Monday, 16 December 2013

Duchess Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden


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Facilities

  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 495, and seating is split into stalls and dress circle.  The rear stalls are separated right and left by an aisle down the middle, but at the font the rows become continuous. The stalls are particularly narrow, meaning wide angle viewing at ends of rows is less of a problem than in other theatres. The dress circle seats are arranged in one block, with aisles at either side.

Theatre History

The Duchess Theatre is a young theatre in the West End, situated near Aldwych. It was designed by Ewan Barr, and built for Arthur Gibbons in 1929. The interior decoration was introduced 5 years later, under the supervision of Mary Wyndham Lewis, wife of playwright J. B. Priestley. In the early years, Priestly had many connections with the theatre: a number of his plays including Laburnum Grove, The Linden Tree, Eden End, were staged there, and in 1934 he joined the management team. The theatre is best known for its drama.

Harold Pinter’s first West End success, The Caretaker, took place at the Duchess Theatre in 1960, with Donald Pleasance and Alan Bates. Perhaps most excitingly, the forerunner to the famous Michael Cain movie, Alfie, was a play of the same name by Bill Naughton staged at the Duchess Theatre in 1962. In 2005, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the Duchess Theatre, along with the Apollo, the Lyric and the Garrick, forming Nimax Theatres.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Theatre Royal Haymarket London

Theatre Address & Map

8 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT
Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus


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Facilities

  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 888, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, upper circle and gallery.  The stalls have a fair rake. Stalls boxes and dress circle boxes offer a fair view of the stage, with only a small amount not visible. The grand circle has a steep rake, making up for distance from the stage. The gallery is set behind the upper circle, and quite high up. Its seats are benches rather than individual seats.

Theatre History

There has been a theatre on the site of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket since 1720. The first theatre was called the Little Theatre, Haymarket, built by carpenter John Potter. Due to the Patent Theatres act, Potter was unable to run the theatre, leasing it to anyone who could fill it. Henry Fielding was most successful, with his company of ‘Mogul’s Comedians’. In 1766, Samuel Foote was able to finally acquire a patent for the theatre, as a consolation for losing his leg during an unfortunate stage accident for which Lord Mexborough felt responsible. With this patent, many construction enhancements finally took place. The second theatre on the site was built slightly south of the first, designed by architect John Nash. It was named the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It was in this theatre that the first matinee performance in London was staged, which has now become a valuable feature of West End theatre.

The exterior’s famous pillars make a grand, imposing affair, and remain today. However, the interior was not as well liked, and has been converted many times. In 1879, design work for C. J. Phipps, one of the most celebrated architects of the time, was commissioned by the Bancrofts, who had taken over management after leaving the nearby Prince of Wales Theatre. At the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, he made the first totally enclosed proscenium stage, and replaced the standing pit with stalls.  Under the management of Beerbohm Tree in 1895, the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, hosted premieres of Oscar Wilde’s plays A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband.

In the 20th and 21st century, as in the past, the theatre is best known for its drama, showing only occasional short-running musicals, which do include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Acorn Antiques the Musical. The Theatre Royal, Haymarket has seen notable productions of plays by Noel Coward, Tennessee Williams, Tom Stoppard and George Bernard Shaw, and hosted famous names such as Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench, David Suchet, and on a number of occasions Ralph Fiennes.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Hurly Burly Show @ Duchess Theatre

The Hurly Burly Show

Duchess Theatre

Evening performance tickets

(Looks like we couldn't get enough of this cheeky show!)

the-hurly-burly-show-ticket
Copyright TopLondonShows

the-hurly-burly-show-tickets
Copyright TopLondonShows

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane London

Theatre Address & Map

Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden



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Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible


Seating Description

The auditorium seats approximately 2,220, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, upper circle and the balcony. The stage is low, so the front row day seats in the stalls are recommended as good value for money. In general, this theatre suffers from a low rake at all tiers, making seats at the back of all levels too low for comfort. Seats at the sides of the upper circle and the balcony and the back of the balcony have partially obstructed viewing angles.

Bar Facilities

There are bars at foyer, stalls and dress circle level. You can expect to pay £.4.50 for beer and wine, or £2.00 for soft drinks. Ice cream, sold in in the auditorium during the interval, is £3.20.

Theatre History

A theatre has been located on the current site of The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane since 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London. The initial Theatre Royal was built in the early years of the Restoration, at the behest of Thomas Killigrew, named ‘The Theatre Royal in Bridges Street’. It burned down in 1672, but Killigrew rebuilt a design by Christopher Wren, renamed as the ‘Theatre Royal, Drury Lane’. This building lasted an epic 120 years, under a number of resident directors including the 18th century playwright Richard Brindsey Sheridan. The scale of Sheridan’s vision was such that in 1791, he demolished the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, and replaced it with a much larger theatre on the same site. However, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane was ill-fated, because just 15 years later, despite claims of a ‘fireproof theatre’ another of the Theatre Royals fell prematurely, due to fire.

Today’s theatre opened in 1812, making it the longest standing of all the four Drury Lane theatres. Prominent runs include My Fair Lady, which opened on the boards of the Theatre Royal in 1958, and in 1989 Miss Saigon started a run that would last 10 years. One of the quaint traditions of the Theatre Royal, is that on the 12th Night of each year, a ‘Baddley’ cake is baked to remember Robert Baddley, who bequeathed money to the theatre on his death during a run of Sheridan’s play, School for Scandal in 1794.




Saturday, 7 December 2013

Garrick Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH
Nearest tube station: Leicester Square


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Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible


Seating Description

The theatre seats 658, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle and upper circle. The original balcony made the seating capacity up to 800, but it has been closed. Since it is far back, it does not obstruct any view from the upper circle. The best seats in the stalls are at least several rows back from the front. Boxes at all levels offer fair viewing.

Theatre History

The Garrick Theatre was commissioned by Gilbert, half of the famous duo, Gilbert and Sullivan, composers of light opera. It was mainly designed by Walter Emden, and opened in 1889.  Theatre architect expert, C. J. Phipps, who has a number of West End theatres to his name, was also consulted to overcome such obstacles as an underground river, with planning a build on such a difficult site. In the early days, the theatre was famous for receiving comedies and melodrama, but it now plays a wide range of theatrical genres. Early productions at the Garrick Theatre include The Wedding Guest, by J. M. Barrie, and The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith by Pinero. The theatre has staged a number of successful adaptations to stage including The Water Babies, based on a book by Charles Kinglsey, and more recently, Brighton Rock, from a book by Graham Green.

In 1968, a redevelopment of Covent Garden saw the Garrick Theatre, along with other nearby theatres, Vaudeville Theatre, Adelphi Theatre, Lyceum Theatre and Duchess Theatre, under threat. However, a campaign to restrict the redevelopment saw all of these theatres saved. There have been refurbishment projects on the interiors and exteriors of the Garrick Theatre to restore the original features of the building. More recent performances include an award-winning 1995 production of An Inspector Calls, and comedy from Ricky Gervais.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Her Majesty's Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

57 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4QL
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross


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Facilities

  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 1216, and seating is split into stalls, royal circle, grand circle and balcony. From the rear of the stalls and royal circle, a view of the top of the stage is restricted by the overhang. A metal bar runs along the front of the grand circle, obscuring the view from the front seats. The balcony is very far back from the stage; viewing and sound quality is poor, especially from the back.

Theatre History

There has been a theatre on the current site of Her Majesty’s Theatre since 1705. The original was established by architect and playwright John Vanbrugh. Since drama was prohibited by law in all but two London theatres, it began life as an opera house, playing host to premieres of a large number of operas. The theatre has always been named after the monarch, though its name changes when a monarch of the opposite sex takes the throne. The present building of Her Majesty’s Theatre was built in 1897, designed by C. J. Phipps. The owner, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, established the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

In the early 20th century, as well as Shakespeare, Tree produced premieres of plays by famous writers including Noel Coward, George Bernard Shaw and J. B. Priestley. In the age of the musical, Her Majesty’s Theatre is particularly useful to its wide stage which will hold a large chorus. It has been host to two record-breakingly long theatre runs, Chu Chin Chow and The Phantom of the Opera.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

London Palladium

Theatre Address & Map

8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF
Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus

Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible


Seating Description

The massive London Palladium seats 2286, and seating is split into stalls, royal circle and upper circle. The stage is high and therefore from the front rows of the stalls the back is outside the view of children and short adults. Further back in the stalls, the rake is steep, which compensates the far distance from the stage.

In general, due to the size of the theatre, the back of any tier will feel far way, but particularly the upper circle. A bar runs along the front of the upper circle, and rows A and B are designated restricted viewing because of it.

Theatre History

The site of the London Palladium was once home to Hengler’s Grand Cirque and the National Ice Skating Palace. The London Palladium, as it today stands, was designed by Frank Matcham, and it opened in 1910. It is best known for its variety performances, which were a regular feature since its opening. The Boxing Day opening night hosted the first ‘grand variety bill’, and The Royal Variety Performance and Sunday Night at the London Palladium, continued the variety tradition. Sunday Night at the London Palladium was hosted in the 1950s by a young Bruce Forsyth, who still presents into the 21st century.

Annual pantomimes attracted the biggest stars of the day, including Cliff Richard and the Shadows in 1966 and 1968. From this year, The London Palladium began to host a string of musicals, including The King and I (1979), Singing in the Rain (1989), and Jason Donovan and Philip Schofield run of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat (1991).

The London Palladium became a part of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in 2000. In 2002, the famous revolving stage was removed to make way for a massive flying car, to form the centrepiece of the set for the world premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, reviving the 1968 film.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Prince of Wales Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

31 Coventry Street, London, W1D 6AS
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus



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Facilities

  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 1618, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle and grand circle. The front row of both the dress and grand circle may have restricted viewing due to a hand rail. Legroom in the dress circle is generally restricted. There are ‘loges’ and slip seats at dress circle level.

The loges are situated on projections from the front of the dress circle, five sets of short, enclosed rows. View from these is side-on, with obstructing safety bars for many. In the grand circle, the side blocks offer somewhat limited viewing angles.

Bar Facilities

There are two licensed bars, one at stalls and one at dress circle level. The tariff is the same as all Delfont Makintosh theatres, which is better value than other West End venues. Soft drinks are from £1.50 and beer and wine is from £4.50.

Theatre History

The Prince of Wales Theatre was commissioned by Edgar Bruce in 1883, originally called The Prince’s Theatre. It was deigned by C. J. Phipps, who had previously designed a number of West End theatres. The facade and decor were flowery, the foyer built in Moorish design, complete with fountain and grotto, and ornamental rocks and ferns. The orange and terracotta colour scheme for the seating has been restored to the upholstery today. In its early days, the theatre helped to popularise the art of mime in respectful theatre, which had previously been confined to circuses and pantomime.

In the 1930s and early ‘40s, the Prince of Wales Theatre became known for its gasp-making, blush-making Folies. According to the Daily Mail, it specialised in the show of the ‘tired business man’. These were incredibly popular. At their height, they ran continuously from 2pm to midnight, showing four times a day. In 1948, Mae West was a hit with Diamond Lil, and in the ‘50s, the Prince of Wales Theatre played variety performances with stars such as Bob Hope, Gracie Fields and Benny Hill.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love opened in 1989, playing to over 1 million people. Other musicals include West Side Story, Rent, and the British premiere of The Fully Monty. In 2003, Delfont Makintosh Group gave the theatre a £7.5 million refurbishment, reopening with a Gala performance of Mamma Mia!, attended by the Prince of Wales.


Friday, 29 November 2013
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Apollo Victoria Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LG
Nearest tube station: Victoria 


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Facilities


  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre has a large capacity of 2,208 and seating is split into stalls and circle. This is a very large theatre, and has a range of seating options to match. The front rows of the circle and the centre of the stalls are probably the best in the house, particularly in the centre, but the rear block of the circle is very far away from the stage.

Bar Facilities

There are two bars, the American Airlines Bar below stall level, and one more at upper circle level. Fizzy drinks are £2.20, a glass of wine is £4.50, and beer £4+.

Theatre History

The Apollo Victoria Theatre originally functioned as a cinema, named the New Victoria Cinema. It was an architectural masterpiece, built 1930, in one of the finest examples of art deco in the country. Some of the sea-life motifs which originally adorned the auditorium walls can still be seen today. Due to difficult competition The New Victoria Cinema was forced to close in 1976, and remained closed for 5 years. During the interim it was bought by Apollo Lesuire Ltd. by whom it was re-branded as the Apollo Victoria Theatre. In 1981, Shirley Bassey sang at the opening night of the new venue.

In 1984, beginning an amazing eighteen year stint, The Apollo Victoria Theatre hosted Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Starlight Express, where the whole stage, and much of the auditorium, was made into a roller-skating arena on multiple levels. When the run came to a close the auditorium was extended once more, to hold over 2000.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lyric Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES


Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 924, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, upper circle and balcony. Pillars can obscure the view of some seats in all tiers. The sides of the balcony and parts of the upper circle are classed as restricted view.

Theatre History

The Lyric Theatre is the oldest theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, having been built in 1888.  It was designed by C. J. Phipps, as a home for operetta for Henry J Leslie. The design retained an original 1767 house front at the rear of the theatre, which is still in place today. Comic operas the theatre hosted include Mountebanks (1892) and Dorothy (1888), alongside the more serious La Dame Aux Camelias (1893).  At the beginning of the 20th century, the Lyric Theatre turned to hosting plays, including Robin Hood (1906), The Chocolate Soldier (1910), by George Bernard Shaw, and A Reunion in Vienna (1934), starring Laurence Olivier and directed by Noel Coward.

In 1933, Thomas Bostock took over as manager, and the Lyric Theatre was entirely redecorated, including a total refurbishment of the foyer and bars. The facade has been restored more recently, in 1994. Musicals have run at the Lyric Theatre throughout the 20th century. They include early an example, Girl in a Taxi (1911), and more recently the original Blood Brothers (1983), by Willie Russell, and a revival of the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1995).  In 2005, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer purchased the Lyric Theatre, along with the Apollo, the Duchess and the Garrick, forming Nimax Theatres.

Thursday, 21 November 2013
Monday, 18 November 2013

Palace Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

109-113 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5AY
Nearest tube station: Leicester Square

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Prince Edward Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

28 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 4HS


Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible


Seating Description

The theatre seats 1618, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle and grand circle. The front row of both the dress and grand circle may have restricted viewing due to a hand rail. Legroom in the dress circle is generally restricted. There are ‘loges’ and slip seats at dress circle level.

The loges are situated on projections from the front of the dress circle, five sets of short, enclosed rows. View from these is side-on, with obstructing safety bars for many. In the grand circle, the side blocks offer somewhat limited viewing angles.

Bar Facilities

The Prince Edward Theatre has five licensed bars, one at street level, two at the stalls level, one selling soft drinks only, and one each at dress circle and grand circle level. The tariff is the same as all Delfont Makintosh theatres, which is better value than other West End venues. Soft drinks are from £1.50 and beer and wine is from £4.50.

Theatre History

The Prince Edward Theatre was designed by Edward A. Stone, with interior by Frenchmen Marc Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet. It opened in 1930, named after Prince Edward, then Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII, after abdicating to his brother George VI, Duke of Windsor). Shortly after opening, the Prince Edward Theatre was renamed the London Casino, where it was home to dance and caberet performances.  In the war, stage alterations were undertaken by Thomas Braddock, reopening the venue as the Queensbury Services Club. During this time, shows were broadcast on the BBC for the benefit of the servicemen. After the war, it was reconverted into a theatre, the London Casino, and in the fifties, a cinema screen was installed. The venue became known as the Casino Cinerama Theatre.

In 1978, it was reconverted to its first function, as a theatre for shows and plays. The name the Prince Edward Theatre was reinstated. Since renovations increasing the size of the stage in 1992/3, making it a suitable venue for larger scale production, the theatre has been home to musicals including the ABBA musical, Mamma Mia, and Mary Poppins. The Prince Edward Theatre is currently owned by the Delfont Makintosh Group.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Vaudeville Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

404 Strand, London WC2R 0NH
Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross


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Facilities


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible


Seating Description

The theatre seats 690, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle and upper circle. Seats in all levels are arranged in a single block. The rake of the stalls is good, allowing an intimate feel, since theatre is small, and a clear view from all seats. The front rows of the dress circle and the central columns of the upper circle have the best view.

Theatre History

The Vaudeville Theatre is third building to have been built on this site on the Strand. The first of the three opened in 1870, designed by prolific architect of the time, C. J. Phipps. The auditorium was a horseshoe built behind two houses on the Strand, which left little room for a foyer or behind the scene areas. By 1889, these houses had been demolished, making room for an extension of the guest facilities. In 1891, the theatre was sold to the Gatti family, who purchased to avoid disputes over noise coming from their nearby electricity generating facility. The Gatti family were very successful managers of the Vaudeville Theatre, owning all the way up until 1969. In 1925, the theatre was reconstructed, including changing the horseshoe shaped auditorium to the rectangular shape which is in use today. It reopened in 1926, with a revue by Archie de Bear, famous because the final rehearsal was broadcast on the BBC.

A proposed development of Covent Garden saw the Vaudeville Theatre under threat along with other nearby theatres including the Duchess Theatre and the Lyceum Theatre. In 1969, the Gatti family finally sold their interest in the theatre to new manager Peter Saunders. He had the Vaudeville Theatre redeveloped, including making the balcony an extension of the bar. In recent years, the Vaudeville Theatre has hosted musicals including prize-winning Kat and the Kings (1998), in which, in a strange case, the whole cast won the Best Actor Olivier Award. Madame Melville (2000) saw the return to acting of Home Alone star Macauley Culkin. The longest running show has been Stomp, which ran from 2002 to 2007.

Which are Better? Broadway or West End Shows?

Don’t get us wrong, we have a lot of original London musicals to be proud of, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia – there are loads. It still doesn’t stop us getting jealous of those Americans who can claim some of the best musicals as their own! We’ve put together a few musical battles to compare their success to determine which is better, the West End or Broadway!

Hairspray (US) vs. Hair (UK)

It’s the battle of the hippie hair and the beehive!

Hairspray

  • Debuted in New York in 2002 and closed in 2009
  • In the West End it was enjoyed by audiences for just 2 and a half years
  • Winner of 8 Tonys and 4 Laurence Olivier Awards out of 11 nominations which broke the record!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Phoenix Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP
Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road


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Facilities 

  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The theatre seats 1012, and seating is split into upper circle, dress circle and stalls. There is a barrier running across the front of the dress and upper circles, (higher near the aisles) which may obstruct viewing from the front row. A good rake in the upper circle ensures a good view from the back, even if they feel far away.

Theatre History

The Phoenix theatre opened in 1930, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, Bertie Crew and Cecil Masey. A change in ownership in 1966, lead to a refurbishment which included the construction of the Noel Coward bar in the foyer, which Coward himself opened. Noel Coward had a strong association with the Phoenix Theatre. He appeared at its opening, in his own play Private Lives. He has also appeared in Tonight at 8.30  alongside Gertrude Lawrence, and Quadrille, which opened just days after Lawrence’s death.

The Phoenix Theatre has hosted successful plays such as John Gielgud’s Love for Love, and a musical version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1968). The ‘80s and ‘90s saw award-winning musicals, and a successful Shakespeare season at The Phoenix Theatre. The longest running show at the Phoenix was Blood Brothers, which opened in 1991 and closed in 2012, transferring from a long and successful run at the Albery Theatre.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Piccadilly Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

16 Denman Street, London, W1D 7DY
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus


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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Dominion Theatre London

Theatre Address & Map

268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AQ
Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court



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Sunday, 27 October 2013
Friday, 25 October 2013
Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Abigail's Party @ Wyndhams Theatre


Abigail's Party

Wyndhams Theatre

Matinee ticket 

abigails-party-play-ticket
Copyright TopLondonShows

Theatre Ticket Stubs Collection

We have been collecting a fair amount ticket stubs over time. So far they were stuffed into a drawer without much thought, but we thought it would be interesting to just put them out there. We know of people with great stub collections, so ours is very humble in comparison.

If you also have a bunch of tickets stacked somewhere, why not share them with us so they can see the light of day? We will publish them with your name if you wish.

So here we go! The first ticket stub is for Abigail's Party...


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

List of West End Theatres

We are going to start a new series where we post information about theatres in the West End.

"Theatreland", London's main theatre district, contains approximately 40 venues and is located in the heart of London's West End. The area is surrounded by Regent Street to the west, Kingsway to the east, Oxford Street to the north and The Strand to the south. Drury Lane, Shaftesbury Avenue, and The Strand have multiple theatres on them. London also has many smaller theatres, both around the West End and its periphery.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

One Man Two Guvnors Review

one-man-two-guvnors-play-londonOne Man, Two Guvnors is a brilliantly executed, belly laugh of a show! What struck us before the show had even begun was the range of ages in the audience. There were elderly couple, teenagers and even a few little ones, (although the content was a little racey, so not recommended.)  This just goes to show how this play has such widespread appeal, thanks to James Corden’s presence in the first West End run.

Set in Brighton in the 1960s, we meet Francis and follow him as he juggles the difficult job of having two guvnors. His confusion builds as he learns that the two bosses are arch enemies and the jobs become even more difficult! The plot is full of twists and turns that keep the audience guessing as well as keeping up with the energy of the actors.

Francis, played by Owain Arthur, has great rapport with the audience, even when at times it bordered on pantomime. His bouncy, energetic nature is maintained throughout his whole performance, and has a good balance of slapstick, wit and comedic timing.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Singin' in the Rain Review

Chirpy and cheerful, Singin’ In The Rain is the perfect antidote to any rainy day in London. The show captures the golden age of Hollywood and is sure to be around for a long time.

Set in Hollywood, 1927, the show revolves around the made-up studio ‘Monumental Pictures’ and its transition from silent movies to ‘talkies’. Talking pictures become a problem for infamous onscreen couple Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, who unfortunately has a very squeaky, unbearable voice. Don meets aspiring stage actress Kathy who ends up secretly dubbing Lina’s voice to save the sinking ship that is Monumental Pictures’ first talking picture.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Theatre Blogs of Note… WebCowGirl!

We love the theatre blog ‘Life In The Cheap Seats’, written by WebCowGirl.  
Who and what?
She’s an American living in London, and insists on writing about the ‘theater’ rather than the ‘theatre’.
Her blog has lots of variety in terms of what she reviews, from dance, through film to musicals, but she does stick entirely to reviews. There’s a lot of theatre in there, and its of all different kinds. You name it, she’ll watch it, and she isn’t afraid to say if she has preconceptions or surprises either.
Why do we like it?
Reviews are never too long, never boring, and generally very witty. They have the right amount of personality, just a hint of context or anecdote, and a good idea of the kinds of audience who would like the shows she reviews.
Posts of Note
  • The great: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – National Theatre
  • The mini review (when she doesn’t have much time!): Henry V – Propeller at Hampstead Theatre
  • And a ballet: Review – Metamorphosis Titian 2012 – Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House
WebCowGirl’s blog: Life in the Cheap Seats

The Phantom of the Opera - Our Reader's Review

Today we want to share one of our readers’ reviews for the musical The Phantom of the Opera. Thank you Laura for taking the time to share your experience with other theatre lovers!!

The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre, London


“There are lots of good things about having a sister, but maybe the best one is that there’s nobody else in the world who would text me on a Wednesday afternoon to say “I want to see Phantom tonight. Are you coming? I’m paying.”

I’d seen it twice before (as had she: in fact, I’ve only ever been to see it with her, at her instigation), but the last time was a while ago and it turned out I’d forgotten quite a lot of it, which was a pleasant surprise – although the bits I remembered were the best bits, which are still the best bits even when you know what’s going to happen.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Woman in Black – Our Reader's Review

Our reader, Kylie, went to see The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre. Check out what she thought!
The Woman in Black, currently playing in London’s Fortune Theatre achieves what so many big budget Hollywood productions fail to achieve. With two men, two chairs and a wicker basket, the Woman in Black takes the audience through an increasingly unnerving exploration of a truly frightening tale. The story begins with Arthur Kipps, an aging lawyer (played by Ken Drury) with a story to tell. He enlists the help of a young actor (played by Richard Best) in the hopes that his assistance will enable him to learn the art of engaging story telling, and that once this awful story is told he will be free of it.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Theatre Blogs of Note… The Hutton Inquiry!

We love the theatre blog ‘The Hutton Inquiry’, written by Dan Hutton!  
Who and what?
He’s a student at Warwick University, big into drama there, and reviews shows from all over the country.
Dan reviews mainly drama, with some musicals and festivals thrown in for good measure. Playwrights such as Shakespeare, Shaw and Coward pepper his blog, but there are many new writers there too, writing for both large and small venues.
Why do we like it?
Dan is provocative and truthful without being overly harsh or pompous. He tells it as he sees it in the most accessible way possible. For the record, we often don’t agree with him, but he always makes clear the grounds on which he comes to an educated conclusion. Go to Dan for open, intelligent analysis and logical, thought-provoking writing.
Posts of Note
Lots of stuff about the Fringe… And then:
  • The big name: ‘Henry V’ at Shakespeare’s Globe
  • The West End: ‘Democracy’ by Michael Frayn
  • And a festival: Latitude 2012
Dan Hutton’s blog: The Hutton Inquiry
Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cheap Theatre Tips: Day Seats in London’s West End

Day Seats are a great way to save money on the theatre if you have the time to queue up.
What are Day Seats?
Most theatres showing big demand musicals keep reserved a number of seats, often the front row of the stalls*, for box-office purchase on the day of performance.
*these seats can be a great view, or restricted, depending on the venue. It is best to check with the theatre box office.
How Can I Get Them?
Tickets normally go on sale at box office opening, 10am, on a first come first served basis. They are most often priced at £25, though it does vary. They are usually two tickets per person, sometimes just one.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Shrek the Musical Review

It seems all the latest musicals have cinematic roots. It was only a matter of time before the four part film franchise, Shrek, joined the growing list. We had high hopes for it; there is no doubt that the first two films in the series are superb, full of jokes for the little ones, witticisms for the parents, and an unlikely romance that will make you go all fuzzy inside, without being sickening or sentimental.

shrek-the-musical-london
In the main, this has transposed well to the West End Stage. The fart jokes, larger-than-life costumes, and stylised set was in keeping with the look and tone of the animated films. The book by David Lindsay-Abaire includes all the best jokes of the film. No Shrek musical would have been complete without the ‘Ogres are like onions’ exchange and ‘You have slain the dragon?’; ‘Its on my To Do list!’

Unfortunately, we also think no Shrek musical would be complete without someone to equal Eddie Murphy, as Shrek’s talking sidekick, Donkey. Richard Blackwood delivers the same lines with tart humour. Though they earn a giggle, we can’t help thinking of the simultaneous roar and pathos with which Eddie Murphy’s Donkey was greeted in the cinema. On the other hand, Nigel Lindsay equals the superb Mike Myers as Shrek, spot on with the ogre’s gallows humour.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Lion King Director, Julie Taymor – An Inside Look

Julie Taymor is  best known as the acclaimed artistic director of the Lion King musical. She is mastermind behind the incredible designs and awesome spectacle. Taymor brings her artistic flair to everything she does. With training and research in dance, puppetry, mask and costume, design aspects infiltrate all areas of her art. Take a look at this selection of projects over the years to see the range of work she has done.
1992 to 1993 – Opera
In the early nineties, Taymor focused on directing opera. After visits to the opera, she felt she could better picture the scenes if she closed her eyes and imagined them. She brought imagery and colour, to productions of Salome, Johann Strauss’ opera based on the Oscar WIlde play, Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Ivor Stravinksy’s Oedipus Rex.
1997 – The Lion King
In 1997, Taymor became a household name with her hit production, The Lion King musical, debuted in the West End, but is now on Broadway and played worldwide. The Lion King features large scale design depicting the African savannah through puppets, costume and set. The technology and art of mime and puppetry came originally from her stay in Paris, at Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq, and complemented later by a course from The American Society for Eastern Arts. Such skills influence not only the Lion King show, but much of her work.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Insight into Industry: Musical Actor, Dan Baker

For our insight into the stage industry, we spoke to Dan Baker – a musical actor, playing ‘Costas’ in Mamma Mia!  Tweet Dan at @dan_baker86.
How and why did you get into musical theatre?
At 17 I attended a dance class with a mate as a dare and not one to give up on a challenge, I carried on. Enjoying it more and more, learning to sing and exploring  all different aspects of the industry – it became more than just a hobby.
What is a rehearsal schedule for a show like?
Rehearsing for Mamma Mia was very intense – the first week we learnt all the music for the show and by week 2 were completely ‘off the book’. The week after we would start in the morning with a long physical and vocal warm up then moving onto learning all the dance routines and scenes.
Dream role?
My dream originally was to make it to the West End  - after achieving this I wouldn’t say I had a specific dream role but I would like to be in Wicked, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story.
Morgan James has been in the news recently for trashing another show on twitter.  Do you support actors being super-critical in public about other shows?
I haven’t heard much about Morgan James trashing another show on Twitter.  As much as I support social networking as a means to get your name out there and gain ‘followers’, I think if you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t bother saying it!  If you feel compelled to say something, say it in the right way and to the right person!
A day in you life during live shows
My fiancé and I have recently had a baby so I spend my days during the week with them as much as possible and then go off to work in the evening at Mamma Mia!  - I have singing lessons every two weeks and also try and attend class whenever I can, but Friday and Saturday we have double shows so we have to be in most of the day.
What do you think of the price of West End show tickets?
I think ticket prices are a little bit overpriced in the West End – especially as we want to encourage more and more people to visit the theatre more often however I understand it is a business like anything else and profit has to be made because if it wasn’t we wouldn’t get money for new shows.
Which stage or musical director would you most like to work with?
I’m very much open to working with as many directors and choreographers as possible as I want to learn and gain as much experience as I can. The experience I’ve had and gained so far in this industry has been amazing however I would like to work with Trevor Nunn, Nikolai Foster, Stephen Mear, Andrew Wright to name but a few.
Sunday, 20 January 2013

Our Essential Guide to Key Theatre Terms

Here is our last instalment from our series Theatre GuidesThis week is our mini dictionary of some key theatre terms we think you might find useful!

Foyer – The main entrance to the theatre, where the box office, and sometimes a bar, are situated.  It is usually at street level, and can vary in size.  If it is not at street level, there is usually disabled access elsewhere. Call the theatre ahead for details or take a look at our guide to theatre accessibility.
Box Office – The counter where you can collect prepaid tickets, and buy tickets for today’s performance, or up and coming performances. Usually open about 2 hrs before a performance is scheduled to begin.
Auditorium – The main seating area of the theatre.  Usually split into 2 or 3 levels.

Stalls – 
The stage level seating area, sloping upwards towards the rear of the seating. Can be at street level, or underground.  There is premium viewing in this area, particularly in the centre.
Thursday, 17 January 2013

Our Top 5 Up & Coming West End Actors

We’ve picked the top 5 up and coming fresh, new faces who are making their way to the West End stage! Some already have a CV that any actor would be proud of!
Jonathan BaileyAt only 23, Jonathan Bailey is well on his way to becoming a big star. Currently starring in South Downs, Jonathan is no stranger to the stage. He has already played Prince Arthur in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Arthur and has been in hit Channel 4 comedy series ‘Campus’. Jonathan has a pretty impressive CV for someone so young, he is sure to be destined for great things! We wonder what we will see him in next…
Follow him on Twitter @Jonny__Bailey
Kyle Soller Kyle is an American actor, now based in London after training at RADA. He made his theatre debut in 2008 in The Beautiful People and has since gone on to play Tom Ripley in The talented Mr. Ripley and is currently in Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Apollo Theatre. He also won Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2011.
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Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Essential Theatre Guides

We want you to have an easy ticket-buying experience, an enjoyable theatre trip, and that you get the best tickets you can for your money. While we can’t guarantee the show you see will be great, we can make sure that your trip runs smoothly!
This series of theatre guides will teach you all you need to know about theatre in the UK, to make your experience an enjoyable one: tickets, seats, accessibility, convention and conduct… the list goes on.
This week is our last guide in the series! We are bringing you our Key Theatre Terms Guide, a mini dictionary of all the key terms you might come across during your theatre visit, so we hope they will help!
We hope you have enjoyed reading our hints and tips about everything to do with London Theatre! If you ever have any questions, you can contact us through our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages

The Essential Theatre Buying Guides


2 – Seat Choosing Guide