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

NOEL COWARD THEATRE
(formerly the Albery Theatre)

HALF A SIXPENCE (musical)

As children, they each took half a sixpence. He made his way in shop work, but never forgot her - even as his fortunes took a turn for the better...

The classic musical is given an extra make-over by Stiles and Drewe in this transfer from the 2016 Chichester summer season.

Charlie Stemp will NOT appear at performances on or between 24th and 29th April 2017, 26th June and 1st July 2017 and 14th and 19th August 2017.

The producers cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, which is always subject to illness, injury and statutory leave entitlement.

Cast holiday details are given for information only, and Theatremonkey.com CANNOT take responsibility for any issue arising from the accuracy or otherwise of these details, nor guest use of this information.

 

Theatremonkey Opinion:
(Seen at the preview performance on 14th November 2016)

This “Half a Sixpence” gleams as a freshly-minted show should. The original 1963 David Heneker hit has been re-worked by Stiles and Drewe under the beady eye of musical theatre expert Cameron Mackintosh himself.

Out go “The Oak and The Ash” and (sadly) “All In The Cause of Economy,” plus much of the original arrangements of everything else. In come nine fresh songs, of increasing quality as the show progresses.

Almost every number is given big “set piece” staging. The wonderful “Back The Right Horse” (a hymn to theatre producers everywhere) must have been written for Sir Cameron, “Pick Out A Simple Tune” as a gift from Stiles and Drewe to us, the audience; and the re-working of “Long Ago” into a gorgeous musing their thanks to Mr Heneker.

The monkey was left in no doubt, either, that this is a Mackintosh show. It’s a masterclass in production values. Paul Brown’s revolving set, Paule Constable’s lighting and Luke Hall’s Video Design takes us to shops, pubs, the seaside pier, garden parties, grand homes, hovels and all points between - in the course of Kipp’s progress from shop assistant to Society man and finally to his personal comfort level.

Best of all, it sounds good. Mick Potter keeps it natural on the ear, making sure that William David Brohn and Tom Kelly’s new yet respectful orchestrations are properly heard.

Andrew Wright (choreographer) and Rachel Kavanaugh (director) keep the actors moving, and even when the plot slows a little in act one to set up the far livelier act two, the show itself rarely falters. The only glaring criticism the monkey could find was new number “Look Alive” failing to do the work of “All In The Cause of Economy” both in scene setting and adding the required edge of bitterness to surviving classic “Money to Burn.”

Of the cast, the majority of praise will undoubtedly fall on Kipps.


Charlie Stemp – fresh Drama School graduate and now West End Leading Man in a single bound, rather as if an unknown grandfather had willed him the role. A cross between Tommy Steele and Michael Crawford, his stage presence is based on comic timing and agility as he quips, sings, dances, tumbles and clowns, seldom leaving the stage. If he isn’t appearing, there will be protests at the box office, the monkey is certain.

For the monkey, however,


Ian Bartholomew as actor, impresario and terrible cyclist Chitterlow stole the show. “Back The Right Horse” punches proceedings up a gear at the right moment, and his years of experience enhance gloriously every scene he plays.

For the ladies,

Emma Williams gives us a lovely Helen Walsingham, aloof yet kinder than her over-bearing mother


(neatly snobbish Vivien Parry) will allow. Jane How’s Lady Punnet is another member of society worth mention, a rounded performance underlining perfectly the difference between true and aspiring class.


As Ann, Kipp’s “girl from back when,” Devon-Elise Johnson makes a good transformation from 16 to 22 (better than Stemp – the opening eschews the difficulty of child actors by having the leads play themselves younger). There’s a sweetness that will deepen as her performance grows, for sure , and her solo number is a highlight.

With an energetic and talented company behind them, and managing to send us off with both a “Crash Bang Wallop” (Gerard Carey’s camp photographer skating the line of good taste) plus an even better surprise to finish with, this musical does exactly what the “old time shows should,” letting us leave many times happier than when we went in.

It’s the full glittering shilling – so do spend yours to see it. 5 stars.

 

Photo credits: Manuel Harlan, used by kind permission.

 

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

(11 reviews)

Got stalls F20 for day seat rate of £20 at 6pm on 1st November 2016. Would be better to be a few rows further back for this production - lots of huge ensemble dance numbers. Rather surprised to learn that full price for that seat is £125. Definitely not worth that - the stage is still above your eyeline! Though lower than usual at the Noël Coward. Also noticed that £20 front row day seats are an absolute steal.

And what a cracking show! An absolute unqualified triumph. The second half in particular takes you as close to musical theatre perfection as you can get. Not to be missed. Charlie Stemp's energy as Arthur Kipps is boundless.
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Now here’s an interesting thing. I decided I would like to go to an early performance of ‘Half a Sixpence’ during the preview period so I went to the Delfont Macintosh website and discovered that for the first three preview performances the seats were greatly reduced in price, so I bought B5 in the Dress Circle for £49.75 (including a booking fee of £2.50) for 2nd November 2016 - but from tomorrow that seat goes up to £77.25 and then after 17 November (press night) it will be £82.25 or several pounds more if booked through most of the main ticket agencies who have higher booking fees.

Did I enjoy the show? No, not a lot. It was all very well done regarding the set, the sound, the direction, the choreography etc but at the end of the day I am not sure that it was worth all the effort of turning 'Kipps' into a musical once, let alone twice! I saw the Tommy Steele version in 1963 and don’t remember much about it except Tommy Steele’s exuberance – and his teeth – and of course ‘Flash! Bang Wallop!’.

Tonight started off very well in a nice, low key way with Kipps and his childhood sweetheart but as the first Act went along I felt I was being bombarded with too many musical numbers, all featuring Kipps, with very little meat to the dramatic story line. The second Act was a bit more interesting dramatically but by the end of the show I felt rather: ‘So what?’ even though we were treated to ‘Flash! Bang! Wallop!’ as a kind of reward for staying to the end.

I liked the lads who played Kipps’s fellow employees in the drapery shop because they presented their individual characters strongly, and the best character in the whole show was Ian Bartholomew as the actor Chitterlow. I was a bit disappointed in the two female leads (Devon-Elise Johnson and Emma Williams) although I guess they were just playing the parts as written.

As to the new star, Charlie Stemp as Kipps, I don’t want to denigrate his achievement in playing this ‘on stage the whole evening’ role, nor his talents at singing and dancing, but for me he was just too much Frank Spencer from ‘Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em’. Presumably Arthur Kipps was fairly gormless anyway and maybe the problem lay with me in that I didn’t find this rather stupid boy worthy of being the centrepiece of an elaborate musical.

A few observations.
1. I have no idea whether the show will be a success in the West End or not. I was surprised when ‘Crazy for You’ closed fairly early and appalled when ‘The Full Monty’ did not even achieve its initial run so what do I know?

2. On reflection, I felt tonight that the show was not nearly as good as the two earlier British musicals of a similar nature, namely ‘Me and My Girl’ and ‘Mr Cinders’.

3. I disliked the scene tonight (‘Pick Out a Simple Tune’) when it turned out that the toffs having a dull musical evening listening to people playing classical music on the flute, the bassoon and the organ really just wanted to do a tap dance and play the spoons to a low class popular song.

4. I disliked even more the idea that the photographer at the wedding for ‘Flash! Bang! Wallop! was presented quite gratuitously as a very effeminate gay man. These days we cannot have dwarves on the stage as comic characters in ‘Snow White’, and white actors cannot black up to play Othello, so why is it acceptable to get a cheap laugh by making a character a caricature of an effeminate homosexual. There was absolutely no dramatic justification for this and I am surprised Cameron Macintosh sanctions it.
_________________________________________________________________

We loved it. I really can't go along with the long critique from another reader here, complaining that there were too many songs. It is a musical, not a play; and to say that Charlie Stemp is more Frank Spencer that Tommy Steele is to miss the point of his situation. He is a brilliant dancer as well a singer and has the ability to float almost in slow motion when jumping and dancing.
_________________________________________________________________

Saturday evening, 19th November 2016.

Slightly slow first act. Excellent second act, that built to a clever encore number without resorting to manipulating the audience into a standing ovation. (Do I remember a similar device at the end of '70, Girls, 70' 25-odd years ago?) Delighted to say - and it's a long time since I've been able to at a West End musical - I could hear every word, even in the unfamiliar new songs. (Pity we lost 'Economy', but 'Simple Tune' is a great addition.) The new script and lyrics glitter with clever wordplay, maybe a little self-consciously.

Charlie Stemp is getting all the reviews. He's good, but he's just doing what drama schools train you for, the full Musical Theatre triple-threat , with singing perhaps a notch under acting and dancing. But the theatre magic, for me, came from Ian Bartholomew's Chitterlow.
__________________________________________________________________

Box D. Not been in this box before, very pleased with the view. There were just the two of us in there, so we could move the chairs as we liked, would be a bit crowded with 4 though.

This is definitely the best musical I have seen for some time. The energy is wonderful, and there is not a bad voice in the entire ensemble. I thoroughly agree about Ian Bartholomew, he did a fantastic turn as Chiterlow. The young Charlie Stemp has some future ahead of him though, what a talented young man. A real feel good show. I defy anyone to come out not singing 'Flash Bang Wallop.'
__________________________________________________________________

I saw Half A Sixpence at the Wednesday matinee on 4th January 2017 - Balcony D11. Have sat in the Noel Coward balcony a few times before so knew the sort of view I would likely to be getting, plus only paid £10 through Get Into London Theatre offer. However at the interval there was a lot of grumbling and some people asking ushers if they could be moved. I could quite agree with them where they had paid face value of £27.50 for tickets not marked restricted view but providing a rather poor experience. It was fine for any full stage ensemble routines, but a large proportion of the show was played by the principals on the enlarged forestage area that has been pushed some way into the auditorium by the revolves. For once people sat in the centre block were looking quite enviously at those in the slips who possibly had a better view of the leads at half the price.
__________________________________________________________________

"We saw Half a Sixpence from Stalls P 19 and 20, which we got at a very good price thanks to Monkey. You are under the overhang of the Dress Circle but as Monkey says, it really doesn't bother you in this row. We could clearly see the musicians at the top of the set . This is such a joyous show, and being a bit further back meant that we could really appreciate the choreography. Leg room was also good here and although a tall man in front reduced my view at times, that's just down to luck - the seats were great overall."
__________________________________________________________________

25th January 2017 (evening).

Half A Sixpence...wow...what an amazing experience...! We both came out skipping (well almost) and were blown away by the second half. We read your review before we went and we both agreed wholeheartedly with what you said. Charlie Stemp is a tour de force! What does he have for breakfast?!

Although the first half was executed brilliantly and I can't pick any faults with it, it didn't have as much of the wow factor as the second half which was happiness on a stick. "Pick Out a Simple Tune" is total genius and when I realised that many of the songs were written for this production, I was a bit disappointed that some originals had been scrapped but "Pick Out A Simple Tune" completely dispelled those worries. We both came out singing it (with rhythm!) and it's still in my head (and on my spotify list!!). As for "Flash Bang Wallop"...well what can I say, this is what musicals are all about, you should always come out happier than when you went in and you certainly do with this one. I really hope it tours, I've already told my theatre going friends up north that they have to see it if it does!

We were seated in the Royal Circle, G20 and G21. An excellent view, not obscured by anything or anyone and although we were only one row from the back, this didn't matter, they were very good seats.
___________________________________________________________________

I’d seen it 60 or so years ago, and though it promised an updated score, if this was the same as what they revived on Broadway a few years ago, it’s easy to see why it didn’t last. Silly nonsense (just my flavour), but another squandered opportunity. Beautiful costumes. I’m not sure the opening cast was what I saw this week, so maybe it was “better,” then.
___________________________________________________________________

I saw the matinee of Half a Sixpence on Saturday 4th February 2017. What a superb show. It is musical theatre heaven from start to finish. Wonderful dancing, costumes, scenery, and a brilliant leading man in Charlie Stemp. I loved every minute of it.

I sat in the Grand Circle in seat B18. A central seat with an excellent view of the whole stage. I paid just £47 by booking in advance on the theatre's website. Bargain! There is a safety rail in view which is annoying for about three minutes, then, strangely, you just don't see it any more. I imagine that people in Row A leaning forward may cause a problem but nobody actually did lean forward while I was there so I assume the view is just as good from Row A....the trip from the entrance to the Grand Circle down to the seats on Row B was down some extremely steep and scary steps which made me feel a bit strange but, once seated, I was fine.
___________________________________________________________________

We very much loved "Half a Sixpence," and saw it twice on our short vacation in London! We never before saw a show twice the same trip except Edna (she's my passion). We love the boy...he is extraordinary.





 

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 at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 2 hours 45 minutes approximately.

 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

Monday to Thursday:
Stalls
Rows D to R: £72.50 except
"Premium Seats" row F 10 to 20; G 9 to 21: £125
"Premium Seats" row H 8 to 22; J 7 to 22: £97.50
Rows S to V: £47.50

Dress Circle
All seats: £72.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 8 to 24: £125
"Premium Seats" row B 8 to 21 and C 8 to 22: £97.50
Row A 1, 2, 30 and 31 and B 1, 2, 27 and 28: £47.50

Upper Circle
Rows A to D: £47.50
Rows E and F: £25
Upper Circle slips row AA (restricted view) seats: £12.50

Balcony
Rows A to E: £25

Balcony slip seats: £12.50

Boxes
Boxes C and D: £47.50 per seat.
Boxes A and B: £25 per seat.


 

 


Friday and Saturday:
Stalls
Rows D to R: £77.50 except
"Premium Seats" row F 10 to 20; G 9 to 21: £125
"Premium Seats" row H 8 to 22; J 7 to 22: £97.50
Rows S to V: £47.50

Dress Circle
All seats: £77.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 8 to 24: £125
"Premium Seats" row B 8 to 21 and C 8 to 22: £97.50
Row A 1, 2, 30 and 31 and B 1, 2, 27 and 28: £47.50

Upper Circle
Rows A to D: £47.50
Rows E and F: £25
Upper Circle slips row AA (restricted view) seats: £12.50

Balcony
Rows A to E: £25

Balcony slip seats: £12.50

Boxes
Boxes C and D: £47.50 per seat.
Boxes A and B: £25 per seat.

"Day Seats": A VERY limited number of tickets, 16 located in the front row - C - of the stalls, go on sale at 10.30am on the day of performance to personal callers at the box office priced £20 each. First come-first served, they are subject always to availability and are usually limited to 1 or 2 per person. They may be paid for in cash or by credit card, the monkey always advises taking both to be safe, in case one is preferred over the other. It also always advises calling the theatre in advance to check that the "day seat" ticket policy is in operation.


Some details will 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:
www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk provide their own service for this theatre.
This system allows you to select your own seat numbers.

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
£2.25 per ticket - 50p cheaper than by telephone.

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

When the theatre does not have the tickets you desire available, it is well worth trying the Theatremonkey Ticketshop agency, telephone 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom), offers £72.50 tickets with a £12.50 (£77.50 with a £13.25 Friday and Saturday) per seat booking fee (£21.30 on £125, £16.75 on £97.50, £8.25 on £47.50, £4.30 on £25, £2.25 on £12.50 seats) - moderate by agency standards, though higher than box office fees, worth trying as they often have an alternative choice of seats 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 £72.50 tickets with a £10.87 (£77.50 with an £11.62 Friday and Saturday) per seat booking fee (£18.75 on £125, £14.62 on £97.50, £7.12 on £47.50, £3.75 on £25, £1.87 on £12.50 seats) and £2.75 per booking (not per ticket) postal charge. (FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times).

Ticketmaster.co.uk offers £72.50 tickets with an £8 (£13.75 on £125, £5.25 on £47.50, £2.75 on £25 seats Monday to Thursday / £13.75 on £125, £8.55 on £77.50, £2.75 on £25 seats Friday and Saturday) per seat booking fee (£13.75 on £125, £5.25 on 347.50, £2.75 on £25 seats). A £3.05 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) offers £72.50 tickets with a £20.50 (£77.50 with a £22.50 Friday and Saturday) per seat booking fee (£35 on £125, £27.50 on £97.50, £13.50 on £47.50, £7 on £25 seats). A postage charge of £1.45 per booking, not per ticket may be applied to bookings made from UK addresses more than 5 days before the performance. The "Flexiticket" Exchange Service, allowing FREE transfer / cancellation (credit note up to 12 months) of your booking up to 3 days before the performance is also available for £1.99 per ticket. Meal and show packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.

Londontheatredirect.com offers £72.50 tickets with a £14.50 (£77.50 with a £15.50 Friday and Saturday) per seat booking fee (£25 on £125, £19.50 on £97.50, £10 on £47.50, £5 on £25, £2.50 on £12.50 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.

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 482 5141
(020 7812 7498 if you cannot use the 0870 number)
Operated by Delfont-Mackintosh Theatres. At busy times / outside working hours - 9am to 8pm, See Tickets may answer on behalf of the venue.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
£2.75 per ticket - 50p more than by telephone.

For personal callers or by post: St Martin's Lane, London. WC2N 4AH
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.

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

 

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

Theatre Seat Opinions:
Please remember that cheaper seats often do not offer the same view / location quality as top price ones, and that ticket prices are designed to reflect this difference.

 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Upper Circle Balcony Notes
STALLS 

Layout:
The Dress Circle (Royal Circle in this theatre) overhangs the stalls at row K, is noticeable at row P, but does not affect the view significantly from any seat until row S.

Seats are arranged in a single large block in front of the stage. Replaced in October 2005, they are rather comfortable, and an interesting shade of pink.

The rake (or slope of the floor to help see over seats in front) is noticeable from row F - and pronounced from around N. There isn't one in rows A to C, but a high stage means those 5ft or taller should see. Smaller folk will struggle, though.

Legroom:
G
ood throughout the stalls.

Seats F1 and 24 and G1 and 25 have nothing in front of them.

Seat E1 has 90% of the width in front clear, H26 around 80% and H1 50% clear.

A 6ft reader rated row B 13 and 14 excellent, a 6ft 6 tall one the same for M 13 to 16.

Choosing Seats in General:
Row A is great for proximity to the stage, and neck ache is unlikely if the stage is low. If it is high, you are not going to see the floor and be looking up. When they are discounted they are a real bargain, feels the monkey. Even undiscounted, not a bad place, really.

Moving further back, seats are elevated enough to see over the rows in front quite well. This ensures more than just the rear view of someone's head for most customers. Rows N and V in particular seem elevated. A high stage in the theatre also helps.

Rows S to V may find that the circle overhang can cut the top off the stage in these rows.

The view from all seats fairly reflects the prices charged, with even those in the last rows feeling reasonably close to the action. When action is missed, prices reflect this and even folk in the rear rows get fair value.

General Hazard Notes:
High stage can cause neck ache in the front three rows.

A sound desk can replace seats in rear rows. Purists may wish to avoid.

Changes for the current production:
The front row is C, used as day seats. It's a high stage, with "footlights" between the seats, poking into the view too. You'll miss feet for sure and those under around 5ft 7 will be looking up sharply. Without an orchestra in front, plenty of legroom, too, even for those 6ft plus. For the price, great value, though, feels the monkey.

Worth knowing is that one scene uses a large balustrade taking up the area to the "low numbers to centre" side of the auditorium. Try for "high numbers" in the first two rows for the better angle.

Central rows F and G are "Super Premium" seats, H and J merely "premium." Between us, monkey thinks H and J have a better view... Either take the few right next to them that are cheaper, or go back to K, feels the monkey. Row E is also acceptable, if the stage height isn't an issue, it feels.

Prices drop to second in row S. Rear stalls are further from the stage, but may be less cramped (feet can get under the seats in front) so 5 to 23 in particular are a decent alternative in the upper circle for the same cash. Shorter folk may prefer a circle, though, to see over heads.

A sound desk is behind central row T, so be aware that T 10 to 17, U 11 and 17 and V 8 and 14 would be worth missing for purists only.

 

Reader Comments:
(Larger reader): Big enough seats in the stalls, slightly cramped but I suppose O.K."

"Row A: "A Christmas Carol" (December 2015), (Glen Morranjie). My seat was in the middle of the front row of stalls. Stage seemed high even for a tall person like me, but I didn’t think that I missed anything."

"Row A: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). Day seat price. Quite bad view to be honest, the stage is toooooo high..."

“A13: "Million Dollar Quartet" (February 2011). At a discount I was more than happy with the view. As to the sound, I was perfectly happy too - a pleasure to listen to, even at their loudest."

“A14: I was quite surprised by the great legroom (I'm 6ft 2" tall). The seats were comfortable and I had a great time at the show."

“A 16, 17 and 18: The stage is a bit high but you get used to it..."

"A16: (Pip). An excellent view, right in the centre. Could see everything and almost touch the actors. Comfortable seats with a respectable legroom."

"A18: "A Christmas Carol" (December 2015). Loads of legroom. There is a need to look up, but this is not too much of a problem."

"A19 and 20: Having secured a cheap deal (£32.50 each for the show I saw in 2007). I'd say this was about fair value for money - definitely not a first choice at full price. Legroom was more than adequate for both of us."

"B 10 to 14: None of us had any problems whatsoever. The sound is perfect and the view is outstanding. Also the theatre is very cool here, especially as it was boiling outside. These are the most comfortable seats I have ever had in a theatre, and the ones with the most legroom. In fact we had about 10 bags between us, and we didn't have to pick them up or stand up ourselves to let people by, because there was enough space to walk round us. The view is incredible. I recommend them every time!"

"B10, 11 and 12: Absolute perfection, best seats in the house."

"B14 and 15: "Deathtrap" (August 2010). I am six feet tall and there was lots and lots of leg room. The action is right in front of you and the actors do not come too far forward on the stage so you do not have to keep looking up at the actors."

"B 15 and 16: The Cripple of Innishmaan" (August 2013): It was great to be so close - there was a bit of neck scrunching but not much. Sat in J 5 and 6 second time round and these seats allowed you a good view of the stage etc. Given the choice I would probably go for row B as it was more up close and personal and we could see and hear everything. The seats were fine with plenty of legroom but as a preference I would sit more centrally in future."

"B20: "Photograph 51" (September 2015). Excellent seat for a tenner (day seat)."

“Row C: (Liam). Tthe last 4 seats of the row but still excellent and almost seemed central."

"Row C: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2016). These £20 front row day seats are an absolute steal."

"C23: AMAZING seat. I saw absolutely everything - occasionally I missed a few facial expressions but very rarely."

"C15 and 16: "Avenue Q". These seats are 4 rows from the front and are central to the stage. These offer a fantastic view of the stage, and the action. I would not hesitate in purchasing these tickets again. At 5ft 9, the leg room was snug but comfortable."

"C18: "Half a Sixpence" (November 2016). Got a day seat for the Thursday evening at around midday. Excellent place to sit for this show, occasional restrictions with tables etc slightly blocking the view."

"E9: "Million Dollar Quartet" (February 2011). Provided an excellent view of the stage with great legroom. The stage is quite high and I would advise readers to sit in Row D or further back if they want to see the full stage without craning necks."

Reader Paul Nicholls says,
"E11 and 12: (Paul Nicholls). A shade too close to the stage for my liking but, wow, I've never had so much leg room. You could almost lie down!"

"E17 and E18: "Million Dollar Quartet”. An excellent choice. Plenty of leg room and just far enough back to have the stage sight line just above the heads of the row in front."

“F19: No problems to report with this seat."

"F19 and 20: "Good People" (May 2014). These are premium seats – and it shows. The view is superb, there is ample legroom and you are at just the right height to have relaxed neck muscles (you look straight on rather than slightly upwards in some of the more forward rows.) We went on a Bank Holiday, and had booked to be in the Balcony but were bumped forwards, making these amazing value (we paid £12.50 per ticket as opposed to the actual £65!)."

"F20: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2016). Got for day seat rate of £20 at 6pm on 1st November 2016. Would be better to be a few rows further back for this production - lots of huge ensemble dance numbers. Rather surprised to learn that full price for that seat is £125. Definitely not worth that - the stage is still above your eyeline! Though lower than usual at the Noël Coward."

"F20: "Privates on Parade" (December 2012). I had an excellent view of the entire stage and didn't miss any of the action. Plenty of legroom in this row even for me at 6 foot, but the rake is quite shallow here."

"F21 and 22: "Hay Fever" (February 2012). Were fine - except that I had a huge man with a big head just to my right and he kept moving so that I was obliged to jiffle and peer for the first half. No-one was in seat 20 so I moved there after half time. That was fine then, excellent view."

"Row G: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). Fine, even with the high stage. But thought I'd better write and warn that a lot of this play takes place on high balconies so stalls unaffected by the dress overhang or seats in the dress would be better."

“G7 to 10: Very good view and wouldn't hesitate getting these again if offered."

“G 7 and 8: (Thom). Excellent seats, right in the middle of the action."

“Row H last 2 seats: The view was rather good (even for a short person like me)."

"H25 and 26: “Shakespeare In Love” (July 2014). Splendid seats. Plenty of leg room in 26, and a good view of the stage. Nice comfortable seats too."

"Row J: (Alf). J or K the rake suddenly becomes a lot steeper, giving a much better view. However, the stage is fairly high as it is. I would recommend avoiding the rear stalls (row Q etc) as the dress overhang chops off the top half of the stage, when used for a show with high sets."

"J 5 and 6: "The Cripple of Innishmaan" (August 2013). Sat in B 15 and 16 the first time and it was great to be so close - there was a bit of neck scrunching but not much. Sat in J 5 and 6 second time round and these seats allowed you a good view of the stage etc. Given the choice I would probably go for row B as it was more up close and personal and we could see and hear everything. Row J was fine apart from the woman sat next to me who coughed continuously and laughed so loudly that she drowned out the actors. Why these people don't stay at home beats me! Bear in mind that the row starts with seat 3 so seats 5 and 6 are only really the 3rd and 4th seats in the row. The seats were fine with plenty of legroom but as a preference I would sit more centrally in future."

"Mid-row J: "Million Dollar Quartet" (March 2011). I'm not tall, and had a tall guy in front of me, but most action seemed to be slightly to either side of the stage so it wasn't a problem."

"K19 to 22: (Mark). Were as good as the monkey seating plan indicated and ideal for seeing actors expressions as well as everything that takes place on stage. Good rake at that level too so that the Munchkin and our other two friends were all able to see everything without any obstruction. And quite comfy seats too even if I did find myself sinking further down in them as the show progressed (though I think that is more to do with me and my poor posture than the well padded seats)."

"K23 to 26: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). I.E. on the aisle. Can't say I'd choose these seats again! On the positive, the leg room was good and it was a comfortable but connected distance from the stage. However, the rake felt non existent - I was out on the aisle in K26 and as there were empty seats in front for about three rows, was congratulating myself on a lovely clear view of the stage when the curtain rose and the people in front moved one seat to the left! Because my view of the stage was diagonal from there, the staggering of seats worked against me and I suddenly had a head right in the middle of the stage. Fortunately, the aisle seat in front (J26) was still empty so by watching the show at an angle of 45 degrees to my left, I was able to see ... with an occasional swerve to the right to peer between heads when the action took place over there. Tall Daughter and Co seemed fine so maybe it's just K26... Beautiful theatre, but maybe the circle another time!"

“Row L (end of row): (Stephan Nicholls): The view was fine."

"L17 and 18: Great seats, you can see all of the stage and the actors’ expressions clearly and you are pretty much central along the row. There is limited space for each seat even though legroom is good. I was constantly being poked in the side by the woman next to me who it seemed had made it her mission to battle me for arm room."

"Row M (centre): (Mel). Had a perfect view of the stage including the top. We are both quite short, so luckily the rows have an incline from row K upwards! Any rows further back I’m not sure if you could see. "

“M 13 to 16: We bought our tickets from TKTS for the show we saw in 2009. The view was fantastic, the rake allowing all my group to see, but close enough to the action to not miss a thing. Legroom was excellent (I'm 6ft 6 tall), so a comfortable night for me... Or at least it would have been if I hadn't had to share my seat with a lady with, shall we say, a fuller figure in the seat next to me. Never mind, I would recommend these seats and say they are worthy of full price, but an absolute steal at half price."

"M 17 to 19: "Enron" (February 2010). The circle overhang didn't cut off any part of the stage, but I wouldn't want to be any further back. The raking was good, and you still felt close to the actors and were able to see all their expressions."

"N 10 to 13: “Shakespeare In Love” (July 2014). Following your advice, we'd booked seats in Stalls Row N, numbers 10 to 13, i.e. not premium price but next price level down. The 'staggering' of the seats meant that we all had good views, even my 5ft 0" wife who usually struggles with stalls seats and would normally opt for the circle."

"N 13, 14 and 15: These were really great seats, excellent leg room and there is really quite a steep rake here so you get a really great view, although if I could pick any seat I would probably go a couple rows in front as they have the same rake but slightly closer."

"Row O (middle); (Carol Morrison). Had a perfect view. Although the Dress Circle overhangs the back of the stalls we were still able to see all the action on stage."

"O10 and 11: (Ali). Excellent legroom, a bit narrow, and for some unknown reason, I had quite an aching back afterwards. The view was unobstructed, and we had no problem seeing the top of the building set. I would like to be further forward, about row K next time, so I could see the actors’ expressions better."

"O19: “Shakespeare In Love” (July 2014), (Ray). Thoroughly deserves its green rating. At 5ft 7ins, I don't regard myself as tall, but the rake of that row meant that I had a perfect view of the whole multi-layered set."

"O22 and O23: “Enron” (January 2010), (Clive). With a good rake these afforded an excellent view and the legroom was also good. (Excellent show as well).

"O22 to 24: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). As the stalls were half empty, we (self) upgraded ourselves 2 seat categories and moved to row O, seats 22 to 24. View is perfect and unaffected by the dress circle overhang. I cannot comment on "heads in the way" as the no one was sitting in the row in front (row N), but being tall (6'2'') I felt I was blocking the view for people behind, so I felt the need to slouch a bit, possible thanks to a very good legroom space (by West End theatres' standards)."

"Row P: For £25 was a great offer when I went. Good leg room and view. I am 6ft so sometimes suffer; very warm sat under the circle, but saw all of the stage."

"P2 and P3 (note there is no P1): (Stephan Nicholls). The view was fine."

"P 19 and 20: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2016): Got at a very good price thanks to Monkey. You are under the overhang of the Dress Circle but as Monkey says, it really doesn't bother you in this row. We could clearly see the musicians at the top of the set . This is such a joyous show, and being a bit further back meant that we could really appreciate the choreography. Leg room was also good here and although a tall man in front reduced my view at times, that's just down to luck- the seats were great overall."

“Row Q: We had to bend to see the top of the stage. Overall, the value for money was excellent when we paid less than £30."

"Q23 to 25: (Hannah M). £27.50 each, for the show we saw in 2007, which are really good. The overhang of the circle cuts off the very top of the stage, but I could still see everything that went on without stooping. As the theatre is so small you feel close to the action in row Q anyway."

“Row R: (Abbie Mason). It's true you don't feel far away, but I would describe rows R and S as restricted view - the circle overhang obscures the top half of the stage area. It may be the case that third price is the going rate for a restricted view in the West End, but these seats should be advertised as such."

"R16: "The Cripple of Inishmaan" (June 2013). Was very comfortable but a little too far to be able to see facial expressions clearly, maybe that's just me. No problem with set height for this show."

"R22: "Half A Sixpence (November 2016). Really great seat, great place to take in this show from could see everything clearly. Paid £25 through the dynamic pricing during previews, so a real bargain."

"T9: "Deathtrap" (August 2010). Didn't find the distance a problem or the overhang. All of the action takes place at floor level, so all anyone who can't see the top of the stage will miss are a few roof beams. Whilst the actors make use of the front of the stage a lot, it hasn't been extended out at all through the proscenium, so views should be fairly good from all seats."

"T19 to 21: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). Last row in current production, they are restricted views as advertised. From those seats you cannot see the upper part of the stage (2 levels, even though not much happening on the top floor)."

"U11: "Half A Sixpence (November 2016). Great seat with perfect view between seats in front! Would definitely upgrade to white!"


Stalls Boxes 

Layout:
Boxes A and B are just above stalls level either side of the stage.

Legroom:
Acceptable as movable chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
The view offered is below average value for money at top price, and boxes should be considered only if extra legroom is needed or rear stalls at the same price are unavailable.

General Hazard Notes:
When in use, those sitting here cannot see a quarter of the edge of the stage nearest to them.

Changes for the current production:
In use and next to lowest price, with just 2 chairs in them. Just average, feels the monkey, who would take them for legroom only.

Reader Comments:
"Don't touch them as they are extremely side on (and I'm a great fan and user of boxes)."

"Million Dollar Quartet" (February 2011. A little word about the boxes (A to D I think) at the side of the theatre for this show: (contains possible spoilers), these are definitely restricted view, you sit in the ones to the left of the stage, you miss the actor playing. (This holds for many other productions too, feels the monkey).

 

DRESS CIRCLE 
Called the ROYAL CIRCLE in this theatre.

Layout:
The Upper Circle overhangs row F. This does not affect the view from any seat.

The Dress Circle is split into a main central and two small side blocks by aisles.

Legroom:
Adequate but less than other rows in row A (though others have a different view); the other rows all have just acceptable levels of comfort - a bit more legroom in row G. Reader Lee at 6ft 1 felt comfy sitting here, more so than in row F on another occasion, "Legroom isn't great on row F so I was very glad to be on an aisle. There is definitely a wider gap behind for row G, the lady in front of me banged my knees with her head and arm a few times last night."

Row H 6 and 24 have nothing in front for two rows in fact, and the very first and last two seats of rows B and C - the outer edges of the side blocks - may also help the taller, with row G preferable for them.

Side block seats in rows B and D also have space beside them for wrigglers. Outermost seats in row A should be acceptable for those up to around 5ft 7 or so too.

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
The view is good from all seats, though rows F, G and H are normally far enough from the stage for the discerning ticket buyer to wonder why they are being charged top price. Think twice before paying it in these circumstances. On the other hand, H 6 and 24 have a clear view without a head in the way for two rows - if someone leans, it's a problem, but otherwise, perfect!

Side Blocks:
Be aware of Row A 1 to 7 and 25 to 31, Row B 1 to 5 and 24 to 27, C 3 to 5 and 25 to 27 and D 4 and 25. Part of a small group of seats located either side of the main block, these seats are at the edges of the circle and have a sideways view of the stage. They are sold as top price, and an OK alternative to the rear of the circle.

At second price, the outermost two in B are worth considering as the view isn't that bad - better than the extreme edges of row A. Not ones for a special night out, but still worth a thought as they are closer to the stage than the rear stalls for the same money. All warnings of restricted views duly noted before purchase, though. Oh, and for the anti-social, those under 5ft 10 will enjoy the solitary splendour of D4 and 25 too.

General Hazard Notes:
Outermost seats have a restricted view.

Changes for the current production:
Central rows A to C (except the outermost 2 seats in B and C) are "premium" - row A being "Super Premium." Remember that if tall and long legged, take stalls if paying it. Row B or C before A if around 5ft 7 or more.

At top price take seats beside or behind the premium ones, D and E have the same view.

Side block outermost pairs in side blocks rows A and B are second price. Take the cheapest B first - better view and comfort up to 5ft 8, but the row A pair are also a bargain for the particularly short, with nothing in front.
 

Reader Comments:
“Circle: (Alf) Outstanding view from all seats: great rake, not too far back from the stage, masses of leg room in row A by the way. Slips aren't too bad if you are happy to lean a bit"

"A3 and 4: (Pip). I see that it's red rated on the diagram, and I know they're at the side, but the view was brilliant! I didn't miss anything but one entrance. And there seems to be more legroom over here than in the centre and you can lean forward if need too and not bother anyone. Seats very comfortable and are cheaper than the middle."

"A18: "Peter & Alice" (March 2013. Perfect view."

“A19 and A20: (James Finchley). What a fantastic place to see the show from. No-one in front of you, no steel bar or high front to obscure the view. Sound is excellent from here and you can see all the actor expressions. Didn’t find legroom a problem at all. Definitely my new favourite viewing point!"

"Sat in A 21 and 22. Great seats (and at top price they should be!) I have to say I thought the leg room was very generous for a front circle seat. I'm only 5ft 4 though so had loads of room. 6ft Husband with laptop bag also seemed to think there was a decent amount of room for him - legs, laptop and all! (The monkey wasn't as keen on row A legroom - feeling it cramped, so welcomes another viewpoint and has raised the rating of these seats accordingly).

“A24 and 25: “Much Ado About Nothing” (Chris B). These seats are to the left as you look at the stage and have the bonus of A 25 being an aisle seat. The view is clear and unobstructed and feels very close to the stage. You are close enough to feel the full atmosphere of the show. The only drawback is the legroom is sufficient (for me being 5'8") but certainly not plentiful."

"A 27 and 28: "A Christmas Carol" (December 2015, (thespyinthestalls). This is a side section but offers a fairly adequate view (and no need to lean, though some will insist on doing so much to the annoyance of row B), Very tight leg room though - much better bet is to move to seats in row C or get the single golden seat in row D if on your own."

"A29 to 31: (Rich). We originally had these, at the extreme edge of the circle. These are restricted view but aren't too bad if you're prepared to lean forward. The play was almost sold out but the front of the circle had several seats free (premium prices?) and so after consulting a friendly usher, we sat in the middle of row A for the second half - amazing seats - great view and the leg room was OK too!"
"B1 and 2: "A Christmas Carol" (December 2015). Advertised as having a slightly restricted view but it really wasn’t too bad. The far right of the stage was obscured but it did not detract from the performance at all. The only problem I had was when a man in the row in front decided to bend forward and then my view was obscured by his shaggy, unkempt head."

"B3: "Good People" (April 2014). I was lucky to be up graded from AA14 in the Upper Circle to B3 in the Royal Circle. Although I'm a fan of my original seat."

Imelda Staunton is a true star. The play is very good but the transfer from Hampstead does not fit the Noel Coward stage very well. But that is a minor gripe for a great night out at the theatre.
 

"B14 and 15: "Hay Fever" (February 2012), (Chris B). Excellent clear view, centrally located, the dress circle feels close to the stage and is very easy to see over people on the front row. Legroom is reasonable if not ample."

“B22: A very good seat."

"B27: (Pez). It was actually a very good view, We had quite a lot of leg room, and most importantly I could see every one of the actors’ expressions, and we were quite close to the stage."

"B28: "Photograph 51" (September 2015). Booked right after show was announced, before day seats were confirmed (which I would have preferred, of course). Actually a decent seat, satisfyingly close to the stage. Nothing to my left, so I had a little space for bag and legs. About a quarter of the stage was blocked from view (my left, stage right), but the staging was such, that I could see everyone and everything. Only hazard was the head of an eagerly forward-leaning gentlemen in row A, but that was easily manageable."

“Row C (middle): The seat was great as I could clearly see the whole stage with nobody blocking my view as the cambering of the seats is first class."

"C11 and C12: (Rochelle). The view was great here; the only downside was the leg room (I have very long legs!)."

"C25: "Death of a Salesman" (April 2015) (Taljaard). An excellent seat indeed."

"C 25, 26 and 27: "Mrs Henderson Presents" (February 2016), (thespyinthestalls). There were only two of us but as this is part of the side section in the circle, there are only three seats so purchased all three to give us the option to move and not have a stranger squashed in next to us. Doing this actually also works out cheaper than two second tier price seats in the stalls. Really good view thanks to circle being quite steep. Even with a quite tall gentleman in front, I was able to see well. Would recommend over row A in circle."

“D4: I asked for and was allocated D4 in the Royal Circle. This is one of two single seats that sit in front of the rear Royal Circle Boxes. Despite being on the side block, this seat offers fine unrestricted views of the stage and because people always go for the centre, there was also nobody in front of me. This is a seat that I would certainly recommend for the theatre goer who occasionally likes to go alone. With lots of room to stretch out it almost felt like having your own private box. The very friendly and helpful member of staff in the box office also informed me that the director will sometimes sit in this seat taking notes as it is often unsold. If it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for me!"

"D4: "The Full Monty" (February 2014). A gem [I'd give it a green rating even at top price]. It takes less than a minute to get from outside the theatre into your seat, so perfect for those who always arrive with seconds to spare – and you are one of the first in the interval queue for the bar, or first to the exit at the end! The seat is square on to the stage and the rake on the seats in front gives you a fantastic view of the whole stage. There is masses of room to stretch your legs and plenty of space to tuck your coat and bag safely next to you on the side away from the aisle. It is also a wide seat with good back support, so very comfortable. Best of all, as the only seat in the row, there is no need to worry about falling over other people or have them trip over you."

"D15: "The Full Monty" (February 2014), (EA). As a 5ft 4in female, I found that I had an absolute perfect view of the stage. Luckily for me, the fairly tall couples in the row in front of me leaned towards each other so I had an unobstructed view. Legroom would not be comfortable for people taller than me and anyone larger than my size (UK 12-14) would find themselves quite squashed in their seat particularly if the people on either side of them use the armrests. It's a bit like most of the seats on the Tube - but even then I had taken off my coat and had it on my lap!"

"D18 and 19: "Hay Fever" (February 2012). We arrived late and had to wait in seats at the rear of the circle. We were not disappointed with the view. However the balcony above does cut off some the view to the top of the stage if you are sitting further back than row D but as 'Hay Fever' was mainly acted at front of stage it does not obscure the view too much."

"D25: "Death of a Salesman" (April 2015). Booked this on Monkey's recommendation. Great for the spy as loads of space for notebook, bag, wine etc. It is a single seat so you will look like you have no friends. There is a box directly behind so occasional feeling of someone over your shoulder. D25 has a distant twin which is equally lovely."

“E9: (David Fisher). The view was excellent however I found that the seat had little leg room and my knee pushed into the seat in front. I only have short legs as well."

"E15 and 16: "Hay Fever" (February 2012), (Mark - regular reader). Brilliant seats giving a great overall view

"F24 and 25: "Avenue Q" (2006 to 2009), (James). Have seen the show many times, once from the stalls (central row M) and the rest of the time from the Dress Circle (usually around rows B to D). Whilst the stalls seats weren’t bad by any means, I prefer seeing the show from the Dress Circle as you can take in more of the stage. I’ve never had a bad seat experience there yet and even F24 and F25 in the Dress Circle, whilst not marked as green, gave me a great view."

"F24 and 25: "Deathtrap" (August 2010), (Lee). Whilst this area was fine for “Avenue Q” I would recommend front stalls for a play like Deathtrap, you definitely feel a little out of the action being even in the first circle. I imagine the shocks and jumps are much more amplified being so much closer to the action. Legroom isn't great on row F so I was very glad to be on an aisle, there is definitely a wider gap behind for row G, the lady in front of me banged my knees with her head and arm a few times last night."

F25: "Gatz" (June 2012). I thought your readers might benefit from my experience. I sat in seat F25 in the Royal Circle. Booking for this theatre takes place via the Delfont Mackintosh website, not through the theatre directly. Because of the play's punishing length I was careful to select a seat with legroom. I'm about 6ft tall and like to stretch. On the online seating plan F25 is clearly marked as an aisle seat with no seat in front of it. I confirmed this with the lady on the DM booking line. "If you want leg room, that's the one!" she said. Well, sadly the seating plan on the website is fiction. In truth F25 has a seat in front of it. Why the online seating chart moves it along one is a mystery. So I got cramped over the long running time, with my knees just about ready to sue my brain by the close. I checked with the usher and the royal circle layout has remained unaltered for at least 5 years so the seating chart is completely misleading.

Another thing to note about this seat is its proximity, along with that side of Rows G and H (and perhaps a couple in front) to the exit, which in this theatre, is but a stone's throw from the fire exit, which is a mere hop to the Lord Salisbury pub next to the theatre. As the performance continued, the hollering and ear bleeding laughter from near-by drinkers, was clearly audible from where I sat. This assumes the noise wasn't the theatre staff amusing themselves while the audience was busy, though one assumes they'd show some restraint in the volume department. Gatz was a low key production - mainly soft spoken word, little incidental music, so it was inconceivable that it could drown out the hyperactive fems and soaked bucks that pumped up the volume. I imagine the problem is most acute during evening performances. In this show, it completely took you out of the performance and refocused your attention on aching limbs. This seat, a jump from the street and without the promised leg room, was £77.50. The view's excellent but that's not enough. Incidentally, the corresponding aisle seat, at the end of row H on the same side, is nearly clear in front, as the chart promises, but not quite. About a third of it is blocked by the seat in front." (The monkey has never noted F25 as having extra legroom. It does, though, note that most seating plans (including its own) are unable to accurately show seats which do or don't have extra legroom. This is due to most graphic software requiring that seats are presented in a 'grid like' manner).

"Row G: “Avenue Q” (2008). I think for the £17.50 I paid, this row provides a superb view for the stage. Views are totally unrestricted and although it’s at the back of the area the theatre is quite small. I think this is better than the back of the stalls."

"Row G (centre): “Avenue Q” (2008), (Lee). It was a great place to see the show from didn't feel far away at all, seats were comfy and even though I am 6 foot 1" I had more than enough legroom. I tried the seats at the back few rows of the Stalls and they felt much further from the stage than being in the Royal Circle for some reason. If a friend asked me I would say go for anywhere centre Royal Circle or front middle Stalls for this show." (That makes the monkey give G a higher rating, given the extra space available).

"G7 and 8: The seats were at the end of the row, which provided extra legroom, which was appreciated. We're both around 5'9", anyone much taller would probably find their legroom a little constrained anywhere else on that row. The view was entirely acceptable, and although you are a little off-centre, no part of the stage was cut off. I have to say that I disagree with the green rating achieved by these seats on the Theatremonkey page. The seats were absolutely acceptable, and certainly shouldn't be red, but for top price I would expect green seats to be a bit more central, and probably closer to the stage. Methinks the Monkey has been a bit generous with the green pen when colouring the seating plan for this theatre! (On consideration, the monkey agrees, and has changed things accordingly...).

"G8: “Deathtrap” (August 2010), (Mark). Not as good as front row stalls (obviously!) but a very good clear view of the stage."

"G20 and 21: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2017). An excellent view, not obscured by anything or anyone and although we were only one row from the back, this didn't matter, they were very good seats."

"G22 and 23: "Shakespeare In Love" (July 2014). Got as day seats. Very good view."

"G22 and 23: "Mrs Henderson Presents" (February 2016). For this show of all shows I really did not want to be in the back of the Circle, Front stalls would have been perfect, but my companion couldn't make it down the stairs, so we had to settle for these. I sat in G23 and was wedged, my legs were forced against the seat in front (I'm 6ft 4 tall). There was no one in the back row and no seat in front of it so I thought I would move there but when I tried to stand up I couldn't get out of my chair. My mobile phone and bunch of keys were in my left pocket and were wedged against the arm rest. I tried really hard to stand and there was a ripping sound and my trousers split down the side seam about 8 inches. An usherette saw it happen and called the Manager and he apologised profusely and offered to pay for the repair. The staff really were exceptionally good to us and it was a great show but I would have liked to have been in the seats I had ear marked for us. The view would have been so much better!!!!"

"H22: "Privates on Parade" (Taljaard). Bought for £10, normally £57.50. Best ever day seat. Great view of the stage and could hear everything perfectly."

 

Dress Circle Boxes

Layout:
Boxes C and D are either side of the stage at Dress Circle level.

Boxes L and M are at further back within the Dress Circle, level with row E.

Legroom:
Acceptable as movable chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
All boxes have a restricted view.

Where not used for technical equipment, boxes are usually sold at top price, getting heavy in this monkey's opinion.

Take box L or M first, but only if you have to - it is tending to expensive at top price. The view is slightly less than perfect but extra legroom compensates.

Box M can take a wheelchair. The view may be better than most wheelchair positions, but access is hard.

General Hazard Notes:
From boxes C and D you cannot see into the back corner of the stage, nor is the nearest edge of the stage visible. A reader feels better than 95% of the stage is visible, sometimes the whole of it, depending on production layout.

Boxes L and M are recessed and the overhang of the circle / production design can affect the view of the edges, top and front of the stage.

Changes for the current production:
Second price, fair value, feels the monkey. L and M are not normally sold, as they are used for access bookings.

Reader Comments:
"Box D: Lovely box, very comfy, excellent view."

"Box D: "Half a Sixpence" (November 2016). Very pleased with the view. There were just the two of us in there, so we could move the chairs as we liked, would be a bit crowded with 4 though."

"Box M: (Alf) is great! It is NOT rear of the dress, but about in line with row D or E, has a full, clear view of the stage, is nice and roomy (with your own curtains) and is a really good way of getting in to see the show last minute. Still a bit greedy as first price, but arguably better than rear dress or stalls."

 


UPPER CIRCLE
Called the GRAND CIRCLE in this theatre

Layout:
A high circle.

The balcony overhangs to row B but does not affect the view from any seat.

The stepped central tier of seats have a good rake.

Slip seats extend in a single row from the circle front along the side walls towards the stage.

Legroom:
A
cceptable in rows B to E for those of an average height of 5ft 6 or so, poorer in row A and tight in all seats for those over 5ft 10 or so. A 6 and 23 are particularly cramped, row F also seems to have a little less legroom.

Seats B24 and C25 have about 5% of the seat width clear in front of them.

Central six seats in row E has a bit more legroom than others, for those up to about 5ft 8.

In row AA it is uncomfortable except for 14 and 15 which have the advantage of being the ends of the row nearest the aisle, 2, 13 16 and 26 where the wall is still a little further from the seat, and 2 and 27 where it bulges even further away. Those up to 5ft 7 should be about adequately served in these.

Choosing Seats in General:
Aside from rail-blighted seats in row A, the rest of the centre block represent acceptable value for money at second price.

If discounted below second price, the extreme ends of each row (and Row A for the vertically challenged) are very reasonable choices. The monkey would take row B, then C or D first as it is taller – but central row A will please the shorter, even accounting for the bar in view, it feels.

Row AA is that set of 28 seats curving around the side wall of the theatre on a narrow ledge extending from the front of the circle. Known as 'Slips' the view is best from seats 2 to 4 and 24 to 27. Elsewhere, be prepared to lean to see much. At low prices these are usually a bargain for those willing to accept a precarious perch...not for the unadventurous or long legged, though, feels the monkey.

General Hazard Notes:
A single metal bar runs across the circle affecting the view in row A. Seats A 6 and 23 should be particularly avoided as a double bar protects the end of the aisle.

Lighting may be placed on a platform replacing seats in the centre of row F.

Those in row AA, particularly seats 12 to 8 and 21 to 27 may experience vertigo peering over the narrow balcony’s edge.

Changes for the current production:
Row A is NOT discounted - only worth a punt if bars and reduced legroom REALLY don't worry you, feels the monkey.

Extreme edges of all rows are the same price as central seats. Extreme edges may be more comfortable at least - though the view isn't as central. Unless comfort is a requirement, the monkey would go central ten seats in row B then C first, then the next four seats in those rows. OR it would look at cheaper central row E and F - in particular taking E before D for the same view at a lower price. A very fair price for these, the monkey feels, for a closer - if less legroom endowed - view.

Slip seats 4 to 23 are on present, with a technical control desk next to 23 and lights in view from seats closer to the stage. Only 7 to 22 are sold. Skip them, as usual. Ones nearest the main seating are not so bad, though.

Reader Comments:
"Circle: The view from the front few rows of the Grand Circle is dizzy."

“Circle: (Alf). Much higher than the Dress...I would only take the first 3 rows of it. Avoid the slips here too if you can."

"AA 2: "Photograph 51" (September 2015). Big thanks for the grand circle end slips recommendation. Super view and absolute bargain at £10."

“AA24 and 25: “Million Dollar Quartet” (Chris B). These seats are heavily discounted (just £10 for million Dollar quartet) And for good reason, they face the stage sideways on and are quite high up. But they are very good value if you are prepared to lean forward for pretty much the whole show. They were perfect for a show like million dollar quartet as its primarily the music that takes centre stage but for a play or musical with an elaborate set, I would recommend you think carefully. I'd say you miss about a third of the stage. There is a cushioned barrier to lean on though, you just have to arrange with the people to your left not to lean too far forward. And worth noting plenty of legroom. However, expect back ache!”

"A 11: "The Cripple of Inishmaan" (May 2013), (Taljaard). Not too high but the rail in front is a tad annoying to start with but I got used to looking below it quite quickly. The Theatre is very well air conditioned so despite it being 30 degrees outside it was comfortable within." 

“A21 and A22: "Calendar Girls" (April 2009). At discount price. As pointed out already there is a safety rail in front of you but for me (at 5ft 2 I could see under it and for my friend at 5ft 8 could see over it – without altering our sitting position and others in the row lent forward). The view was great and the ticket price a bargain, as you could see all the facial expressions... and more to the point didn’t see anything you shouldn’t when the cast went ‘nude’."

"B 5 and 6: (Paul). The seats offered a good view, we could see everything. Although the numbers are 5 and 6 this was on the end of a row - I asked specifically for seats with extra legroom. As it happened, unless I sat in the seat sideways there was no extra room here than any other seat, but it was perfectly adequate. The rail in front was slightly distracting for about the first two minutes but then I didn't notice it."

"B18: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2016). A central seat with an excellent view of the whole stage. I paid just £47 by booking in advance on the theatre's website. Bargain! There is a safety rail in view which is annoying for about three minutes, then, strangely, you just don't see it any more. I imagine that people in Row A leaning forward may cause a problem but nobody actually did lean forward while I was there so I assume the view is just as good from Row A....the trip from the entrance to the Grand Circle down to the seats on Row B was down some extremely steep and scary steps which made me feel a bit strange but, once seated, I was fine."

"B 18: "The Cripple of Inishmaan" (May 2013), (Jude). Quite a central position, although fairly high up. Could see quite clearly, although at times the bar was restricting (but more so for Row A). You did get used to it, and the set was such that you didn't miss anything."

"Half a Sixpence" (November 2017). Got grand circle row C for £12.50 about two hours before the show. View was great!"

"D11 and 12: "Henry V" (November 2013). Great seats and very good value for money."
 
"D20 and 21: I personally think they are JUST fair for money as you can see everything but the corner of the stage. I think the price could be lower. However, the view is acceptable and for a second time to a show worth the money. Otherwise, first timers avoid here because you won't see as much expressions (which are vital for musicals and comedies). There is no legroom, but otherwise seats are comfy. Sound is fine."

"E13 and 14: (Ian Grace). Visibility was very good (we had fairly average sized people in front) but not having anyone sitting behind meant we could also lean forward or shift about without having to worry that we were blocking the view of others behind us. I haven't been to that many London theatres but these seats felt very high up in the building (there are higher!) which could just possibly be an issue for those who suffer from vertigo, especially when standing up getting to some of the seats."

"E 9 and 10: "Calendar Girls" (July 2009), (Jos Hockley). I chose to save money and go for the grand balcony. I have to say they were well worth the money; yes, it's high (but not as high or steep as the Palace Theatre where you need a mountaineering kit), and I didn't need to sit forward in my chair to see the edge of the stage - and I'm only 5'4". We could also perfectly see the expressions on the actresses faces, though if you don't wear glasses 20/20 vision is a must; don't be vain - get the specs out! On such a hot day we were blessed with air-conditioning at it's most effective and it was a perfect temperature but it may be a little too cold on cooler days. The seats comfy and legroom reasonable for a theatre. If I have to make one criticism it would be that from our seats we couldn't see the tops of the first two photos to drop down in the finale - but then we wouldn't have seen them from the back of the stalls either due to the overhang of the balcony above. It's a minor detail that really makes no difference to the enjoyment of the show."

"F17 and 18: "Mrs Henderson Presents" (March 2016). The view was excellent (except for the odd occasion when those on the first couple of rows leaned forward but this didn't happen too often). It would have been nicer to be nearer the front but we had an excellent view, nothing was obscured (and I mean, NOTHING!) and I think we got a great ticket deal for £15 each (thank you, Amazon tickets). There is virtually no leg room but that's just something you have to put up with if you want to sit in a beautiful, old theatre."

“F18 and 19: Provided a very good view (although probably wouldn't be worth it if they were paying full price of £27.50 upwards for them."

“Slips: “Avenue Q” (2007), (Gavin). I bought a £10 ticket at the box office and sat in the Upper Circle slips - view was practically nonexistent, backache severe so probably not even worth a tenner."

“Slips AA2: “Enron” (February 2010). Interesting that the Upper Circle slips have gone up an awful lot in price for "Deathtrap" (August 2010). I'm sure they were £12.50 or so and now they are £19.50. I sat in AA2 for 'Enron' and thought my £10 lastminute ticket was just about fair value. And the woman next to me was not pleased with her seat. (The monkey thinks the reader means the woman was unhappy with the view, rather than the size of any part of her anatomy, of course).

"Slips AA5: "Privates on Parade" (December 2012). Saw this in AWFUL seats at the Noel Coward - AA5 in the grand circle - sold as restricted view but the website says the view is obstructed by the safety bar - NOT ENTIRELY TRUE - actually the angle makes it impossible to see much of the stage - the safety bar is the least of the problems. More of a problem for this production, since a fair proportion of the action seems to happen near the wings (especially stage right).”

“Slips AA7 and 8: Although I'm not really complaining as they were only £5, these seats are not great. If you sit properly, you can't see anything at all, but with leaning forwards you can see a half to two thirds of the stage, although there are some poles in the way but I think you get used to them and sort of stop seeing them. Legroom was very poor though, However, at 7.30pm, nobody else had turned up to sit in the slips, so we moved along to AA 2 and 3. These are much, much better, you can pretty much see all of the stage apart from the extreme left side and back corner, and the legroom was a bit better, especially in AA 2. So you want the £5 tickets I would definitely recommend asking for AA 2 an 3, or 26 and 27 on the other side which I assume have a similar view. These seats are great if you're just looking for something to do of an evening as it's actually cheaper than going to the cinema (and about 1/3 of the price of going to the cinema in Leicester square!), and they're not as bad as the price suggests... they're certainly not 5 times worse than seats in the balcony, but if it's a special treat definitely go for some proper seats."

"Slips AA15: "Deathtrap" (August 2010). You have to do a bit of leaning out but as there is no one behind it's guilt free. Nicely prices at £15 for the previews."

"AA15 and 16: "Peter and Alice" (March 2013). Very good value and although you have to lean forward occasionally it was fine."
 

BALCONY

Layout:
These seats are tucked up high on a shelf directly under the theatre roof.

A centre block, well tiered on steps.

Row A has some “satellite seats” just over the aisle from the main block, between it and the slip seats.

Like the Upper Circle below (yes, the monkey knows how that reads!), slips are available along the walls at the edges of the circle between seating and stage.

Seats here have been renewed...rather comfy.

Legroom:
Acceptable for those up to around 5ft 11 or so in B and E, and probably only slightly cramped for those taller - except in row A where it is cramped for anyone over 5ft 4 or so. The very tallest may still find lack of room a problem and require the stalls instead.

Seats B and C 3 are wider than normal.

Choosing Seats in General:
A distant view is possible from all central seats. The bars at the front of the circle do intrude for everybody, but sitting in row D or E minimises the problem most - D 7 to 22 being optimum, then E 6 to 20. Take D first, then E, C then B at full price. Do be aware that row E backrests are more upright than normal.

Those not requiring legroom and happy to accept bars may find row A also satisfactory - the central ones, not the slips, though. In particular, A 1, 2 and 21 to 25 are cramped for the money. A 1 and 2 are like a sofa split in half and jammed near a wall, the monkey felt.

Row AA slips offer just below fair value. The view is best from seats 1 to 4 and 15 to 18. All will have to lean (which may feel a brave act, given the height) to see that much. Take these only when other seats are unavailable.

General Hazard Notes:
Around 90 feet from the stage - straight down! Not for vertigo sufferers – and that goes double for slip seats.

The climb up the stairs is VERY long. Those not in best health should not buy these seats.

A double height metal bar runs across the circle, this becomes a triple bar at the ends of the aisle and in front of rows A seats 3 and 19.

Row AA are benches, so arrive early to stake your place.

Changes for the current production:
All seats are a single price, £25. Rows D and E are best of the fair value at lowest price, feels the monkey. Take before A to C, it feels. Bit expensive, though, for what you get, it feels. Upper Circle rows E and F are the same price and closer, but with a bit less legroom, it thinks. For this one, it's worth the lower level, as the view of the front of the stage just isn't great in the balcony.

Slips are very cheap, but make them a last pick once all other seats, including upper circle slips for the same price have gone, feels the monkey.
 

Reader Comments:
"Circle: (Alf). Very distant and very high. Especially when much humour is in the expression of the actors. The price seems a bit greedy. HOWEVER, for anyone that likes bit of extra legroom or a wider seat, the first and last seats of the central block (e.g. Row A; seats 3 and 19, Row B; seats 3 and 21 etc) are double width - literally twice as wide as the rest of the seats - they are like sitting on a throne! The one next to them (Row A seats 4 and 18 etc) are also a tad wider than normal."

"Enron" (January 2010) . I would probably want to avoid the Balcony as the set is fairly high."

"B4: "Million Dollar Quartet" (February 2011). Not bad at £5 for previews! Would hesitate to pay anything more though as the view is high and slightly restricted."

"B7 to 10: "A Midsummer Night's Dream (September 2013) (Taljaard). Having booked them before reading other peoples thoughts I was quite concerned. But then pleasantly surprised. Yes you are a bit high up and yes the bar got a bit in the way to begin with but you then of forget it's there. The leg room was good and the seats really comfortable. At £10 each they were well worth it."

"B15 and 16: (Pip). I personally don't see what the problem is. I was dreading sitting up so high from all the reviews, but it really isn't as high at some theatres I've been too. It's also closer to the action then other balconies I've been in. Could see everything; yes the bar got in the way, but the price makes up for that. Legroom is brilliant and the seats are so wide and the best ever. I kept forgetting that they weren't folding ones so had an amusing time thinking the seat would fold as I sat down."

“Row D: (August 2006), (Jan). Not recommended simply because you can hardly see anything from that distance, let alone any expressions on the faces of the actors. The sound was good though which was just as well as there wasn't much to look at. Nice view of the very decorative ceiling though!!! These seats should be free they are so bad. Avoid the upper Balcony like the plague."

"D11: "Half A Sixpence" (November 2016). Have sat in the Noel Coward balcony a few times before so knew the sort of view I would likely to be getting, plus only paid £10 through Get Into London Theatre offer. However at the interval there was a lot of grumbling and some people asking ushers if they could be moved. I could quite agree with them where they had paid face value of £27.50 for tickets not marked restricted view but providing a rather poor experience. It was fine for any full stage ensemble routines, but a large proportion of the show was played by the principals on the enlarged forestage area that has been pushed some way into the auditorium by the revolves. For once people sat in the centre block were looking quite enviously at those in the slips who possibly had a better view of the leads at half the price."

"D23: "Photograph 51" (September 2015). My seat was up in the Gods - D23 in the Balcony for ten pounds. I was expecting the worst after reading reviews online but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the view was for the price. While you're never going to have an outstanding view from a Balcony seat, the seat was far more impressive than some balcony allocations I've had in the past. Faces of the cast are just visible and I didn't feel too disconnected from the action. The safety barrier does obscure a fraction of the stage, especially with the barrier height rising towards the end of the aisle (where I was sat), but it's not too distracting. With the play sold out for the most part, I was very lucky to get my hands on a ticket so affordable at the last minute. I would take this seat again for the price."
 



Notes
Total  886 seats and 21 standing in rear stalls. 

Air-conditioned.

No food except Ice cream and confectionery. Bar snacks also available.

Three bars. Two in the Stalls - one at the back, one on the stairs leading down to stalls, One in the Dress Circle. The stalls bar in 2015 had a "Noel Coward" display including an actual Tony award.

Infrared headset system for the deaf. Occasional signed performances. Guide dog sitter available. Wheelchair access to box M in Dress Circle (2 spaces or 1 plus 1 non-chair escort). A steep portable ramp is needed to gain access via St Martin's Court. An adapted toilet is available next to the cloakroom just past the Royal Circle entrance - with flat access to it. There are 33 steps to the stalls, and exits are by row G (to foyer via steps) or behind row T (to street - via steps). The "registered disabled" concessionary price policy here is generally (though can be subject to change) for a quota of accessible best seats to be made available at the lowest regular price charged. This quota is increased for designated performances such as signed / audio interpreted. Check with the box office helpline at time of booking. Fuller access details 0844 482 5137, www.theatre-access.co.uk. or Artsline on 020 7388 2227, 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.

8 toilets; Stalls 2 gents 1 cubicle in each, 1 ladies 3 cubicles: Foyer 1 ladies 4 cubicles; Upper Circle 1 gents 1 cubicle, 1 ladies 4 cubicles; Balcony 1 gents 1 cubicle.  


 

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. The theatre is to the right (above) the arrow.
Nearest Underground Station Buses Car Park
Nearest Underground Station:
Leicester Square - Northern (black) and Piccadilly (dark blue) lines.

A photographic illustrated version of this route is available by clicking here.

The escalator from the platforms deposits passengers into a circular space with a number of staircases leading to the surface. Beside each staircase is a vast white panel listing the places accessible from that exit. 

Look for the one showing the Noel Coward theatre. It is marked "Charing Cross Road East" and "Cranbourn Street". When you leave the ticket gates, do a 180 degree "U" turn. This exit is hidden behind you, between the gates! Go up the first little staircase. At the top of it, turn right, taking the "Cranbourn Street" exit (to your right, exit number 4). Go up the stairs. In front of you will be Cranbourn Street, with a row of shops. Cross the road to them, and turn to your left. Follow it round and the shop curves into St Martins Lane! The Noel Coward Theatre is ahead of you!

If you take the other staircase at Leicester Square station then at the top, in front of you will be Charing Cross Road. On the opposite corner, notice the Hippodrome Nightclub and a wide pedestrianised street. Turn to your left. Wyndham's theatre is there. Walk all the way across the front of it. At its far corner is St Martin's Court, a wide pedestrian alleyway of small shops and dustbins. Walk down it. You will pass the shared stage door of Wyndham's and Noel Coward theatres (say hi to the cast). At the end of the alleyway, the Noel Coward theatre is on your left.

An American visitor puts it this way: "Exit Leicester Square tube station via the most leftward exit, up the stairs, turn an acute angle left at the top, placing you in an alley with the shared Wyndham/Noel Coward stage doors straight ahead. This alley is L-shaped to the right. Taking that turn, you face two big red phone boxes and, across another alley, J. Sheekeys. Turn left in front of J. Sheekeys, left again at the street, and you are in front of the Noel Coward, having gone round the building back to front. You will have walked the equivalent of just over one block." Well put and great advice. The only warning the monkey would add is that the alley is a dark and unsavoury place at night. The monkey prefers a "street" route itself..

Incidentally, the left hand exits of the Noel Coward auditorium open into this alley. On leaving through this exit, turn right for the underground station.

 

Buses:
24, 29 and 176 stop on Charing Cross Road. Walk to the Wyndham's Theatre. Go down St Martins Court (the alleyway at the right hand side of the building). The Noel Coward theatre is on your left.

 

Car Park:
Newport Place, China Town. On leaving, use Gerard Street to get you onto Shaftesbury Avenue. On Shaftesbury Avenue look to your right. The brown brick building to your right is the Palace Theatre. Don't bother crossing the road, but turn to your right on Shaftesbury Avenue and walk in the direction of it. When you come to the main road intersection in front of Shaftesbury Avenue, cross Charing Cross Road at the traffic lights. Now turn to your right and walk down Charing Cross Road, crossing Litchfield Street as you go.

Next is Newport Street. Cross that too and head on, crossing Cranbourne Street towards Leicester Square Underground Station. Before you reach the station, though, turn left into Cranbourne Street. Follow it round and the shop curves into St Martins Lane! The Noel Coward Theatre is ahead of you!

An alternative car park is Trafalgar Square Spring Gardens, about an equal distance, the monkey feels.

From the car park, turn up the road on the left to bring you on to Trafalgar Square. Face Nelson's Column and cross the road towards it. In front of you is the National Gallery. You require the road to the right side of it - Charing Cross Road. Do not enter the Trafalgar Square area itself, but follow the pavement round towards the right corner of the National Gallery. Continue along so that you pass the National Gallery on your right. At the junction of roads just by this corner of the National Gallery, cross the road. You should have Charing Cross Road to your left and be facing towards the same side that St Martins Church is on. Walk a few steps past the building on your left and see how the road curves round. This is St Martin's Lane. Turn left into it and keep walking up, passing the Duke of York's Theatre on your own side of the road and London Coliseum on the opposite side of the street. Keep walking and the Noel Coward Theatre is beyond the Duke of York's Theatre on your left.

The "Theatreland Parking Scheme" may be available. Call Q-Park car parks on 0870 442 0104 or see http://www.q-park.co.uk for details. At this car park, parking under the "Theatreland Parking Scheme" allows a 50% discount in cost. Spaces CANNOT be reserved at these prices, so choose whether you would prefer to book and pay more, or use this scheme.

If you choose the "Theatreland Parking Scheme", you must get your car park ticket validated at the theatre's box office counter (the theatre attendant will insert the car parking ticket into a small machine which updates the information held on the magnetic strip on the reverse, thus enabling the discount). When you pay using the machines at the car park, 50% will be deducted from the full tariff. You may park for up to 24 hours using this scheme and it is endorsed by the Society of London Theatre.


 

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