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

THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE

  


CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
(musical)
Audio-Described performance: 21st November 2014 at 7.30pm (touch tour 6pm)
Captioned performances: 19th November 2014 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Signed performance: 7th November 2014 at 2.30pm

When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors, and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.

Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes.

Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the captivating, almost 50 year old, original story is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, with a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig, set and costume designs by Mark Thompson and choreography by Peter Darling.

Producers Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick are pleased to confirm that from 19th May 2014, Barry James will play the role of Grandpa Joe.

(pictured above, photo credit: Marcus Dawes-REX), Alex Jennings will play Willy Wonka.

Josefina Gabrielle will play Mrs Teavee. Richard Dempsey and Kirsty Malpass will play Charlie’s parents Mr and Mrs Bucket. Other cast members include Clive Carter (Mr Salt), Jasna Ivir (Mrs Gloop), Paul J Medford (Mr Beauregarde), Billy Boyle (Grandpa George), Roni Page (Grandma Josephine) and Myra Sands (Grandma Georgina) will all remain in the cast. New ensemble members include: Dan Cooke, Divine Cresswell, Connor Dowling, Gemma Fuller, Robert Jones, Matthew Rowland, Rebecca Seale, Gregory Sims, Paulo Teixeira and Laura Tyrer.
 

First Anniversary Video, June 2014:
 


September 2014 was a month to remember for the show. In the month that sees the book mark its 50th anniversary, and Roald Dahl Day celebrate Dahl’s work, life and legacy, the production has sold its one millionth ticket, the show extended booking to October 2015.

As part of the month’s celebrations, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will host Puffin Virtually Live on Monday 15th September. Puffin Virtually Live is a national live-streamed event for schoolchildren which will see more than half a million kids across the country join in a sing-a-long of Pure Imagination, led from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane by Alex Jennings, who plays Willy Wonka, and the TV presenter and Roald Dahl fan Helen Skelton. Staff at the London headquarters of Warner Bros. got into the spirit of things yesterday with their own sing-a-long of Pure Imagination when they were visited by a certain chocolatier: http://youtu.be/PQwKP8BEm0w

On Roald Dahl Day itself (Roald Dahl’s birthday, 13th September), more than 50 volunteers, including members of the show’s production team, will take part in a sponsored skydive dressed as Oompa-Loompas – Wonka’s magical team of helpers. The dive will be in aid of the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity, the production’s principal charitable partnership, for whom the production has already raised over £30,000 to date.

As part of Penguin’s activities to mark the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the show’s director Sam Mendes has written the foreword to the new Penguin Classics edition of the novel, and Lucy Mangan’s new book ‘Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory’ has been released by Penguin and is on sale in all good bookshops.
 



www.CharlieandtheChocolateFactory.com is the official website.
Like: www.facebook.com/CharlieandtheChocolateFactoryUK 
Follow: twitter.com/CharlieChoc_UK
Photo credits: Helen Maybanks (above), Brinkhoff Moenburg (review photo below).
 




BOOSTERZ™ Inflatable Booster Cushions are now available to borrow at this theatre. Raising a child 10 to 14 cm, this easily inflated - by pump or pure 'puff power' - item can be loaned from ushers at the venue (who will supply it ready inflated!). For regular theatregoers, they can also be purchased direct from the inventors at www.boosterz.co.uk, and the more you buy, the greater the discount!

 

Theatremonkey Opinion:

(Seen at the preview on 12th June 2013). Some actors have now left the cast.
Any stage musical that has to compete with the memories of both a much loved book and spectacularly colourful musical film is starting at a disadvantage. For that reason alone, you cannot blame creators David Greig, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman for adding a little invention to their adaptation, or for including iconic song “Pure Imagination” in an otherwise all-new score.

The monkey would also like to make clear that it saw a preview a mere two days after the “Great Glass Elevator” effect was introduced into the show, and that there was clearly work to be done on the show to drag it from the 3.9 star to 4 star plus show the finished item it is sure it will be.


For there is already much to love. A slow-burning opening (cross those fingers and ditch the cartoon* and dump sequences, producers, your show will be better for it) is saved by the wonderful Michelle Bishop as a sweet vendor with a most unique sales technique. Moments later, Charlie arrives home and we meet his loving family... and the show bursts into a life that charms through almost until the interval.

Such is the warmth created by a combination of emotional honesty and inventive gentle comedy that the monkey was rummaging in its pocket for a donation towards Charlie’s birthday gift – and joined the cheering when he finally got his ticket.
Punctuating the domestic action with brilliantly staged sequences introducing the other children, the cheery mixture of fun tunes and inventive characters (not sure about Mike TeeVee becoming a violent hacker, though) bubble merrily away.

Suddenly, though, the show hits a snag with what should have been the climax of act one... “It Must Be Believed to Be Seen” introducing Mr Wonka himself. Bringing the curtain down on a dull number that should have been brimming with energy, it was fascinating to discover that the curtain rose again on “Strike That! Reverse It” – a clear instruction to director Sam Mendes to move that joyful “meet and greet” sequence to the other side of the break!

Sadly, we come off that inspired lunacy into the second big letdown of the show. The iconic factory “chocolate room” – everything edible and with a fabulous chocolate river – just isn’t magical. Sure, theatre is limited in a way film isn’t, but still...
Luckily, once past that, a few too-grey projections which have to cover scene changes (the problems of stage adaptations in any fantasy story), and an inconsistent bunch of Oompa Loompas (have the guts to stick with the puppets, they work best!) aside, we quickly get back on track.

The young brats are disposed of inventively, a perfect “Nutcracker Sweet” in particular – though the monkey could have done without a vicious and unnecessary death (not in the book) and “Pure Imagination” comes close with some inventive if fairly unoriginal staging.

Oddly, though, the very end ignores the wonderful adoption of the Buckets by Wonka and Wonka by the Buckets in favour of a weak plot device linking an “old man at the dump” at the start of Act One with Wonka – and abandoning Charlie to his own devices. Hopefully something thing tightened before press night, feels the monkey.

Still, it’s a high quality show and the monkey enjoyed it enough to demand a cast CD be released. It’s a show for grandparents to take grandchildren of a mature 8 to 12 to, and for those on a less than Wonka income, the show’s best seen from the cheap seats upstairs too.

The performances (particularly the children – name checks for Jack Costello and Ellie Simons as Charlie and Veruca in particular) are strong. Not as smooth, funny or sophisticated as predecessor at this venue, “Shrek”, but with heart - a very genuine evening.

 

 

*Reports in July 2014 suggest that the cartoon is indeed, gone!

 

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

(15 reviews)

Three of us sat in Row D Royal Circle for the 'Charlie' preview on May 31st 2013. Must disagree with the previous reviewer. It is stunning – theatre is beautiful, seats in D 22-24 Royal Circle were great; legroom acceptable – possibly best area in the house for this performance. Sets are out of this world. I suspect the first half might be better from Stalls, but second half has got to be way better from Royal Circle – sets with Ooopah Loompah's and Squirrels just brilliant. If you take kids, get in early and ask for an inflatable booster seat. But, you don't need kids – go anyway. Wonderful show in a wonderful theatre .

Brian.
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I saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on Friday 24th May 2013, and could only get tickets in row W of the Stalls; but after reading your reviews, decided that it would be OK for the special preview price of £40.00. Unfortunately I am only 5 2" and did have some rather tall people in front of me, but was still able to get a pretty good view of the stage. The overhang from the Circle did not spoil the view at all as nothing happened that high up! There is very limited leg room so probably would be quite uncomfortable for people with longer legs but not a problem for me.

I know it is still in previews, but here are my thoughts on the show: The sets and staging were outstanding, as were the cast - especially the younger members - and in particular the young actor who played Charlie, he was absolutely brilliant. In the book and the subsequent films, Willy Wonka was very mysterious and magical, but unfortunately Douglas Hodge's portrayal did not convey that at all. I don't think he was helped by the songs he had to sing as they were instantly forgettable - apart from the only original song from the film, "Pure Imagination."

Didn't feel the magic and came out feeling a bit disappointed.

Sad to say, wouldn't recommend this one.
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I went to see this at the invitation of SEE Tickets on 10th June 2013. Good to see a show so early in it's run.

First, What an incredible job Andrew Lloyd Webber has done to the theatre. It is immaculate and the seating is as good as it can get, comfortable and looks wonderful.

We loved the show. My companion didn't know the story line so was a bit thrown by the 'disappearance' one by one of the children, but I have seen the film so knew what to expect and it was done incredibly well. It's a great show and Douglas Hodge is just right as Willy Wonka.

It is a show I would have loved to have taken the grandchildren to when they were small, and I know it is very much a show that fellow grandparents would want to take their grandchildren too - but that can get pretty expensive if the initial price is too high.
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Saw this on Saturday 15th June 2013 at 2.30pm. Sat in centre of the balcony in row J. Seats not too bad at all, the free booster seat for my nephew was great, missed about 30 seconds that takes place in the Stalls at the start of act 2. The sound was brilliant.

What a joy to behold. Right from the start me and my party were gripped. The songs, whilst not the most memorable, were tappable and very witty, the set is amazing and performances superb. Douglas Hodge is spot on as Wonka and Nigel Planner a revelation.

The only slow point was at the start of act 2 when there is a bit of a dull song in the chocolate mixing room. Otherwise it is a production to remember. I won't spoilt how its done but when Wonka sings 'Pure Imagination' it got a ripple of applause at the start and almost a standing ovation at the end. A real show stopper that Hodge performs to perfection. As for the Oompa-Loompas, well they are so inventive and so we'll done as to be almost unbelievable.

Go and see and enjoy. I will be back for another viewing!

Taljaard.
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We saw this at the matinee this afternoon (22nd June 2013). There is really only one word to describe this production, enchanting. I loved every minute of it.

Sadly the magic lift broke down and we had an extra break while they removed it from the stage, but it mattered not one single bit.

The cast is excellent. The kids are all good, but I must single out the two playing Veruca and Charlie today. The sets are brilliant, I just don't know where they are keeping them all. The Oompa Loompas are hilarious, and boy do they work hard. Douglas Hodge is a complete revelation, he fitted the part perfectly, and sang beautifully.

I will be seeing this one again!! I don't have children, you don't need them, whether you are 9 or 90, this is magical.
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I saw this from top price premium seats in the dress circle on 28th June 2013, and I left the theatre feeling decidedly poorer and underwhelmed.

The first act severely drags and desperately needs to be tightened up. Songs are instantly forgettable and they seem to have tried to fit in so many clever lyrics that it's difficult to make out some of the words.

The first act also seems very grey and drab and darkly lit. I appreciate that this is probably to wow the audience with the colourful factory when we finally get there but when we did, it wasn't all that colourful either.

There are some very good elements to the show -the Oompa Loompas were cleverly done and choreography was fun, if somewhat limited due to their size.

The glass elevator broke down and the show had to be stopped, so some more work is obviously required.

Willy Wonka and Charlie were good but I thought the others were very average.

Not a bad evening out, but I expect more for a 90 quid seat in a brand new musical that has been a long time in the making.

Kenneth.
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Having seen 'Matilda' I thought a visit to a second Dahl-based musical would go down a treat, as it were, and it certainly did! A thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

The first half is a slow burner - setting out Charlie's life in the dump, in the shadow of the Chocolate Factory itself. The show is carried in this first half on Charlie's shoulders and the young actor carried it perfectly.

An excellent introduction to the rest of the family, grandparents and parents, further raises the connection with this family living in troubled, difficult times.

The Golden Ticket competition is announced and the other winners (with individual songs - Veruca and Augustus are the best) shown via a brilliantly conceived television set, before the moment comes when Charlie finds his. Wonka arrives at the end of Act 1 with a suitably Dahl-is-tic song 'It has to be believed to be seen'.

The second half takes us into the factory itself with beautifully conceived sets - who really was expecting a real chocolate river?! Seriously?! The Oompa-Loompas are fantastic, anarchic creations and the magical ending with the Glass Elevator (hurrah it worked when I saw it) were real highlights.

I've read negative comments about the score - I thought it was wonderful. Can't remember many songs, but thought throughout the show that I must get the soundtrack. Others have commented on an unexpected death - I didn't notice this. I thought all the unfortunate incidents and possible resolutions were explained by Wonka and then Charlie's wondering rather well - this has happened, but perhaps this is how they'll be restored... All fitted in with the theme of imagination for me...

The only characterisation that sat uneasily for me was Mike Teevee - a now violent computer games addict. Not good nor necessary.

Sound in places - particularly Violet's and Mike's songs was blurry, lots of words to make out in a short space of time, but otherwise the sound in the Upper Circle was clear and excellent.

Now to the seat - D29 in the Upper Circle. Great view, BUT at a couple of key moments the double height safety bar at the bottom of the aisle got in the way of any action at the front of the stage. Most notably, when Charlie won his ticket... That had to be viewed through the bars... Not good, I don't think, to pay £50 to be distracted, though not overly so admittedly, by safety bars.

However, safety bar aside it is a great seat - clear view (except the very front of the stage), set slightly into the aisle so no heads in the way and extra leg room. For me, as a long legged creature, the extra leg room was very welcome.

Paul.
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Evening: Wednesday 14th August 2013.
Dress Circle: E 30 to 32.

Our first disappointment came when we noticed that good ole Dougie Hodge wasn't performing that night, it turns out the understudy was very good so won't moan too much.

It's apparent that a lot of money has been spent on this production and the staging is very impressive, even though weighted mainly on to the second act. The first act is a rather slow start with no memorable songs at all. A few funny moments which made sure it wasn't totally boring but near by children were already starting to lose interest.

The second act is much better but I still felt underwhelmed by it and I suppose I was expecting a whole lot more. Nigel Planer was the stand out cast member for me and it was him that kept me interested.

Overall a good show to see once but that is all. I probably expected too much. The promo says it 'has to be seen to be believed'....not sure about that!

Dress Circle seats were very good and had a lovely clear view of the stage.
___________________________________________________________________

Enjoyed the Chocolate Factory just as much the second time around on 24th August 2013. The second half is better than the first, and there was more humour in Douglas Hodge's performance this time. He seems to have relaxed further into the role, and his voice is just perfect. It seems I have become a fan.
___________________________________________________________________

This evening (10th October 2013), I (finally) saw Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I’d read the reviews (including the one here), so I managed my expectations. Your comments were “spot on,” of course, but I still left the show disappointed… it could have been a really good one, but there was just no “pizazz.”
___________________________________________________________________

We sat in box EE and were lucky to be the only two in the box. I disagree with the suggestion that the side of the stage was missed - it was such a small segment of it that (maybe just for this show) we didn't appear to miss anything at all. For the same price, we were also offered some of the back rows of the stalls quite far to the side and I chose the box over these because I felt a possible lack of view was better than sitting forward to be able to see over heads; not that I'm overly short, but I want to have a clear view of the stage without heads constantly moving in front of me! With free reign in the box, we were able to angle our chairs at the front of the box so as to give us the best possible view. Having never sat in a box, I liked the fact that I had legroom and space and didn't have to worry about anyone marring my view or me marring anyone else's.

Some people may not like the fact that you an catch sight of a stage hand on occasion, or that it is slightly easier to see how some of the effects are done however for me, I enjoyed this. It did not deter or distract from the performance at all, just personal interest. It was a lovely spot to sit and watch audience reactions to some effects that, if you weren't sitting in the front/front middle of the stalls you wouldn't get the full effect anyway, for things like the confetti shower.

As for the show, it was strange not hearing some of the so well known songs such as "Candy Man" or "I've Got a Golden Ticket". I personally enjoyed Douglas Hodge's portrayal of Wonka - others may disagree as recent media seems to have made him more "insane" than ingenious or creative, as I feel the original stories make him. High praise should indeed go to the ensemble, who seamlessly play a variety of human characters as well as Oompa Loompas- I failed to be able to single out any specific performer as they changed through characters or as the Oompa Loompas. The child cast of course were very good as well.

A slick show, with stunning visuals that make it on par with the likes of "Wicked", however I came out singing the only song I knew - "Pure Imagination", and would not be able to sing you any more.

Rachel.
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Balcony D15 and D16

Leg room can feel cramped, good view of the majority of stage as long as people in the more forward balcony rows don't lean forward

This was our party's third visit to Drury Lane, our first two being for Lord Of The Rings and Oliver.

On the whole we thoroughly enjoyed this musical production of Roald Dahl's much loved children's story about Charlie Bucket and his wish to enter Mr Wonka's mysterious factory.

The action comes thick and fast, there's so much going on that on occasion it can be difficult to keep track of it all. The kids are well cast, especially the girl who portrayed Veruca Salt and played up as the spoilt brat to perfection.

For me Nigel Planer's performance as Charlie's Grandpa Joe was one of the shows highlights.

Also, Douglas Hodge was excellent as the eccentric, confectionery genius Willy Wonka.

We did have a couple of gripes:

(1) A couple of the songs are far too fast and wordy, it's a struggle to keep track of what's being sung.

(2) If you're seated in the balcony a lot of action takes place at the front of the stage so you miss what's happening.

That said, Charlie is a superb show for kids of all ages to see as it takes you into a world of "pure imagination."
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We started our theatre-going for the year at the earliest possible opportunity with a 1st January 2014 trip to "Charlie" at Drury Lane. We sat in the Grand Circle, seats C26, C27 and C28, paid £49.50 via See Tickets.

We don't normally go for Upper Circles anywhere but we chose these after reading some positive comments on theatremonkey and were very happy with them. The seats do feel quite close to the stage and you get a very clear view of the cast and the action, much better than I'd have expected from an upper circle. The extreme front of the stage is only just in view from these seats but nothing happens there apart from a very brief piece of action right at the start of the second act. If the audience in row A of the Grand Circle lean forward, their heads can get in the way of the view of the stage in part though. Sound was fine and legroom for 5'6" was adequate. I thought they were good value at the price and would probably book these again over stalls seats at Drury Lane at a higher price.

Would definitely go to the theatre on New Year's Day again too - very quite in central London, made travelling a pleasure and the bars and restaurants looked very empty around 7pm.
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There is always a great sense of anticipation when you walk up to a theatre box office knowing that the show is technically ‘SOLD OUT’. I know my way around a box office and after some discussion the assistant was able to offer us 2 tickets for the following evening's performance (31 December 2013). I always tell myself not to get carried away but of course I accepted two premium tickets in the ‘Royal Circle’ for £90+ each! The assistant assured us that these were ‘producer hold’ seats and were in fact the very best in the house!

We were in C10 and 11.We had exceptionally clear sight lines, with nothing obscured at all. Despite the scale of the theatre you felt close to the action and not detached at all. The seats were very comfortable, with ample leg room for us both. I saw in the aisle seat and had particularly good leg room. The problem with a children’s show is that there are a lot of children in the audience! Generally they were well behaved, though the child behind us decided to hold a bottle of water for the duration of the second half and that made an annoying sound! In general I thought the theatre looked remarkably well. We had drinks in the Saloon and it was beautiful. I was very impressed with the standards of the theatre.

As for the show itself I wasn’t much of a fan. The score was very weak, with no memorable tunes at all. The first act in particular dragged and this was not helped by the grey staging throughout. I felt having the majority of the first act in one setting really dragged the plot along. I did enjoy the projections and the animation however I don’t go to the theatre to see animation!

The second act was better but again the songs were poor. I expected to be blown away by the factory settings but they weren’t that exciting. In fact much of it came across as amateurish. The whole concept of the lift and people running on the spot is something I’d expect to see in Am Dram!

It is interesting to note that I didn’t get a sense from the children in the audience that they were blown away either by the production. The buzz at the interval was somewhat muted I thought. In summary it was most definitely not worth £90 each, however the theatre itself was a joy and a pleasure to visit.
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"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was crazy tonight (9th January 2014). Highly recommend.
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I have been to see this musical a couple of times before, during the Summer and over Christmas 2013, I loved both performances very much. Each time some of the cast were different and I enjoyed the brilliance of the productions, sets, and the musical score...

...But the calibre of the performances on the 400th show were out of this world. The child that played Charlie, Troy Tipple, was exactly how I imagined Charlie to be and his performance was that of a true professional, sweet, vulnerable and thoughtful, an absolute gem.

Douglas Hodge and Nigel Planner, as usual, were brilliant - as are the rest of the cast. I love Alex Chatsworthy as Mrs Bucket, she has a wonderful voice.

The music is great, such a vast grouping of different genres, Charlie's opening number, "Almost Nearly Perfect," Grandpa Joe's "Don't you pinch me Charlie," The Oopa loompas " Vidiots," and then "Pure Imagination" at the end.

SPOILER ALERT There are so many wonderful magical moments, the shadow puppets, the paper aeroplane, Violet's explosion, Mike in the TV, little Mike and the awe inspiring Glass Elevator at the end. SPOILER ENDS.

If you go with an open mind and don't expect the film to be repeated on stage, you will have the most wonderful, magical time.


Alison Glenn


 

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 to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Extra performances at 2.30pm on 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th December 2014 and 17th February 2015.


Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.


 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

All performances EXCEPT Saturdays and "Peak Weeks":
Stalls:
Rows AA to U: £67.50 except
"Premium Seats" centre block rows C to M: £95
"Restricted View" seats row A 2 to 4 and 21 to 23; B to F 1 and 2; B25, 26; C28, 29; D32, 33; E and F 34 and 35: £49.50
Rows R to YY: £49.50
Rows Z and ZZ: £39.50
"Restricted View and legroom" seats row A 0 and 24: £25

Dress Circle:
Rows A to L: £67.50 except
"Premium Seats" row A 11 to 25; B and C 12 to 26; D and E 13 to 27: £95

Upper Circle:
Centre Block
Rows A to K (except K 12, 13, 28 and 29): £49.50
Row L (except L 12, 13, 28 and 29): £39.50
Restricted View Rows K and L 12, 13, 28 and 29: £32.50
Side Blocks
Rows A to J (except Restricted View seats): £49.50
Row L: £39.50
Restricted view seats A 6, 7, 42, 43; B and C 1, 2, 39, 40: £39.50
Restricted view seats A 15, 16, 33, 34; B and C 11, 12, 29 and 30: £25
Slip seats A 1 to 5 and 44 to 48: £25

Balcony:
Centre Block
Rows C to L: £32.50
Restricted View rows A and B: £17.50
Side Blocks
Rows C to J (except C 2, 3, 11, 12, 28, 29, 37, 38; D and E 1, 2, 11, 12, 28, 29, 38, 39): £32.50
Row L: £25
Restricted view rows A and B, plus C 2, 3, 11, 12, 28, 29, 37, 38; D and E 1, 2, 11, 12, 28, 29, 38, 39: £17.50


Boxes:
B (seat 6), BB (seat 6), C (seat 4), CC (seat 4): £67.50 per seat.
M (seat 6), L and N (seat 4), J, K, O and P (all seat 2): £49.50 per seat.
E and EE (seat 4 each): £49.50 per seat.
Box seats are not normally sold individually.

 

 

 

Saturdays and "Peak Weeks":
Stalls:
Rows AA to U: £70 except
"Premium Seats" centre block rows C to M: £97.50
"Restricted View" seats row A 2 to 4 and 21 to 23; B to F 1 and 2; B25, 26; C28, 29; D32, 33; E and F 34 and 35: £52
Rows R to YY: £52
Rows Z and ZZ: £42
"Restricted View and legroom" seats row A 0 and 24: £27.50

Dress Circle:
Rows A to L: £70 except
"Premium Seats" row A 11 to 25; B and C 12 to 26; D, E and F 13 to 27: £97.50

Upper Circle:
Centre Block
Rows A to K (except K 12, 13, 28 and 29): £52
Row L (except L 12, 13, 28 and 29): £42
Restricted View Rows K and L 12, 13, 28 and 29: £35
Side Blocks
Rows A to J (except Restricted View seats): £52
Row L: £42
Restricted view seats A 6, 7, 42, 43; B and C 1, 2, 39, 40: £42
Restricted view seats A 15, 16, 33, 34; B and C 11, 12, 29 and 30: £27.50
Slip seats A 1 to 5 and 44 to 48: £27.50

Balcony:
Centre Block
Rows C to L: £35
Restricted View rows A and B: £27.50
Side Blocks
Rows C to J (except C 2, 3, 11, 12, 28, 29, 37, 38; D and E 1, 2, 11, 12, 28, 29, 38, 39): £35
Row L: £27.50
Restricted view rows A and B, plus C 2, 3, 11, 12, 28, 29, 37, 38; D and E 1, 2, 11, 12, 28, 29, 38, 39: £27.50


Boxes:
B (seat 6), BB (seat 6), C (seat 4), CC (seat 4): £70 per seat.
M (seat 6), L and N (seat 4), J, K, O and P (all seat 2): £52 per seat.
E and EE (seat 4 each): £52 per seat.
Box seats are not normally sold individually.




Prices shown include the £1 (£1.25 from 1st November 2014) per ticket "Theatre Restoration Fee." This is usually included in quoted prices, though some agents (including See Tickets) leave it as a separate sum to be included in the booking fees.


 

 

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.seetickets.com provide the service for this theatre.

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
A £2.50 per ticket booking fee applies on all seats EXCEPT £2 on 32.50, £1.50 on £25 and £1 on £17.50 seats. Pays for the Ooompa Loompa spray tan, thinks the monkey.

 

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), which offers £67.50 seats with £10.20 per ticket booking fee (£14.30 on £95, £7.50 on £49.50, £6 on £39.50, £4.90 on £32.50, £3.75 on £25, £2.75 on £17.50 seats) Monday to Friday "off peak" performances (some fees may vary by date) / £70 seats with £10.50 per ticket booking fee (£14.70 on £97.50, £7.80 on £52, £6.50 on £42, £5.30 on £35, £4.25 on £27.50 seats) Saturday and "peak" performances - moderate by agency standards, though higher than box office fees, worth trying as they often have a 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
Ticketmaster.co.uk who offer £67.50 seats with a £6.75 fee (£9 on £90, £4.95 on £49.50, £3.95 on £39.50, £3.25 on £32.50, £2.50 on £25 tickets) Monday to Friday "off peak" performances / £70 seats with £7 per ticket booking fee (£9.75 on £97.50, £5.20 on £52, £4.20 on £42, £3.50 on £35, £2.75 on £27.50 seats) Saturday and "peak" performances. A £3 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee is also added. This system allows you to choose your own seats from the selection the company has available.

Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer £67.50 seats with an £18.50 fee per ticket (£24 on £95, £13.50 on £49.50, £10.50 on £39.50, £8.50 on £32.50, £7 on £25 seats) / Monday to Friday "off peak" performances / £70 seats with £19 per ticket booking fee (£14 on £52, £11 on £42, £10 on £35, £7.50 on £27.50 seats) Saturday and "peak" performances. A postage charge of £2.25 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 £2.50 per ticket. Discounts and Meal and show packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.

Lastminute.com offer £67.50 seats with an £10 booking fee per ticket (£7.50 on £49.50, £5 on £32.50, £2.50 on £25 and £17.50 seats Monday to Friday / £13 on £67.50, £10.50 on £49.50, £8 on £32.50 seats Saturday and peak weeks). NOTE: Seat numbers are NOT available in advance from this company. All seats booked in the same price group will, of course, be together or at the very least be in front or behind each other in the theatre. In the very unlikely event of this not being possible this company will call you and give you the option of cancelling your booking. However if booking in two or more price bands, you will not be sat together. Please DO NOT purchase if this is unacceptable to you, as all tickets are sold subject to this condition. Discounts and "Meal and Show" packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.

Londontheatredirect.com offer £67.50 seats with a £13.50 (£19 on £95 seats, £10 on £49.50, £8 on £39.50, £6.50 on £32.50, £5 on £25, £3.50 on £17.50) seats at Monday to Friday "off peak" performances / £70 seats with a £14 per ticket booking fee (£19.50 on £97.50, £10.50 on £52, £10.50 on £42, £7 on £35, £5.50 on £27.50 seats) Saturday and "peak" performances booking fee per ticket.
Collecting tickets from the box office before your performance is free, OR, if required and time allows, there is a postage charge option of of £2.95 (£4.95 to non-UK addresses) per booking, not per ticket applies to all bookings. 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: 0870 830 0200
(FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times)
Operated by See Tickets on behalf of the venue.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
A £2.50 per ticket booking fee applies on all seats EXCEPT £2 on 32.50, £1.50 on £25 and £1 on £17.50 seats. Pays for the Ooompa Loompa spray tan, thinks the monkey.

 

For personal callers or by post: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JF
No booking fee for personal callers.

Special Access Needs Customers:
Wheelchair users and other registered disabled theatregoers can book their seats on 0844 412 4648 and enquire about concessionary prices that may be available to them.

www.theatreroyaldrurylane.co.uk is the official venue 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 overhangs the Stalls at row M (and curves around to row J at the sides). The Dress Circle overhang affects the view of the top of the stage from row S back.

Aisles split the stalls into a centre and two side blocks. A further aisle in front of row K splits seats into front and rear sections.

The side blocks extend beyond the proscenium, so do not look directly at the stage opening.

A noticeable rake (sloped floor to help see over rows in front) ensures a good view from all seats to row S. 

Row K is a few millimetres higher than row J.

Legroom:
Good throughout the front stalls for all but the very tallest (over 6ft or so - a reader feels 5' 8" though), particularly good in row K, D 1 and 33 with nothing in front; and (for one leg) E35 and H37 - the only places for the longest legged to choose. 

Most readers found A 0 and 24 and rows from L back noticeably tighter, though - a reason the monkey removed row L's previous "green" rating.

Row ZZ seats 11, 12, 26 and 27 have the least room in any part of the stalls.

Choosing Seats in General:
Front Section:
An extra row, AA can be inserted in front of row A in the centre block. Even when row A is the front row, it's rare to experience neck strain here as you look over the wide orchestra pit.

As there is no rake, though, younger children and those under 5ft 8 or so will struggle to see past any taller adult in front of them in rows A to C at least. Take the dress circle for them.

For everybody else these front three or four rows are a wonderfully immersive experience  - monkey only leaves the 'green' rating off because of the lack of rake.

Among the best seats in the house and this section are rows E to G 10 to 26 and rows H and J 11 to 27, then centre row D.

Rows A to J usually have reduced prices at the extreme ends. Large speakers are often positioned at the edges of the stage, which may blast those at the ends of rows B and C in particular and block views. The discounts reflect this and the monkey feels them not seats to take first or all that great, but close to the front and a bit cheaper for those willing to take a chance. If at second price it rates E to G 1 and 2 and 34 and 35 about "fair" if willing to accept extreme side views - not a generous discount, but a cheaper way of being near the front, perhaps.

Rear Section:
The monkey first choice in the entire theatre is row K seats 6 to 30. Unlimited legroom and a decent view.

Behind, row L loses points for legroom. Row M has a little more.

At top price, next try all but the outermost two seats of side blocks of K or M, then look forward to central row C and the side block of rows C to J (except the first and last 4 seats - which should be avoided), and finally row N back - centre then side blocks.

Wheelchair spaces are at K 1 and 35 and L 1 and 35. Take K first. The view is fair, a little sideways on but better than the rows in front. Transfer able can use any seat - take aisle if possible.

At the back of the theatre, top price runs back a good way. The monkey would skip anything behind T, as U to W are too far away, not brilliantly raked and cramped. Much better stuff available further forward, really.

Row X at second price or less compares badly with the upper circle seats at the same price. Comfort is slightly greater in that you can slip your feet under the seats in front, but the upper circle doesn't contend with the overhang or being so far from the stage with so many folk in front. Skip it, feels the monkey.

Moving back, Monkey likes central row YY and side block Y 4 to 10 and 28 to 34 as they are cheaper than the seats in front but with a similar view. You could do worse than YY 11 to 13 and 21 to 23. Why? There is a small step to them, giving them an extra 2 inch raise above the row in front. Not perfect for children - who'll see far more from one of the circles above, but a possible choice for many less choosy others seeking cheaper stalls.

Do note, though, there is another reason that rows Y to ZZ at often at second to lowest price. They are low (feeling lower than rows in front), far back and miss the top of the stage. As an alternative to vertigo in the top balcony, fine. As perfect seats for a special night out... try elsewhere or pay up for seats further forward, feels the monkey. For those on a tight budget and not wanting vertigo or the extra cramp of the highest balcony though, they might just do the trick, so don't ignore them.

General Hazard Notes:
Speakers hung under the circle overhang clip about 5cm off the view from some centrally located seats from row S back - not a problem though, the monkey just records it from interest!

All the very end seats in rows A to J in particular, are well outside the proscenium arch, leading to strange viewing angles around / excessive noise from, the soundman's hardware - it particularly affects the front 4 rows.

Avoid seats around the sound desk if you will be disturbed by the noise and light, though sensibly they have added a gap between the desk and the seating. Worst affected seats are Y14 to 24, YY14 and 20, Z14 and 24 and ZZ 14 and 24.

Rear rows have pillars to the side of seats in the centre of the centre block from row YY back.

Changes for the current production:
Much action happens above stage level, so sitting in the mid stalls, dress circle or anywhere that isn't affected by circle overhangs is advisable, feels the monkey.

Row AA is the front row in the centre block, row A in the side blocks. The stage is very low, below chest height on an adult, so shouldn't be a problem except for the very smallest children.

There may be a problem for smaller children in centre block rows A to D and side block B to D due to the low stage, however. Simply due to seeing over heads in front. The monkey would welcome feedback, and advises arriving early to nab one of the plentiful booster cushions the theatre helpfully provide.

Row AA and A 11 to 13 should be aware that there is light from the conductor in view, and that at one point for about 15 minutes in the first act, a piece of scenery is almost directly in front of those seated in AA12.

The extreme ends of rows A to F are down to second price. The monkey would take A 4 or 21 then 3 or 22 first - total bargains. Sure, you'll get a side view, but it'll be near identical to the one over the aisle in the centre block at £10 more, and you'll have nobody in front. DO NOT take seats A0 or 24 unless no legroom is required (there isn't any across a quarter of the seat - even if the ticket is very cheap), and these, plus A1 and 23 also peer through stair rails.

Next in the restricted view stuff it would go back to row F and take the seat off the aisle next, then the aisle seat, then the one in the row in front off the aisle and work forwards from there. With speakers and lights in front, and a side view of the action slightly through stair rails again, any ill-effect is minimised the further back you go.

"Premium" seats have been designated in rows C to M of the central stalls. Up to you if you wish to pay more, feels the monkey. The view is very good from E to K. Paying "premium" price for row C means paying extra for neck-ache as the show takes place at a high level, and D isn't much better. Behind row K, rows have less legroom and may miss the top of the stage. Need the monkey say more.

At Monday to Friday "off peak" performances, rows from R back drop to second price. Centre row R is decent value for those prepared to miss a sliver off the top of the stage but gain on legroom over similarly priced upper circle seats. Right back to row T, you could do worse, really. Skip rows T and U at top price on "peak dates" at top price, though, thanks to circle overhang cutting the view of some action.

At second price on "peak dates," row W is better value than row U, but again be aware you will miss a few things here. The rest of the second price, apart from the elevated ones in row YY are below mediocre in monkey opinion, though, so take the same price upper circle over these - unless legroom is an issue, as the stalls do have slightly more.

Working on the theory that the overhang of the circle above may reduce the views of scenes taking place at a high level, rows Z and ZZ are fairly priced if anybody is willing to trade a cramped restricted rear stalls seat for a cramped back row upper circle one. The monkey might, if the restricted view seats in the upper circle at the same price have gone - the upper circle does have a far better view.

Around the sound desk, YY14 and 20 won't notice it in view, and Z14 and 24 have a gap between them and the desk, again it won't cause a problem. ZZ14 and 24 are frankly restricted view with the corner of the desk cutting an eighth off, though.

 

Reader Comments:
"A3: At a big discount for £20 at 'Oliver' in 2009! The view from this seat was immense... and the leg room, well, I had enough room to put my bags in front of my seat and outstretch my legs fully and still let people get past!"

"A9: Oliver. you get a truly magnificent view from here. You are, of course, probably a bit too close, as due to the size of the sets you are constantly moving your head and eyes around as there is so much happening on stage. You don't have to look up too much as the stage is set quite low and there is fantastic legroom. Also, the conductor doesn't get in the way."

"A12: A wonderful seat - you'll love it! So close that you feel you're totally in the show.
The setting is a monument and sometimes you will be blasted by the huge and beautiful stage design. The only one thing which can harm you is the spittle from the actors, because when the get in front of the orchestra pit they are so close that you're able to smell them :-) It is a very good choice to spend your money on that seat because the experience is fantastic."

"A15: The view from here is of course, excellent. I had no difficulty seeing anything on stage...and the legroom was excellent."

"A16: (Ali). one of the best seats I have ever had – good legroom, very little neckache, and is fantastic for getting a really good look at the action"

"B9 to B15: which were superb seats. Had to look up slightly but we didn't lose any of the view from where we were. You really get to "feel" the atmosphere from these seats and the orchestra is well "hidden" below the stage so again no problems. 3 children aged 8 to 10 years did find the booster cushions provided useful."

"C20 and 21: "Shrek" (May 2011), (Michael). I would like to say they were excellent viewing as we could see the stage floor from here with offset seats and close to the action on stage, but on this occasion, my view was constantly blocked by the gent to my right who was swaying left and right. No doubt I was causing the same problem for the person behind me as a swayed in unison in order to see as best I could. When someone's head is blocking a character as large as Shrek, then I believe it's a problem."

"D15 and 16: They were expensive seats but well worth the money. Excellent view, loads of legroom and no heads in the way! We had a great close up view of the actors' faces and we really felt part of the action."

"D17: (James - regular contributor). Good seat, but for a huge musical, would recommend Upper Circle or Balcony as if  the show is "big" it's better to appreciate it from afar."

"D 30 and 31: "Shrek" (May 2011). Apparently these seats are classed as 'restricted view' seats but I found no problem with them at all. I think from seat 31 you missed a tiny bit of action but as 99.9% of the action is centre stage you really don't miss much at all. We paid £45 per ticket for £65 tickets through a discount website and we got a real bargain as far as I'm concerned. Legroom was quite generous for someone of 5'6", but I can imagine it might be slightly uncomfortable for someone who is 6ft or taller. All in all I can't fault these seats. (When discounted a bargain indeed, feels the monkey)."

"E5: 'Oliver' (December 2008), (Kirsty). It's an OK seat and I was really able to feel part of the show from there. The sound quality was good and you could see the casts' faces clearly. They did have their backs to you sometimes though, which is to be expected if you sit at the very right hand side of the stage."

"E16: "Oliver," (Martin). had an excellent view and just enough legroom (I'm 6' 01") although I wouldn't recommend sitting any closer."

"Row F: centre excellent, though with average legroom."

"F12: "Oliver" (January 2009). I sat in F12 in the stalls, which was (as indicated by the Monkey) a great seat, with clear views of the actors’ expressions. However, I paid full price (£65 in total) for my ticket, and would have felt cheated had I sat any further back or off-centre (although that said, the production makes full use of the massive stage depth and height, so the dress circle would probably be great for catching a better all-round view of the show) Legroom in row F of the stalls was snug but just about ok - I'm 5'9, but I think anyone taller would struggle."

"F27: (Jon). aisle seat right hand side of left block. Excellent view (though Dress Circle I guess will be better for some of a raised set), seats a little low (i.e. your backside is slightly below your knees if you are over 5'8" so "cheek shuffling" may be required - apologies to those sat behind me!) though plenty of leg room as I could full extend under seat in front and I could shift to stretch to my right into the aisle."

"Row G: "Oliver" (January 2009), (Dave). Seats in row G centre stalls were excellent. I am please we bought top price."

"G22 and G23: We sat in "Premium Seat" G22 and G23 in the Stalls, Excellent view of the stage and all of the fantastic movements of the scenery. Actors were up close and you could see every facial expression. £85.00 is too much however for this seat and a free programme and I still believe these are still just £60 Stalls seats for some performances."

"Row H: "Shrek". Tight on the knees for me being 6' 1", but did give a good view; but even being so close to the stage it was only just apparent that Princess Fiona became a green ogre at night. She was definitely not green enough and not apparently ugly either  - so sitting further back this would have escaped people even more the further back you are seated. SPOILER ALERT I also wonder if the rear seats could see the dragon flying over the stalls. That was spectacular. SPOILER ENDS.

"H 9 and 10: "Lord of the Rings" - May 2007. were just perfect. 10 is on the aisle and is angled to give a wonderful view of the stage. I had an enormous man of about 20 stone sitting in front of me but he didn't spoil my view one bit."

"H13 and H14: (Diego). got for the student rate of £25 for "Oliver" in June 2010. To my shock, these are the so called 'premium seats' and although they aren't often sold at their £85 listing price, I knew that I was getting a bargain! The seats were really, really good and you have a clear view of everything. I was very pleased."

H13 to H16: (Sally Scott). Great seats." w

"H17: (daryl). the view was fab"

"J11 and J12: (Rob). excellent seats. Bit of trade off with the seats – we were on the aisle of the centre set of seats; very handy for making a quick getaway but there were two moments - during the show we saw - where the actors standing at the front of the stage blocked our view of actors in the middle; this would not be the case if you were sat in middle of this centre row. My guess is that the very best seats in the house would be K16 to 20 – these are bang in the middle and you have an aisle in front of you allowing extra leg room."

"Row K: (Rich). in the stalls is an excellent position to see the show from, loads of legroom and a great view."

"Row K: There is superb legroom in row K, but even this row could be considered to be a little too far back."

"K20: (Ian). It was the most amazing place to sit. Yes - it's a Green seat without doubt. I am 6 feet 4 inches tall and there is tons of leg room and the seat affords a magnificent view of the spectacle on stage... I will always choose this row in the centre block of the stalls for all future visits to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. They should be 24 carat Gold - not green !! WOW."

"K26: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (May 2013). Having failed the Book of Mormon lottery on Friday evening and nothing interesting at TKTS, so decided to go to the box office expecting to buy a full price ticket. The guy offered me centre stall seat for £49.50 so I guess if you pop to the theatre a few hours before the show they might release some first price seats and sell you at second price. It was a bargain for me. I'm right at the aisle both on my side and in front so leg room was excellent and the view was excellent too. Probably best seat to sit in the theatre, far enough that you can appreciate the whole set which was huge and close enough that you still feel a part of the show."

"K27 and 28: "Shrek" (June 2011). This is the fifth time I've been to this theatre and third time in the stalls. Without doubt K27 and K28 are the best seats I have ever had here (even better than the premium priced seats which I have sat in before). The main reason for this is the huge amount of leg room between this row and the one in front so you can fully stretch out plus the view is totally unobstructed in any way by the people in front (whereas with the premium seats they might if you get someone tall). We paid £35 each through the Get Into London Theatre ticket promotion but would've happily have paid full price."

L12 and 13: (James). were great – you are far enough back to see the whole stage without turning your head from side to side, but still close enough to really engage with the show. Stalls C22 and C23 were far too close to the stage and I would not sit there again."

"L 12 and 13: Personally I am not a fan of the stalls, however I mistakenly brought these seats. AWFUL!! I was so disappointed with the view. Such a poor rake between the rows and constantly had to keep dodging the heads in front of me. I went home feeling terribly ripped off!"

M8 and 9: (Steph Nicholls). The seats were great with a clear view. I would like to see it again from the dress circle to get the full spectacle as sometimes we were too close to take in everything."

"M16: Perfect view of the stage."

"O1 to 5: "Oliver" (January 2009), (Penny). Very good seats, although could have been a little cramped for very tall people. Great view."

"O3: "Oliver" (January 2009), (Jackie). The seat was well placed and gave an uninterrupted view of the stage. The legroom was dreadful though. I am 5ft 9 and at first couldn’t seem to fit my legs in to the gap! Eventually managed to wedge them in the triangular gap where the two seats in front joined – not the most comfortable evening and my back / hips are still aching from the hours in this unfortunate position."

"O 28 and 29: While the view to centre stage is great, the legroom isn't what you might expect in the stalls."

"P26, 27 and 28: "Oliver" (January 2009), (Mila). White in the TM seating plan, but very good seats I thought, especially with the booster cushions for the kids, we had a perfect view of the whole stage, and a nice aisle seat so we were first to the ice creams and able to stand and give Jodie a cheer at the end!"

"R7 and 8: Pretty good view, leg room OK. 1 and 2 are OK as well."

"S29 to 33: (Sharon). We had seats in the Stalls in Row S numbers 29 to 33 and had a wonderful view of the stage. One of our party is a 6-footer and he had just enough leg-room, whilst the somewhat shorter family members borrowed the theatre's booster cushions which made our line of sight uninterrupted."

"Row U: "Oliver," (Lorna). and I too felt a bit far away. As Fagin jokes, I'm the poor at the back."

"Row U: "Shrek The Musical" (June 2011). I believe we overpaid at £40 each for rear stalls (row U with dress circle overhang above) preview tickets - which were reduced to £15 by the time we actually went."

"U19 to 24: After all the hype, I left 'Oliver' on Friday 30th January 2009 feeling rather disappointed. It just wasn't the 'wow' I had expected. I suspect that a lot of this was because of our seats (Stalls U19 to 24) - I had wanted to book top price, but with a group of 6 this was all that was available. From here you do miss the grandeur of the colossal sets and the whole show feels enclosed by the Dress Circle - a bit like a TV. I like to be immersed in theatre. When I saw 'Lord of the Rings' at this theatre, I sat in the centre of row G and it was a fantastic experience. Also, from back here you miss a lot of Rowan Atkinson's performance - closer up you would get a lot more from his facial expressions. My biggest complaint is the sound at the back. It all seemed quite quiet! It definitely proves it is worth paying full price - for me at least!"

"Row W: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (May 2013). I could only get tickets in row W of the Stalls; but after reading your reviews, decided that it would be OK for the special preview price of £40.00. Unfortunately I am only 5 2" and did have some rather tall people in front of me, but was still able to get a pretty good view of the stage. The overhang from the Circle did not spoil the view at all as nothing happened that high up! There is very limited leg room so probably would be quite uncomfortable for people with longer legs but not a problem for me."

"W31 and 32: Interestingly, you have widely differing opinions from theatre goers on the Theatre Royal's stalls seats. Myself and a friend were in stalls W31 and 32, the second row back in the second price ticket band. Originally we thought the seats would be pretty awful as we were quite a way back, but we were pleasantly surprised as the view wasn't bad at all. Yes, it was slightly restricted by the overhang of the Grand Circle resulting in the top of the scenery, particularly the bridges, being hidden from view, but as the setting is so big, you get a wider perspective of the action. Also we didn't have any tall people sitting in front of us to spoil the view! The seats were quite low, though, but we both thought the sound from this part of the theatre was very good. There certainly seems to be a mixture of opinion on sitting in this part of the theatre!

I have seen "Oliver!" several times now and my favourite seats have been in stalls rows D, E and F in the centre block. I know they may be classed as being too close to the stage but you do feel part of the action and personally I love to see the expressions on the actors' faces and all their little mannerisms! One of the main reasons I would generally go for the stalls in any theatre is that legroom is usually so much better than in the upper tiers. I'm only 5'8" but I do like to be sitting comfortably! In row W legroom was adequate, but still better than the Circles and Balcony."

For best results, try and avoid the first and last 4 seats in the side blocks, plus those around the sound desk to maximise the experience. There isn't much wrong with any of the mentioned tickets - except missing the top of the stage at times, just that there are better seats for the same hard earned bananas in the monkey view. The front Upper Circle is more expensive than the very back stalls - but a show sure looks spectacular from up there (though the legroom isn't as good...)."

"Row X: "Oliver!," (Rachel). Centre – awful! Such shabby legroom. Overhang of circle obscures some bridge scenes. Just felt too far away from the action to become absorbed by the show."

"X 36 and 37: "Oliver!." Warning; no legroom for anyone over 5'8" (I am 6'1")!  I might be exaggerating a bit, but my knees were definitely pressed against the seat in front and I had to sit slightly sideways to fit in (difficult when it's a sell out). It meant that I couldn't "shift about" in my seat resulting in the inevitable "numb bum"! The view was good, close enough to see the faces and far enough to see the big set-pieces to the extremes of the stage. Some of the high levels were lost although none of the main action was missed."

Yet another wasn't keen for the same production,
"Y9 and 10: "Oliver" (January 2009). I am normally fairly positive about theatre seats but these were horrendous! I felt so low to the ground, my knees were by my ears and the restriction of the circle overhang cuts of half of the stage which is a problem in this show.  We felt very claustrophobic!  I asked if we could move at the interval and despite it being a near sell-out the front of house manager was very kind and let us move to some great seats in the upper circle."

"YY7 and 8: "Oliver!," (Louise Robinson). have a good view of the majority of the stage, but you cannot see the upper bridge and so miss Nancy's death almost completely. However, the binoculars are fab; if you fancy homing in on Rowan Atkinson's many expressions, you can do so very well from these seats."

"Y12: "Shrek" (June 2011). Using Theatremonkey's advice, I sat in Y12 in the stalls, which I have to say are amazing value at £25, much closer to the action than if you were in the balcony tickets at the same price, also just one row behind seats which were £55. Definitely a bargain! Although listed as "overhang may obscure view" nothing was obscured for me, however I feel if you sat any further back then it would be a bad view."

"Y28 and 29: "Oliver" (January 2009). As others have said, it's a long way back in these seats and the overhang does mean you only see the feet of some of the dancers at times but we could see top stage scenes OK although I suspect even one or two rows back may not have been able to. I can see why Monkey marked these seats as green because the 3 rows in front are £7.50 more and the one in front of that is £22.50 more - I would be wholly unimpressed paying £60 for seat T39! If I went again, I'd pay £20 more for the best Grand Circle or Stalls seats - but like much in life, you get what you pay for and those that complain about poor visuals from the back probably moan about the price of bread compared with 20 years ago."

"YY 29 and 30: "Oliver!," (Ros). We saw 'Oliver' ( or as much of it as sitting in YY 29 and 30 will allow). The sets are the best part of the show, although if you are sitting far back in the Stalls you won't be able to see the bridge or the characters on it, as they are cut off by the overhang. We bought these seats as that was all that was available - and they were truly awful. The seats themselves are so low that you feel as if you are sitting on the floor. If you are under 5' 3'' you will have a problem in seeing the stage. Despite a cushion pad issued by the theatre, the young boy of about 10 years sitting next to my husband ended up sitting on his father's knee throughout the performance as he couldn't see the stage."

"Row Z: "Shrek" (June 2011), (Mark - regular contributor). Seats here at just £20 (at preview prices) and are great value for this show. You don't miss anything substantial as nothing takes place up a height. Definitely worth it. Would take these instead of the gallery if the overhang doesn't bother you. Obviously Y will probably be even better! Didn't even feel too far back, which was great! SPOILER ALERT I had to slouch slightly to see Farquad in his castle in Act One but that's probably to do with me being 6 ft 2! The dragon you can't see all the time, obviously, but you can see it enough when it comes a bit lower. I didn't feel like I missed out."

"Row Z:  "Shrek" (June 2011). The comment about the dragon being difficult to see from the rear stalls was correct: we were craning our necks forward to try and see what the rest of the theatre were ooohing at. I imagine it'd be very impressive if you were under it, or at the same height in the dress circle, or above in the front row/s of the balcony, but people in the rear stalls and rear balcony would wonder what was going on. SPOILERS END."
 

DRESS CIRCLE 
Called the Royal Circle in this theatre.

Layout:
The Upper Circle overhangs the Grand Circle at row E. It affects the view of the top of the stage is from around row H back.

The Grand Circle is split into three blocks - centre and two sides - by aisles.

It has a very shallow rake making row F back seem a long way from the stage.

Legroom:
Row A is complicated. Reader Paul Nicholls says row A has, "legroom for hobbits and people who were born without knees!" Another reader though felt A 3 and 4 had space and even room to put bags down. The monkey took a look and found that the legroom varies a lot in that row. There is least in the two seats nearest every aisle. It then seems to increase as you move towards the centre of the row, the centremost seats in the side blocks having a bit more, then decreasing again. In the centre block, legroom apart from the end 2 seats is more consistent and should just about suit all but those over 5ft 8 or so; two 6ft plus reader even found the centre two seats more than acceptable. The tall should should pick row K stalls, though.

Elsewhere, it's adequate for all but the tall.

Extra comfort can be had taking seats on the central aisle. A strange quirk means that the 'inner aisle' seats in the side block containing seats 1 to 12 (11 / 10 / 9 - you know the one the monkey means) has a bit more legroom - a stretch into the aisle for one leg! - for the highest numbered seat in each row from row B back. Same goes for the other side block, with seats starting 27 / 28 from row B back there too.

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
Among the best seats in the house are rows B and C 12 to 26, D and E 13 to 27, and row A 11 to 25 in that order. Row A needs careful selection if legroom comfort is a priority. Next best are rows F and G centre, then look at side block seats.

Reader Rich summed it up with, "The best position to see a big show from is the front of the Dress Circle. You get to appreciate the whole spectacle. Having sat at the front of the stalls and the Dress Circle, I would go for the Circle any time."

Side Blocks:
Once centre seats in rows A to G are gone, take rows B to G the first four seats nearest the centre aisle. Then choose whether to take row H back centre block, or seats in rows B to G further along to the side. If action mostly happens centre stage, then rows B to G (away from the extreme ends) get a reasonable (just about) view.

Side block seats are not really a bargain, and for top price special occasions are possibly best avoided, but for those willing to pay top price to just "see the show" the monkey feels many will be satisfied.

General Hazard Notes:
The shallow rake affects the view for anyone not tall enough to see over the row in fronts' heads from around row F back.

The first and last seats in the side blocks of all rows are affected slightly by the boxes projecting into the field of view a little.

Changes for the current production:
This is THE place to see the show from, as plenty of action happens at this level.

Central rows A to E (and F on "peak dates" and Saturdays) are "premium" priced. Your call, feels the monkey, who notes there are great seats beside or behind them for less cash.

The monkey saw the show from D12 and felt it one of the best views in the house. Those seats off the aisle - B and C 10, 11, 27, 28; D and E 9 to 12 and 28 to 31 give prime views at non-premium prices, it feels. The short will also like A 9, 10, 26 and 27 for the same reason.

Rear rows are NOT cheaper. The overhang of the circle above cuts the views of scenes taking place at the top the stage. At top price, rows H back are a last resort, it feels, particularly for this show.

 

Reader Comments:
"A 3 and 4: (Vicky). We sat in Row A of the Dress Circle, seats 3 and 4. These seats were absolutely fantastic and I cannot recommend them enough. Everyone should see this show from the front row of the Dress Circle if they can! Reviews of cramped legroom is absolute rubbish, there is much more room here than what you would get in a normal row. In fact we had room to put down our bags, coats and sweets in front of us! Fantastic show and view."

"A16: the view was magnificent with a completely unobstructed view of the stage. You don't even need to lean forward to see clearly!"

"A 17 and 18: "Shrek" (June 2011). Paid £45 each for preview tickets (in May 2011) and the view was unrivalled. Purposely chose Dress Circle over stalls seats as I presumed there would be large elaborate sets and dance routines, which there is! :) These seats offer an amazing view of the entire stage, and the central location is brilliant for seeing everything! The lack of a safety bar means you don't miss a thing and at 6ft 2, the leg room is more than ample (there is even a small ledge just below knee height you can rest your feet up on!)."

"A17,18 and 19: "Shrek" (June 2011). The seats were fantastic! We had a perfect, unobstructed view of the entire performance! We weren't too sure about booking them after reading reviews saying there is no leg room in this row, but decided the view was more important. We were very surprised then to find there is plenty of leg room! In fact, people weren't even standing up to let others by. My husband is 6' 2" and often struggles with leg room but he had plenty too."

"A24: (James - regular contributor). Front row of Dress Circle was perfect for view and legroom."

"A26 and 27: Outstanding view, every aspect of the stage was seen so clearly and there was no annoying safety bar."

"B 29 and 30: "Oliver" (December 2008). These seats offer a brilliant view of the stage. As the stage adjusts the Dress Circle in my opinion offers the best of both worlds at this show. A major downside of these seats was the lack of leg room (I'm 5ft 9), which made sitting through the show uncomfortable to say the least."

"C 1 to 3: Don't be fooled by the red squares on the seat diagram, Row C seats 1, 2 and 3 of the GRAND CIRCLE are amazing. The legroom is plenty, in fact I could stretch my whole legs at an angle and I still wasn't disturbing the people next to me. And the view is amazing. Because of the circular setting of the theatre, you can see everything on stage (and above) and you feel a part of the play. If the moving stage is being used in the show you are seeing, these seats (or ones similar) would be my choice because when the moving stage is high, if you're in the stalls, you have to tilt your head up where in these seats we looked down or straight ahead. For £25 (heavy discount - editor), totally worth it!"

"C10 and 11: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (December 2013).We had exceptionally clear sight lines, with nothing obscured at all. Despite the scale of the theatre you felt close to the action and not detached at all. The seats were very comfortable, with ample leg room for us both. I saw in the aisle seat and had particularly good leg room. I was very impressed with the standards of the theatre."

"C12 and 13: “Oliver!,” (James - regular contributor). They are fantastic seats. The Dress Circle feels lower down compared to other theatres or perhaps the stage is just high, but either way it’s on an excellent level to see the performance. Leg room is good and the sound is fantastic from here too."

"C17 and C18:  'Oliver!, (James). Excellent!"

"C18: This seat definitely requires a 'green' coding as it provided a great view of the stage and was well worth the £25.75 I paid for it. For Shrek I notice that this seat is going to be £95! This seems an extortionate amount to pay and I personally wouldn't pay it."

"D19 and 20: bang in the middle of the row and in TM's green area too! The seats were excellent with a great view of the huge set, although it was a little obscured at times by the head of the rather large gentleman sitting in front of me. But I suppose that's the luck of the draw, isn't it? Legroom was fine, not as good as if you were sitting in the stalls, but more than adequate. I would like to sit in the front row of the Grand Circle again, just for the spectacle! Given the choice I still prefer the front few rows of the stalls, though."

"D 22 to 24: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (May 2013), (Brian). Great; legroom acceptable – possibly best area in the house for this performance. Sets are out of this world. I suspect the first half might be better from Stalls, but second half has got to be way better from Royal Circle – sets with Ooopah Loompah's and Squirrels just brilliant. If you take kids, get in early and ask for an inflatable booster seat."

"D30 and 31: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (May 2013). Superb view, and enough leg room even for me."

"E21 and E22: “Oliver!,” (James - regular contributor). Great!"

"E 30 to 32: "Charlie and the Cocolate Factory" (August 2013). Dress Circle seats were very good and had a lovely clear view of the stage."

"F18 and 19: “Oliver!,” (Anne Hysted). I bought these from a coach operator for £37.50 each. Very central, we thought these seats were excellent. The Grand Circle does have quite a shallow rake but I don't agree with the comment that from Row F back it seems a long way from the stage, perhaps it depends on the production but we had a great view, didn't need opera glasses although they were available. Leg room not bad at all, have had a lot worse - I'm 5'8" with long legs and I was fine, I guess anyone taller might have found it a bit cramped but it's rare to have generous leg room in any theatre seat."

"Row H: Dead centre gave me a full view of the stage, literally the edges of the walls bordered the set. The leg room is OK, and it allowed me to look down slightly, so I got the impact of the on stage projection and lighting."

"Rows H, J and K: "Oliver" (December 2008), (Group Organiser). We got so called £62.50 seats for £35 so can't really complain; but it is obviously just a clever way of filling seats that they have not been able to sell for the top price by giving the impression they are at a big discount when really they should have been priced at a second rate in the first place.

We had a block of seats in rows H J & K ( we were sitting in J), and were so far from the stage that it was not possible to see faces to be able to identify who was playing Oliver or The Artful Dodger." On a second visit, the reader was far happier with his seat in row G.

"K3 and K4: We got them half price at TKTS half an hour before the show started (the matinee on 24th November 2007). View was absolutely fine and for £32.50 were really good value. Could see the whole stage and set really well and didn't feel like we were all the way over at the side."

"Row L: (Peter Grant). Our particular seats (which were described as "best" and appeared to be normally full priced - now reduced, editor) were in row L of the Grand Circle, but have a very restricted view of the top of the stage. They don't actually miss any action but they do miss some of the atmosphere which would be created from seeing the entire stage."
 

Dress Circle Boxes
Called Royal Circle Boxes in this theatre.

Layout:
Boxes J to P are arranged across the back of the Grand Circle.

Boxes B, C, BB and CC are at the sides of the Dress Circle between it and the stage. B is the Royal box and is double height. BB matches the design architecturally on the other side of the theatre.

Legroom:
Good as all seats are movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
Boxes J to P:
These offer average views of the stage, being affected by the overhang of the Upper Circle. When sold at third price or less, they are a good value, preferred alternative to the rear stalls as they are raised above the seats in front (and are a private space away from crisp-munchers) least.

Boxes B, C, BB and CC:
C and CC offer the best view of the stage, then B and BB. Frankly, choose central seats first as around an eighth of  the stage is not visible from any of these boxes. When sold at third price, they are a good value, preferred alternative to the rear stalls.

General Hazard Notes:
Top stage is missed from boxes J to P, side stage from B, C, BB and CC.

Side stage boxes B, C, BB and CC could have speakers placed in or near them, making them noisy and further blocking views.

Changes for the current production:
Side boxes A and AA and rear boxes M and N are not used.

B, C, BB and CC are top price. About fair, but better views elsewhere.

Boxes J, K, L, O and P all have reduced seating capacities, losing two seats in each box for some reason. Still, for privacy at second price, about fair, feels the monkey.

Reader Comments:
"Box CC: (Daryl). I can 100% say if this box is let out at £20 it is well worth it! (not a usual concession - editor). I've had the box to myself twice now and the view is stunning from here. Yes, about an 1/8th of the left of the stage is cut off, but  much of the show is symmetrical so you can quite easily picture the other side. I'm an avid box user, as I've said before elsewhere on this website, and this box doesn't fail to please: a great view, great space, privacy and a fab sound quality."


UPPER CIRCLE
Called the "Grand Circle" in this theatre.

Layout:
Like the Royal Circle, the Upper Circle is split into three blocks - centre and two sides - by aisles.

A short row of slip seats either side extend from the front of the circle, down the sides of the theatre, towards the boxes.

Seats are raised on steps.

The balcony overhangs the Upper Circle at row E. The view of the top of the stage is affected by circle overhang from row H back.

Legroom:
Just barely adequate in all seats except row A - which is very cramped. One reader goes further in his report:
"Upper circle row J seats 12 & 13 at The Theatre Royal: I am 5ft 8, my friend 5ft 6 so we're not that tall and we found the leg room a bit cramped, how people 6ft and over cope is beyond me!". This was echoed by other readers for rows B, D and K too. One reader noted that the aisle seats in the side blocks, next to the centre aisle, from row B back, have a bit of space to move a leg into.

Choosing Seats in General:
Quirkily, rows A to D feel quite close to the stage.

Centre Block:
Best seats are rows B and C 13 to 28, D and E 13 to 28, and row A 17 to 32 in that order.

Row A loses marks for legroom comfort.

Moving back, the rest of the seats at least offer clear views for all but the shortest.

Row K of the centre block offers good value when cheaper than the row in front but having a very similar view. Take K over J and save a few pounds!

Rows K and L seats 12 and 29 are behind pillars. They offer fair value at a lower price. If you can bear the restricted view then choose row L over K for the slightly better view for this production in the monkey's opinion. The pillar is thick and directly in front of the seat in row K, so you lean further over to see around it. Those in row L will lean less and be a bit more comfortable in the monkey opinion. It also felt that seat 12 was slightly superior to seat 29. DO REMEMBER, though, that these are restricted view seats - you won't see the whole stage from them...but many pillar seat fans may well be happy here. 

Side Blocks:
Slips at the edge of row A offer a poor view - looking down at the stage through the thicket of projecting boxes, as well as poor legroom and are worth avoiding!

In the main blocks, as in the Royal Circle below, the first and last few seats in the side blocks of all rows offer grotty views and poor value with the edges of boxes intruding into the view at the extreme edge of the stage.

The first and last 2 in rows B and C if discounted are worth a thought - as are the ones in A if legroom isn't an issue. Otherwise, the rest are possibly the most worth avoiding given that there is no discount now to make it bearable.

Otherwise, try for the most central seats you can. Oh, and do consider the single seats right next to the aisle on rows B and C in particular (plus A if nil legroom isn't an issue). Always cheaper due to views through a rail, which doesn't bother bargain-hunting monkeys a jot...

General Hazard Notes:
Each aisle has a low bar at the end.

A very shallow rake makes row F back seem a long way from the stage, and annoys shorter persons trying to see over those in front.

Row D seat 1 is haunted, but never after 6 pm and only if the theatre is full. The gentleman is an elegantly dressed, white wigged man who moves from his seat, across the gangway, and through a wall. A skeleton with a dagger in its ribs was found behind this wall in mid Victorian times. His appearance during previews is a good omen for the production.   

Changes for the current production:
The front of the circle has a large projection box strapped in front of A13 to 35, with a load of lights beside that, stretching to seats 8 and 41. The view of the stage isn't affected for those of normal height in row A or B, but a shorter child may be conscious of the stuff being there. The monkey noticed it, testing B 13, 14, 27 and 28. The black box lines up with the front rows of the stalls, well before the stage, but combined with the lack of legroom, go a couple of rows back - C is pretty safe.

Some very tempting restricted view seats are also available at the front of the circle. B and C 11, 12, 29 and 30 are as cheap as the front row of the balcony above. Unusually, pairs of tickets are available (normally only the single aisle seat is reduced). Slightly cramped, but the taller person in a pair (provided they are not over 5ft 9 or so) will enjoy the aisle seat with a shorter companion getting a slightly better view beside them. Two short folk will also like the two row A seats in front of these at the same price. Readers rave about them too.

Restricted view seats at front the extreme edge of the circle are not discounted as far, but again provide a close view at a lower price than usual - same rule about the taller person taking the aisle applies.

Further back, rows back to K are all second price. The monkey would avoid row K in favour of cheaper row L behind - same view, less cash - but you will see the whole show from here, unlike rear stalls which will miss things thanks to the overhang down there.

Row L is well priced for that very reason. If you can do without being able to put your feet under the seat in front, these are way better than rear stalls for view, the monkey feels.

Row K and L "behind the pillar" seats have been set to be sold as pairs at second to lowest price. K and L seats 12 and 29 are behind pillars, the seats next to them are not so badly affected... Take K 13 and 28, or if you need a pair, L 12 and 29 first (in row L, 12 is slightly superior to seat 29). Then take the other seat in each pair as required. Not a bad deal, feels the monkey.

 

Reader Comments:
"A, B, C and D 12 and 29: (James) The double height safety bar at the aisle affects the view in seats A, B, C and D 12 and 29. Not particularly badly, but would avoid these and sit around them."

"A13 and 14: "Shrek" (June 2011). We were completely amazed with our view. We got these seats for £15 on an offer they had in action during the previews (now expired, editor). The view from our seats was faultless and we could see absolutely everything without fail. Plus, being so high we were able to hear everything in the theatre and the sound was good! I would definitely recommend these seats and I wouldn't hesitate paying £45 for these seats had they not been in the offer."

"Row B: "Centre. Good for the price."

"B6 and 7: Leg room was just about adequate for me (5'10'') and view was great, but the very front of the stage was blocked by the balcony, and when most of the acting which took place at the front was happening, we all had to lean forwards to see."

"B10 and 11: "Shrek The Musical" (June 2011): I am six feet tall and my knees were pressed up so hard against the seats in front it was very uncomfortable. I see 4 or 5 shows a year and this was the most uncomfortable seat I have sat in. The person with me is only 5’4” and found that if the person in front leant forward, she could not see a lot of the stage. We paid £39.50 for each ticket and the person in seat B12 (restricted view) only paid £14.95, but they could stretch their legs in the aisle and their view was only partly obscured by a small safety rail."

"B12: Before the show everything seemed fine but as soon as the performance started my view was restricted by the safety barrier. At 5ft 8 inches I do not regard myself as abnormally short but I must have been a distraction to the people behind as I was ducking and stretching to see what was happening on stage".

"B12: "Oliver" (opened January 2009), (Martin). My tickets says: "Slightly Restricted View". There was only a safety barrier next to me, that's all. That is a restricted view? Very nice. At home in Austria (where I live), this would be a 'First Price' category seat! The legroom was frugal but OK for me. Normally I´m looking for tickets in the stalls, but I was interested in seeing the show and the beautiful set from higher ground! The view was fantastic, the sound was good, crystal clear but sometimes a little bit to gentle for my taste! Mr. Safety Barrier and me become close friends because he promised not to bother me during the show, and I promised him not to encroach on him as a hat stand! When you're looking for an attractive offer and there's nothing available in the stalls, ask for 'the slightly restricted view,' and I promise you won't regret it!"

"B12 and 29: can be great if reduced due to some complaints over a safety rail. A bargain, particularly when you consider the surrounding seats are often £40+ and the only other seats at that price are either far to the side in the slips/extreme edges of the circle or behind a pillar!"

"B29: (Mike from Shropshire). Sat in B29 in the upper circle for £5. What a bargain!!! Yes, the handrail is in your view but because of the nature of the production, much of the action takes place in the raised revolving set so you don't need to look around it very often. If you are a perfectionist and expect a clear view, then avoid it but for far LESS than all the seats next to me, it is definitely worthwhile! Even at £15 it is still well worth the money but I wouldn't be surprised if the producers don't decide to increase the value of this seat to 'one less than surrounding tickets."

“C26 and 27: : “Shrek,” (Chris B). These seats are obviously much cheaper than the dress circle and stalls and it is easy to see why. To begin, you don’t even go through the theatre but a special side entrance that seems more like a fire escape than stairs up to a theatre. Once up there, the steps to your seat are very steep downwards. These seats are in the central section of seats, on the aisle on the left hand side. There is sufficient legroom (for me at 5’8”) but any taller and you might struggle, or sit in the aisle seat. As for the view, I guess it’s a bit of pot luck. If the people on the two rows in front play ball you’re ok, but we had a family with young children in front and they insisted on climbing on their parents knee and holding their hair up etc so the view did get restricted quite a few times. With it being a kids musical, it’s hard to begrudge this, but I’m glad we only paid the reduced price for these seats.”

"C26, C27 and C28: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (December 2013). Paid £49.50 via See Tickets. We don't normally go for Upper Circles anywhere but we chose these after reading some positive comments on theatremonkey and were very happy with them. The seats do feel quite close to the stage and you get a very clear view of the cast and the action, much better than I'd have expected from an upper circle. The extreme front of the stage is only just in view from these seats but nothing happens there apart from a very brief piece of action right at the start of the second act. If the audience in row A of the Grand Circle lean forward, their heads can get in the way of the view of the stage in part though. Sound was fine and legroom for 5'6" was adequate. I thought they were good value at the price and would probably book these again over stalls seats at Drury Lane at a higher price."

"C27 and C28: View was excellent and legroom perfectly adequate for two people of 5’6” and 5’8” respectively. A word of warning - the Upper Circle steps are quite steep and there are no handrails or anything else within grabbing distance if you slip, so if you’re not good on steps, give yourself plenty of time to find your seat before the last minute crowds."

"C29 and C30: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (June 2013). Are apparently obstructed by the rail at the front of the circle so badly that they have been reduced down to the lowest price bracket available. I have to say, my partner's seat in 30 was hardly restricted at all, and the rail, though in the way, didn't affect me at all throughout the show. I am 6ft and so could see over it, but frankly, I felt chuffed that these seats are selling for £25 when both behind and directly behind are going for over £50. Whenever I'm next heading to Drury Lane for a cheap visit, I'll definitely return to these! Bargain for being surprisingly close to the stage!"

"D23 and 24 had a decent view (slight obstruction due to person sat in front) but slightly cramped for legroom."

"D29: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (June 2013), (Paul). Great view, BUT at a couple of key moments the double height safety bar at the bottom of the aisle got in the way of any action at the front of the stage. Most notably, when Charlie won his ticket... That had to be viewed through the bars... Not good, I don't think, to pay £50 to be distracted, though not overly so admittedly, by safety bars. However, safety bar aside it is a great seat - clear view (except the very front of the stage), set slightly into the aisle so no heads in the way and extra leg room. For me, as a long legged creature, the extra leg room was very welcome."

"E11 and 12:"Oliver" (December 2008).  I thought these were really good seats for the view but not for legroom. I was very uncomfortable and most others also appeared to have their knees crushed up against the seat in front. The sound from here was also very poor and at times could hardly make out what was being said."

"E21 and 22: Excellent views from E21/22. Only one gripe, the seats are rock hard and at a strange angle."

"G29 and 30:  "Shrek" (June 2011). Nothing wrong with these seats at all, a very good view of the stage. Not masses of leg room but I didn't hear any complaints from my partner who is 6'4" so it can't have been that bad!"

"H 29 and 30: (N Ansari). Our budget was limited so we went for these and were not disappointed for £35. The view was great and I made use of the binoculars to get close ups of the actors faces. The scenery is really bright and you don't miss anything from this view. My only bug bear is that the higher (and cheaper) seats seem to attract families, so be prepared for some added noise and rustling of sweets."

"J21 and 22: "Oliver" (December 2008). I would avoid these seats in the future. Although these seats are classed as the second highest price bracket, I would recommend paying the extra! These seats are just too far back, the atmosphere is lacking, and the leg room is more cramped than the dress circle. The only plus side to these seats was view of the stage, and even that was limited."

"K 24 to 28: Were wonderful. Felt like I was near the stage and fantastic view. Leg space was not bad for me considering I'm 5''2 but my friend who is 5''8 had more of a problem".

 

Upper Circle Boxes
Called the "Grand Circle Boxes" in this theatre.

Layout:
Boxes D, E, DD and EE are above boxes B, C, BB and CC at the sides of the theatre; high up at a level between the Upper Circle and Balcony.

Legroom:
Good as all seats are movable chairs.

Choosing Seats in General:
Boxes E and EE are the better of the bunch, but should only be a first choice for those wanting more legroom at Upper Circle prices - the actual view is restricted slightly.

Sold cheaper, they represent particularly good value if priced at near Balcony price for extra legroom and lack of ironwork spoiling the view. Then, these are a good budget option.

General Hazard Notes:
Side stage is missed from all boxes.

Spotlight operators may be billeted in some boxes, providing a distraction and perhaps blocking views.

Changes for the current production:
Boxes D and DD are not used.

E and EE are about adequate for those wanting a little privacy away from the younger / noisier crowd and can accept a slightly side restricted view.

Reader Comments:
"Box EE: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (June 2013) (Rachel).  We were lucky to be the only two in the box. I disagree with the suggestion that the side of the stage was missed - it was such a small segment of it that (maybe just for this show) we didn't appear to miss anything at all. For the same price, we were also offered some of the back rows of the stalls quite far to the side and I chose the box over these because I felt a possible lack of view was better than sitting forward to be able to see over heads; not that I'm overly short, but I want to have a clear view of the stage without heads constantly moving in front of me! With free reign in the box, we were able to angle our chairs at the front of the box so as to give us the best possible view. Having never sat in a box, I liked the fact that I had legroom and space and didn't have to worry about anyone marring my view or me marring anyone else's.

Some people may not like the fact that you an catch sight of a stage hand on occasion, or that it is slightly easier to see how some of the effects are done however for me, I enjoyed this. It did not deter or distract from the performance at all, just personal interest. It was a lovely spot to sit and watch audience reactions to some effects that, if you weren't sitting in the front/front middle of the stalls you wouldn't get the full effect anyway, for things like the confetti shower."
 



BALCONY
THESE TICKETS ARE OFTEN BOUGHT BY TOUTS / SCALPERS FOR RESALE. THEY ARE THEN PASSED OFF AS DRESS CIRCLE (first balcony) SEATS - WHICH THEY ARE MOST CERTAINLY NOT!. DO NOT PURCHASE FOR MORE THAN FACE VALUE OR FROM UNAUTHORISED SOURCES. 

Layout:
The balcony overhangs the Upper Circle at row E.

Like the other circles the balcony is split into three blocks - centre and two sides - by aisles.

It too has a very shallow rake and is very high above the stage, inducing vertigo in many people. Reader Jean Marshall felt that:
"the balcony was steep enough to give a good view of the stage, but I wouldn't have wanted to be at the back".

Legroom:
Just
tolerable in all seats except row A - the very tall won't be happy up here in any seat, though. Extra comfort can be had taking seats on the central aisle and row B seat 38 - except for the tallest!

One person felt that, "I could see very well as each row was raised up, but if I had been taller than 5ft 6 here, I would have been uncomfortable where I sat in row E."

Choosing Seats in General:
Remember that this is the Balcony, and even £25 will not provide the same (or even close to the same) view as a £65 stalls seat might.

Row A and B seats are sold at bottom price to make amends for safety rails restricting views. If you can stand the legroom, sit in the centre block of row A for a very cheap and surprisingly close view.

Centre Block:
Best seats otherwise are rows D to F 13 to 27. Row A loses marks for legroom comfort and view, rows B and C because inconsiderate folk leaning forward could be a problem - though B may still be worth a try at bottom price, feels the monkey...but only if you can intimidate folk in front to behave.

The rear two rows offer very distant views from all seats, being far from the stage. Skip them when they are the same price as rows in front - the comparison makes them a "red" warning rating to the monkey mind. A last choice or as an option if you don't fancy paying less to lean through bars or peer round pillars.

Side Blocks:
If priced the same, go centre block before side blocks naturally, in true Theatremonkey style!

Then choose seats as close to the centre aisle as possible, rows D to F first.

As in the Upper Circle, the first and last few seats in the side blocks of all rows offer grotty views and poor value. Only the extreme ends of rows C to E (if discounted) are excluded - because they potentially offer little extra legroom from the aisle, combined with being sold at bottom price to compensate for a slightly restricted view of one side of the stage.

General Hazard Notes:
It is a VERY long walk up about 90 stairs to this balcony... and that's after waiting outside (under a portico, admittedly) as the entrance is from the street, not through a foyer.

A metal bar runs across the front of this circle, triple height at the ends of the aisles in the corners.

Folk leaning forward to see over rails, blocking views for those behind.

Changes for the current production:
The end two seats in rows C to E are the same price as rows A and B - cheapest in the theatre. Take the seat 'one in off the aisle' for view, the one directly on the aisle for legroom, and take those off the centre aisle first. NOT a particular recommendation, but a way to get an aisle seat and sit further forward in the Balcony - plus save a few extra pounds - for the least picky, feels the monkey.

The whole of row L, and the side block seats in row K are the same price as seats in row C. A last choice.

At "off peak" performances, rows A and B (and the aisle seats in C to E discussed above) are cheaper than the side block seats in rows K and L. The monkey would take A, B and C to E aisle first. Save money and be closer to the front.

If left with rear balcony seats, the monkey would take K then L 6 to 12 or 18 to 34 (moving outwards from the most central seats of course) over the more expensive seats in front. Same view, fewer bananas, it feels.

 

Reader Comments:
"Balcony: (
Chris May). At twenty quid a ticket in the balcony I feel that if you are  in the centre block up there it's a fine view no obstructions. Binoculars are good for close up views. The only problem is that you may want to strip naked as its so bloomin' hot up  there. But it's worth the sweating for the cheap 20 quid. Plus if you can't walk well or like me had danced the night away for 4 hours non stop the  previous night don't expect the climb to the top to be an easy one.. The view of the actual show from row H is fine but you may miss the top of the sets". 

Row A: (Astrid - regular reader). We sat in row A for "The Producers". We thought the tickets were fine with a good view - we didn't really need the binoculars much. We did lean forward to look through the bars. My arms are still hurting from doing that, though."

"A 23 and 24: "Shrek The Musical" (June 2011), (Luke). I paid £15 quid for front row at a preview performance. The seats are 'what you pay for,' so you can't really complain. You really do have to lean forward, although with the show not been too long it doesn't cause major back pain problems."

"A23 and 24: "Shrek The Musical" (June 2011). 11th February 2012 - £20 each. These seats were awful, I will never sit here again because my back was hurting SO much after from the leaning forward. Okay, I paid £20 but I would still not expect to have such a bad back after the show after paying money. I also missed some vital parts of the show as the people behind us kept asking us to move back so they could see. Also the trek up to the balcony was mad and I simply would never do it again."

"B4 and 5: "Oliver" in January 2011. Now... These seats would have been perfect if it hadn't of been for the inconsiderate 'Ex cast members' sitting in front of us, All of which were children. This annoyed me immensely because none of them had any theatre etiquette. But as a result of this bad experience, I will not be sitting in the Balcony for Shrek when it opens. Sitting in the balcony also meant we had to enter the theatre through a special side entrance as the balcony isn't accessible from the main theatre entrance, This made me and my friend feel kind of a bit like peasants, Which isn't something I feel you should when you go to theatre as we had still paid £20 for a seat."

"B19: "Shrek The Musical" (June 2011). I decided to get balcony " must lean forward" tickets to save money. The Drury Lane is a huge theatre but you are not as far away from the stage as I expected. The sound is clear and enjoyable. You wont miss anything from the massive stage design and the best thing is, SPOILER ALERT you're able to be eye to eye with the dragon at the end of act 2. SPOILER ENDS.
A word on the 'lean forward' note. I am a smaller person (5ft 5") but it wasn't necessary for me to lean forward. I got the whole picture. It's a fair offer if you don't mind being seated in the balcony. The climb up to my seat was exhausting, but that was only because I got a quarter pounder before the show...(That quarter pound makes all the difference, notes the monkey, who uses Kendal Mint Cake instead)."

"C2: I specifically asked the Sales advisor if the seat had a restricted view as I would not have bought it and was told that it had not. In reality there was an hand rail running a couple of rows in front of me at the same height of my eyes. I complained and was very disappointed in receiving a very general standard letter back saying that following a review of the seating by the producer before and after the show they were advised that the seat did not warrant a restricted view classification or a seating notice advising about the safety rail at the front of row A. I did not quite completely understand what this meant, but I know that the safety rail partly obstructed my view. I recently noted that your website rightly describes this seat as restricted view. Unfortunately I discovered your very useful website only recently. I must say that since musical theatre tickets in London are not exactly cheap, I was very disappointed by what happened."

"Row D: (James). Would agree strongly that row D centre block of balcony is a good buy - such a "big" show that being far away didn't matter. However, not sure how this will be for Oliver, which will obviously depend less on big spectacle and more on characters."

"D15 and 16: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (May 2014). Leg room can feel cramped, good view of the majority of stage as long as people in the more forward balcony rows don't lean forward. If you're seated in the balcony a lot of action takes place at the front of the stage so you miss what's happening."

"D 29 and 30: (Adam Walker). We sat in the Balcony row D 29 and 30. Be warned, the climb to seats from ground level is a big one, especially when you're faced with the curt warning of 'Showtime in 2 minutes!' Leave yourself plenty of time to get in and settle back. Agreed, it is high up. But really the seats are excellent value for money (especially in preview price). You see the whole set from here, and you're looking down on it, so really you don't miss a trick - and it's awe inspiring to see the set at work (more on that in minute)."

"D27: I was sat on row D of the Balcony seat 27 which sounds really high up, which in some ways it is but for a show of such enormity I wouldn't have wanted much closer at all, it was a brilliant seat to be honest, although it was very hot and a long walk.  I can't really pick a fault at these seats apart from when somebody stood towards the front of the stage I missed it due to the person's head in front of me, but that was only once or twice."

"E 13 to 20: ("Oliver). as the lovely lady a the foot of the stairs told us "you'll need to take a big breath to get up there but we've got a great show waiting for you once you've made it!" Only problem with being so high up was that, on occasion, you could see the heads of people onstage who would otherwise have been obscured from the audience's view by the set."

"F 25: "Shrek" (June 2011). I checked with my West End guru (Theatremonkey website and book – if you haven’t got a copy – BUY ONE now as it’s superb!) and this seat was in the green so went for it! I paid £25 from Seetickets as there were no discounts anywhere to be found on stalls seats.

It is high up but I held like grim death to the rail and was OK! Once seated I was pleasantly surprised at the view. I could see more or less the whole stage and everything really well. 'A result,' I thought! THEN the tallest woman in Britain arrived with hair to match. Cheryl King Cole’s (or whatever her name is) recent hair do had nothing on this. The ozone layer must have been damaged with the amount of spray holding it up. So, throughout the show she ALSO kept leaning forward, a phenomenon I’ve heard of but never experienced before, thus almost blocking my view. Fortunately (not for her!) the lady to my right was getting vertigo and we held on to her as she escaped to stand at the back! I could then move my head around to the side to avoid the ‘hair’. I was conscious however, not to lean forward or move around too much due to those behind being blocked. I’m 6ft 3” myself so a smaller person wouldn’t have stood a cat in hell’s chance of seeing much with giant wig woman in front!

Then to top it all, after the interval she came back with the obligatory Shrek ears attached to the top of her head resting on the very top of the hair, that’s how stiff it must have been (I did not indulge in a pair myself!) Now, at this point I was getting ‘bad thoughts’. I consider myself to be a compassionate/kind/loving/friendly/peaceful, Baptist Church attending Christian who would do anything for anyone BUT, I was having fantasies of getting a giant pair of garden shears and firstly shredding the Shrek ears into a million pieces, then moving onto the hair!!! Following this psychotic fantasy I went onto thinking how I could stop all this EXTREMELY selfish leaning forward behaviour, what about a SEVERE electric shock if someone’s back leaves the back of the chair I thought ;) Anyway at least I loved the show."

"Row H: I booked two seats at the centre of row H of the Balcony, and was initially worried about the distance from the stage. However, pleasantly surprised, I seemed to have picked the perfect row: the whole stage could be seen and only once did we need to lean forward"

"Row J: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (June 2013), (Taljaard). Seats not too bad at all, the free booster seat for my nephew was great, missed about 30 seconds that takes place in the Stalls at the start of act 2. The sound was brilliant."

"J13 and J14: "Shrek" (June 2011). Long way up but seats (14 being an aisle seat) were well worth the money we paid. The view to the stage was not obscured by heads in front, and we could see virtually every part of the stage. Leg room minimal, I am 5'9" and was just about okay. Row J, centre block, probably one of the best places to be on the balcony."

"J24: I had plenty of leg room, but I know other people didn't as the two ladies beside me ended up moving so that they could put their feet over the seat. The view was great - I could even see some facial expressions! The only problem is if someone sits on the edge of the stage - literally the whole balcony leaned forward. Actually the other bad thing about being so high up was that it ruined some effects, if you can see behind the set.

My other complaint about the seats up there - they're all connected very firmly. Normally this is not a problem, but in this case anytime the people next to me moved, they brought my seat with them - this was particularly uncomfortable during the interval. Also, I felt it anytime the person behind me moved their leg because they moved my seat. Luckily I wasn't able to notice it too much once the show started!"

"Row K: "Lord of the Rings" (in May 2007), (Zoe). It was very high up, and very hot, but at only £10 a ticket was excellent value. I have to admit though it is probably even better when you are closer."

"K3, 4 and 5: "Oliver". are just about as far away and as high up as you can get. The legroom was OK (didn’t come away with bruises on the knees) and the heat bearable. I think for this sort of production some distance from the stage is good, you can almost the full depth (lot’s of it at the Theatre Royal) and width easily to appreciate the choreography. The walkway was partially obscured as was the top of the stage meaning we missed the very occasional bit of action on one of the bridges if it was particularly high. Sound levels were reasonable, but some vocals were lost behind the orchestra."

"K20 to 22: (Teresa Gustafsson). these seats are marked red but I disagree. I admit it’s pretty high up but you have a totally clear view of the stage and don’t miss out on anything except maybe facial expressions, but with the binoculars you can have that to. The only bad thing is if you are afraid of heights, like my friend, because it’s a lot of steps to climb!"

"Row L: At first I thought it would be a nightmare being so far back, but the Producers is not an intimate show and you don't miss out on the action by being there. We shared a pair of binoculars to get a few close up looks at the dancers costumes etc... I must agree it gets HOT up there, and the seats are very cramped so get an aisle (not that it's any worse than other theatres!)"

"L 22 and 23: "Shrek" (May 2011). They were in green on the seating plan so I knew they would be OK. Really good view, even when the odd person leant forward. Very cramped but didn't mind as the view and sound made up for it :-)"
 



Notes

Total 2200 seats approx. 

Air-conditioned.

Infrared headsets available, working best in the central stalls - get the technicians on the current show to improve this says the monkey; Signed and audio described performances occasionally. Printed matter available in Braille. Wheelchair access via a firedoor but no step for a change. Guide dogs can be dogsat. Unisex adapted toilet available. Kept locked - ask for key. Fuller details www.theatre-access.co.uk, Bookings via www.seetickets.com, or 0844 412 4648 or  e-mail  access (put the @ symbol here) seetickets.com.  Artsline 020 7388 2227, email artsline@dicon.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.

Food: a café plus confectionery and Ice cream. 5 bars: Stalls, "Saloon" at Grand Circle level, 1 Upper Circle, 2 balcony.

16 toilets; Stalls 2 gents, 3 ladies, 1 disabled, Grand Circle 2 gents, 2 ladies. Upper Circle 1 gents, 1 ladies. Balcony 2 ladies, 1 gents.

A further ghost, theatremonkey's hero Joe Grimaldi, haunts the stage and kicks lazy and poor actors in the rear end as appropriate. Rumour has it that the spook retired with exhaustion after dealing with a problem during the run of "My Fair Lady" in the early 2000s... but the monkey cannot confirm that...

 

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
Nearest Underground Station Buses Car Park
Nearest Underground Station:
Covent Garden - Piccadilly Line (dark blue).

An ILLUSTRATED PHOTOGRAPHIC version of this route is available by clicking here.

For mobility impaired audience members, the Society of London Theatre provide a "photo map" - illustrated walking route to this venue from a near landmark and also Waterloo Station (the nearest fully accessible station) on their website www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk, via the theatre's listing page on that site.


On leaving the station, turn right and walk into the large pedestrian plaza that is Covent Garden. If you see a long road with cars in front of you, wrong way.

On entering the plaza space, turn to your left and walk along the collonaded area (cut across if it is not raining!). If you see Tesco Metro Supermarket or a bank, Wrong way.

Keep walking ahead as far as the collonaded area will allow (it forms the outer part of the market Square). Follow it to the right. At the end of the building is Russell Street. Walk along Russell Street, crossing one road, until you reach a street corner with the Fortune Theatre to the left and the Drury Lane theatre ahead of you on the opposite side of the road. 
______________________

A photographic illustrated version of an alternative route from Temple underground station is available by clicking here.

 

Buses:
6, 11, 13, 15, all stop on the Aldwych. Walk towards the Novello Theatre and walk up the street next to it, uphill, past the Duchess Theatre. Drury Lane Theatre is on the right side of this street, at the end corner. If you see the Aldwych or Lyceum Theatres, wrong way.

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a long distance from the theatre. Best chance of hailing one in the street is to walk down Catherine Street to the Strand / Aldwych.


 

Car Park:
Parker Street, under the New London Theatre. Exit the Car Park and stand with your back to the main foyer of the theatre. Cross the road ahead of you and turn to your right. The street corner is there ahead of you. If not, wrong way. At the corner of the street, Turn left into Drury Lane and walk along it. If you pass the New London Theatre, wrong way.

Walk straight on, crossing Great Queen Street. Continue down Drury Lane. Please cross to the other side of the street and continue, crossing over Broad Court and Martlett Court until you come to a four way crossroads.

Turn to your right at these crossroads. Do not cross any street. Just walk ahead down Russell Street. Cross Crown Court and continue straight on, changing to the other side of the street. 

The end of this street has the Drury Lane Theatre as its corner. Turn to your left at this corner to the Drury Lane Theatre entrance. This is in Catherine Street. and walking downhill, the Duchess Theatre is halfway along on the other side of the road. If you come to Covent Garden pedestrian piazza, wrong way. 

 

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

 

 

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