Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday 5: favourite seats

When you go to the theatre a lot, it's inevitable you will find yourself returning to the same theatres. And when you return to the same theatres a lot, especially the smaller ones, sooner or later you will notice yourself sitting in a seat you've sat in before. And when that happens, you start picking favourites, based on both location and cost. Here are some of mine.

5. National Theatre, Cottesloe - Row T on Level Two
Row T is wonderful. The idea of the Cottesloe is that the staging can be rearranged so the audience is not just sitting in a bank staring at a stage at the end of the room. However, it can be pricey to rejig things so it's in the round or traverse or what-have-you, so 75% of the productions I've seen in the Cottesloe have fallen back on the audience sitting in a bank staring at a stage at the end of the room arrangement. When that happens, go for row T on level two if you can. At the opposite end of the theatre from the stage and with a bar separating it from row S, it is sold at the cheapest price as a restricted view seat. But the Cottesloe is not very large, and the view is not restricted at all. It is a fantastic bargain and one of the best places to sit.

4. Donmar Warehouse - B41 in the Circle
I'm not very good at booking in advance for the Donmar Warehouse. I end up dayseating a lot. I am however very good at dayseating, so I usually end up in the same seat each time. It may not be the cheapest seat in the house, it may not have the best view, but B41 in the circle is where I have spent the most time, and so B41 in the circle is my favourite.

3. Almeida - F12 in the Stalls
The Almeida is one of those theatres that has pillars dotted throughout the stalls, presumably to help hold the circle up. If you're looking for a bargain, nab one of the seats directly behind a pillar. The pillars aren't very wide, and the seats only cost £8. And if you're lucky enough to be in F12 (and the same very possibly goes for F17), there's a good chance the pillar won't even be between you and the stage.

2. Old Vic - C26 in the Dress Circle
C26 (and this all also applies to C11) in the dress circle is magnificent. Again, it's a behind-a-pillar seat, but again, the pillars are not very wide. The pillar will definitely be between you and the stage, but consider this: for Cause Célèbre on a Saturday evening in April, C26 costs £15. C27 costs £38.50, and C25 costs £48.50. For Richard III on a Saturday evening in July, the latter two go up to £42.50 and £52.50 respectively, and yet C26 remains £15. It's almost worth having a pillar in your face solely to have the "so how much did your ticket cost then?" conversation with your neighbours!

1. Shakespeare's Globe - no seat!
Come on, who even sits at the Globe? Do you really want to spend up to £37.50 to sit on a hard uncomfortable bench for three hours? With an additional £3 cushion hire fee? Suck it up, hand over your fiver, and stand in the yard with the rest of the plebs. You're closer, you're more involved, you've saved more, you can lean on the stage if you need to (and get in early enough), and you can sit down at the interval. If my dodgy knee can stand two shows at three hours each in one day in the yard at the Globe, then surely you can stand the occasional show without a seat!

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