Are West End Ticket Prices Ridiculous Or Are We Just Silly For Paying them?

Ben Forster as Buddy and Kimberley Walsh as Jovie in Elf credit Matt CrockettSocial media has gone crazy in the last 24 hours since the full cast was announced for this years family musical Elf, coming to the Dominion Theatre 24 October 2015 – 2 January 2016. The show, which made its debut last Christmas in Dublin will star Ben Forster and Kimberley Walsh. So why the uproar? Because ticket prices for this family show have hit an all time high ranging from £50 to a whopping £240… EACH!

“Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit starring Will Ferrell, ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.”

So who is to blame? Can we really hold these shows accountable for being money hungry and exploiting audiences (4 tickets for a family to see Elf this Christmas could reach almost £1,000)? At the end of the day it’s business. When house prices surge and we find our home has doubled in value, do we consider ourselves greedy by taking thousands of pounds extra from someone? No, because we think if they are prepared to pay it then they think it is worth it and who are we to argue with the suckers!

So with theatre, unfortunately, while there are people in the world who are prepared to pay these ridiculous prices, producers will keep charging them. I don’t agree with the extortionate rates, however I think it’s very easy for the ticket buying public to blame the producers. If we didn’t buy the tickets, the shows wouldn’t succeed and prices would have to be put down.

Maybe this will be the show to make people take a stand. Or maybe it will be a rip roaring box office success like the next most expensive show Book of Mormon (over £200 per ticket) and the producers will be very happy bunnies. But if that happens, the audiences only have themselves to blame, for we are paying the prices they are charging.

West End Wilma
Photo: Matt-Crockett