Are theatre goers turning away from the expense of the west end or are they just becoming more savvy with their money?
I’ve always been a bit of a detective when it comes to buying theatre tickets as I like to get a good deal. So with premium seats to see The Book of Mormon at over £200 and the upcoming family Christmas show ELF around the same mark, you might think there is no hope… but there is.
Stalls tickets for The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper are going for £108 or £65. Royal Circle tickets are £40-£108 Upper Circle £25-£45 and gallery seats (well benches) for £15. You can see ELF the musical this Christmas in the stalls for between £58.50-£150, £125-£48.50. But is there really much difference between these huge price ranges?
The Book of Mormon have set a new premise for London theatre prices since coming to the West End in 2013 with premium seats up to over £200! Their premium price seats actually vary from £99.75, £127.25, £152.25 and a whopping £202.25. Standard prices vary from £39.75-£77.25.
Go to see The Book of Mormon on a Friday or Saturday and you can pay an extra £25 just for the pleasure of going on those days when buying premium seats. The exact same seats I looked at vary between £127.25 and £152.25 and £77.25 and 99.75 depending on what day you want to go!
Cheaper options still have huge differences. Towards the back of the stalls you can sit on the end of the centre block for £77.25 and then look at the person sat on the end of the aisle next to you who has paid just £49.75. That’s a £27 difference in price – why? because it is technically classed as being a side view and not a centre view (when there really is no difference).
I have friends who say they would never buy anything but the best tickets for the theatre because if they are going to go then they want the best view possible. But can you ever guarantee it will be? No matter how much or how little you pay for a theatre ticket, you are never going to be guaranteed a better view than anyone else. No amount of money is going to stop that 6ft 3″ man from sitting in front of you and blocking your view, or the woman who has decided a beehive was the most appropriate hair style to choose for a night at the theatre.
I’ve sat in the best seats and I’ve sat in the worst seats for a lot of West End shows and yes, the more you pay the better the view should be. However, when looking at a show like Book of Mormon, is a £39.75 ticket really much worse than a £200 ticket? In truth, probably not. But while people keep buying them, you can’t really blame the shows for charging these prices. I know which ones I’d rather buy though!
West End Wilma