

Of the restricted view seats, all are more expensive than outermost row seats, and have less legroom. Only the particularly short may prefer to sit here (the steps will aid seeing over those in front).

Outermost seats in all rows are average at third price. Sadly, the taller will have to pay a good bit more for more legroom in seats down in the stalls or dress circle.

E 9, 10, 15 and 16 are at a very low price - maybe worth taking once same-price seats in lower parts of the house have gone, perhaps.

 

Reader Comments:
"B9 and 10: "Sunset Boulevard" (December 2008), (James). Seats were great, but as they've pulled the stage forwards over the pit, we couldn't see that bit very well. I had a look from A9 and 10 and have to say that if you're over 5'11, the bar runs below the stage and the view is wonderful, better than in row B. My gripe is that they've pulled the stage forwards over the orchestra pit - fine if you're in the stalls, but makes the Upper Circle / Balcony seats suffer."

"D4 and D5: Bought a £5 Gallery ticket and was upgraded to the Upper Circle D4 and 5. We were right at the side and had a lot of trouble seeing the right hand side of the stage because of the bar. We moved into the centre but the bar still gave us problems, but we could see the whole stage from here. Would not recommend the Upper Circle at this theatre."

"D7: "La Bete" (June 2010). I wouldn't choose seats these high up personally. This seat has a pillar directly in your eyeline so you have to move your head a bit for some parts. You can see all the stage, but it's too far away from the stage for me."

“E15 and 16: (James F). I could not wait for the production to end. The seats leg room was really small, which meant everyone was really uncomfortable. I recommend buy two seats next to each other (one for you, or one for your legs) or buy the much cheaper standing tickets and you will not have to suffer the pain and you will enjoy the production more."

"E24: "Absent Friends" (January 2012). As you rightly point out, the upper circle of this theatre is (rather misleadingly) known as The ROYAL Circle – rumour has it that this is because The Queen and Prince Philip used to sit up there when they were newly married and setting up home together, not having the money to sit in their now customary boxes. OK, so it was probably misnamed by an anti-royalist theatre executive, but hey!

The view from many of the seats there is even more restricted than that of a box, with restricted views galore behind pillars and mega rails at the sides. I sat in E24 and my view wasn’t helped by the high rails that protect any royals sitting up there."

F10 and 11: "Mojo" (October 2013), (Taljaard). Seats were fine a tiny bit of the left hand side of the stage was blocked by a pillar but that part of the stage was virtually unused. Leg room was tight, even for me."

"F14: "La Bete" (June 2010), (Taljaard). Had a fine view.
 

 


 

Upper Circle Boxes

Layout:
Two boxes, one either side of the stage.

Legroom:
Acceptable, as movable chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
The view from the boxes is sideways on. Theatremonkey rates the seats adequate. Box E is rarely sold, but a good bet if it is; the other box isn't generally used at all. At third price or less they are a way to see the show if ticket demand is high.

General Hazard Notes:
The rear corner of the stage is not visible.

Changes for the current production:
Sold with a package. If you must, they provide legroom at least, feels the monkey.

Reader Comments:
None.

 

 

BALCONY

Layout:
Overhangs the Upper Circle at row B and is high up enough to see the pearly gates.

One block of seats, with aisles at either end.

A shallow rake means looking down is fortunately not particularly vertigo inducing.

Rails in front of, and at the ends of, each row add to the secure feeling. These are at knee height - the ones in front of row F 1, 2, 23 and 24 are double-height. None affect sightlines.
 

Legroom:
Poor throughout the circle, worst in all of row A - for midgets only. Even standing is an issue as the tall feel they are sweeping the ceiling with their hair...

Do also note that the way seats are arranged means it's hard to move one leg into the aisle.

Choosing Seats in General:
As in the other circles, the first and last five seats in each row face the stage at an angle - the view of centrestage is fine. The view of the sides less so. This makes these seats poor value unless the first and last two seats in each row (which are designated restricted view) are sold cheaply.

Without pillars to add to rail intrusion, for those wanting a central view, take row C first, then B, then A; which will be uncomfortable for those over four foot tall.

When the ends of rows are cheap, the monkey would take aisle seats in rows B to D instead, for an inch of extra legroom if squirming sideways and save a few pounds at the same time.

Rows E and F are often the same price as these end seats – the shorter will appreciate a more central view, perhaps.

Sold cheaper, row E is particularly worth a thought - saving over row D but with a similar view.

General Hazard Notes:
A metal bar runs across the front of the circle. This affects the view from all seats in rows A and B, running horizontally across it. Vertical supports also cut across the view of every fourth seat in rows A and B.

Further safety bars at the edges of the circle make row A seats 1 and 20 worth avoiding.

One reader, taking a quick glance during an interval summed it up with,
"I thought there was quite a lot of restriction up there."
 

Changes for the current production:
Ends of rows A to D, plus the whole of E and F are cheapest in the theatre. Aisle seats allow a leg to be moved into them - worth a glance if the same priced seats in the stalls and dress circle have gone. E and

If short, take either B to D first, but remember central E and F are cheaper for almost the same view, if you don't mind extra heads in the way.

 

Reader Comments:
"Row C (centre): "The Children's Hour" (February 2011), (Gary). Rubbish seat - felt I was sitting on the ceiling. Not worth £30. Too far way. Unable to hear the dialogue at times."

"F14: "The Children's Hour" (February 2011), (Taljaard ). Last row in the Balcony. Not too bad at all, could hear and see everything."

"Gallery Standing: Let's just say I hope I never have to stand at the back of the balcony at the Comedy again. My back ache was horrendous. I swapped with someone in the front row of the gallery for act two (they had knee pain because of the cramped conditions (Moved to A3). I actually felt quite near to the performers here, could see expressions and everything albeit being high up. The bars were a problem though, especially my seat as it had one of those vertical supports you mention."

 



Notes
Total 796 seats.

Air-conditioned auditorium.

Mobile Connect system with ipods available to hire for the performance are available, as is guide dog sitting. Wheelchair spaces or transfer seating are in row E of the Dress Circle via an 8cm ramp at a side door and into the foyer. Chair footrests may have to be removed. Adapted toilet in the foyer. Fuller details from Ambassador Theatre Group or 0844 8717 677; Artsline on 020 7388 2227 or e-mail artsline@dircon.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.

Three bars. Foyer, Stalls and Upper Circle.

6 toilets. Stalls 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 8 cubicles; Upper Circle 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 3 cubicles; Balcony 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 2 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. A large statue of horses is to your right. Turn to your right and walk down Haymarket. At the traffic lights, cross Haymarket. Continue walking downhill (your right as you cross). The next side street on your left is Panton Street. Turn into it and cross it to the Harold Pinter (formerly Comedy) Theatre.

 

Buses:
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 Piccadilly Circus and follow the walking route above. If travelling from Oxford Street or Shaftesbury Avenue you will be able to leave the bus on Haymarket itself. Do so at the first stop in the street.

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a long distance from the theatre. Walk up Panton Street to Haymarket to maximise your chances of hailing one in the street.

 

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. The Comedy Theatre is in front of you.

The nearest option that does is Spring Gardens / Trafalgar Square. Call Q-Park car parks on 0870 442 0104 or see http://www.q-park.co.uk for details. At these car parks, 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.


 

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