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Theatremonkey is a Londoner who knows the major West End theatres like the back of his paw.
See its' autobiography - a tragic but true
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Theatremonkey likes to think it is "monkeying about" with a
respected institution - the secretive world of London Theatre! The other reason
is personal and emailing a large sum to the monkey's bank will reveal it!
Why this site?
Theatremonkey has spent years talking to fellow audience members and has noticed how often
we get a raw deal as customers. From high prices for poor seats, to sitting through a third rate performance of a supposedly ' Top ' show, Theatremonkey
compared notes and, using the wonders of technology, put them on this unofficial private fan site.
So what is it getting out of this?
Theatremonkey loves London's theatres and is keen to encourage the world to share
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This site is totally independent,
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Nope, never. Theatremonkey is just
ordinary customers who, over the years found their own ways around.
How reliable is its Opinion?
Information on this site is
Theatremonkey personal, subjective opinion, based on what has been seen and heard over
many, many years it has been theatregoing and running the website.
Nobody knows everything and contributors are welcome
and strongly encouraged to add to the knowledge here. This site aims to be a
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Guests say about this website.
Explain your Seat Ratings?
Everyone is different and has their own preferences and opinions on what
constitutes good value. For this website, the seats
to buy / avoid ratings by the site writers are compiled based on a person five foot six tall, paying
full price for a ticket. Recommendations are based on view of the stage, value for
money and (dealt with in greater detail elsewhere) comfort
- often expressed as the "legroom" factor.
Some folk are confused by the colour codes employed on the seating plans. As
one regular reader puts it,
"I take green seats to be the ones that might
be worth choosing first, white ones a second choice and red
a third because the monkey has a comment to make about them".
And that about sums up the intention of the site. The idea is NOT to grade
seats "good, not so good, bad" but instead to highlight those that
merit particular comments to be made about them.
The monkey takes a cautious and conservative approach to this charting, and
for that reason some comment that tickets are better than the site guide
indicated. Great! The monkey is delighted that a reader felt they had
experienced "added value" in thier outing. Far better to be pleased
than disappointed...and if you are pleased, do share with other readers: contact
Can you help me pick between / describe the differences between two seats?
The site offers an overview of every venue, plus as many comments as it receives
about each one from other readers. Only you can decide if it is worth handing
over your hard earned bananas for a seat, so personal instinct is honestly the
best policy! Consider your own needs in terms of legroom, price and whether you
are trying to have a special or simple evening out...and the answers should
become clearer than even "Mystic Monkey" could help you with!
I'm larger than average, can you help on locating suitable seats?
A page of advice is available by
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The monkey has to be careful about copyright. Where it has obtained
permission, it uses graphics. Otherwise it generates its own!
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Seating Plans - not like in the theatre?
seating plans are copyright. To avoid any conflict, Theatremonkey has created
its own using carefully written notes from site visits rather than copying in
any way existing plans.
How often are pages updated
/ what happens if they are not?
Theatremonkey has the ability to update pages at any time during opening
hours - and does so whenever it has new information to add. Changes that result
from a production closing are usually made late on a Saturday afternoon.
Occasionally, for technical reasons, it isn't
possible to update pages as quickly as it would like. In those cases, please
excuse outdated / incorrect information - it will be altered as the earliest
Pop / Music Venues too?
Long overdue for comment in Theatremonkey's opinion and while being honest about the theatres, why not use the space.
What No Opera Coverage?
The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has a large and devoted following who are often forced by high prices to seek only the affordable seats - Slips at the very top edges of the theatre and the farthest recesses of the Amphitheatre. They know these are at least cheap and offer a way to hear the music and see what they can.
The official Royal Opera House website also has an interactive seating plan now,
allowing visitors to check the view from many seats all over the venue.
Also, the monkey knows nothing about this specialised art form, so does not
feel it can attempt to cover it!
A reader says,
"I must say that the http://www.roh.org.uk/
interactive seating plan is wonderful....it is incredibly honest and even lets
you know if a head may be in the way.... Oh, and for the record I saw a ballet
there from row T of the amphitheatre - and although I was far away I had a great
view (I remembered the binoculars!!) the legroom was great but my view of the
stage un-obscured and being that far away, you really do appreciate the
choreography.(£15 a seat). Also note that there are NO binoculars in the seats
so people may be disappointed. this is not mentioned anywhere on the ROH site.
Folding paper binoculars are available in the shop for £2 and actually do an
"Hoverfly: a life on the edge of the seat" at
facebook.com/HoveringLife, twitter.com/hoveringlife or
https://plus.google.com/103720238167228257499/posts reviews ballet and dance
from the specific perspective of one seeking cheap seats, commenting on both the
productions and what she thinks of where she sat for them. The blog covers the
ROH, Linbury Studio and London Coliseum, among many others.
Why don't you cover the Globe Theatre?
The Globe has a unique and wonderful website www.shakespearesglobe.com
which actually allows you to look at the stage from every section of the theatre seating.
http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/about-us/virtual-tour. With coverage like that,
a theatremonkey report seems a little unnecessary! Look under
"Booking" on their website for this useful information. A seating plan
is also available
www.londontheatre.co.uk showing numbering.
One reader says of the place, following a first visit,
"must remember next time to get seats in Row A where you can lean forward, or
Row E where you can lean back. We were in Row B in the middle on the lowest
level which was a great view but the lack of back support was a bit of a problem
“A6 and 7: “Henry V,” (Chris B). These seats have
a side on view of the stage but as they are the front row, they allow for a good
clear view of the stage. This is a very unique venue, and you almost feel
privileged to be part of such a historical building. They are far enough to the
right to avoid looking directly at the large pillar holding up the front of the
canopy over the stage. These seats are also raised so you can easily see over
the many people standing in the ‘yard’. As it is primarily Shakespeare performed
here and most are 3 hours plus, I’d recommend getting a seat and also either
hiring a cushion or sitting on a coat etc as the seats are very uncomfortable
(essentially wooden boards). I wouldn’t say these seats are perfect by any
stretch but you are close enough to hear everything, see most of it, even if
from a side view, and of course covered if it rains. Plus they are very cheap
which is always good.
Regular reader Taaljard weighs in with, "Sat in
the from row of the lower circle, perfect view for "Richard II" in 2015.
Another reader adds, in 2016: 28th May 2016, "The Taming of the Shrew." Yard:
It’s simple: Pay just £5 for a standing only ticket. Be 2 hours early to queue
for a spot directly at the stage. Be ready to duck from actor’s spittle (almost
every performance) or large amounts of fake blood (Titus Andronicus). Yes, it’s
somewhat uncomfortable and exhausting to stand for so long, but the immediacy of
being so close to (and sometimes in the middle of) the action makes it
worthwhile. Experienced "groundlings" bring a little stool for queuing.
"I'm a great big fatty, and tall too at 6'3". I notice that you don't say
anything about the Globe, or their new indoor theatre the Sam Wanamaker
Playhouse. I've found both to be very comfortable if you go for tickets in the
front row of whatever section you're in."
"AA 4 (Romantics Anonymous - December 2017): This was my first visit to the Sam
Wanamaker Playhouse and depending on the production, I would certainly go again.
I was limited on my choice of seat, so I chose what I thought was the best seat.
In fact this seat is excellent. Seating is on benches and I was at the end near
the aisle on the front row, which is just above stage height, so you look
slightly down on the stage. The seat gave me an excellent view of the stage and
the actors were so close, that you could almost touch them. Leg room was
adequate for a person my height 5' 10", but someone taller might be a bit more
cramped. The seats are functional, rather than comfortable and I was glad to get
up and have a walk in the interval."
Why don't you cover other particular London venues?
The reason alas is time, space and cost. The monkey has only limited amounts
of all these, and it has to draw a line somewhere. While it would be great to
cover more places, the monkey simply can't afford the resources to do so. It
would hate to add somewhere and then not be able to monitor changes as they
happened. Rather than post information that could be years out of date, it
currently would rather not disappoint readers...so it "sticks to the
knitting" for the time being.
Some venues are now improving things for themselves. A reader writes,
http://www.cadoganhall.com/seatingplan.html now have a ‘’view from seat’
function, which enables you to ‘see’ the sightlines to the stage from various
(As it is primarily a concert venue, I would have thought the most important
thing would be the sound, but that is another matter) From a brief view, and my
own knowledge of the hall it seemed pretty helpful.
On the venue itself the reader continues,
"As the Cadogan Hall has been relatively recently renovated into a venue, they
have been able to pay attention to the seating, without structural compromises –
the seats are comfortable and ‘good’ everywhere so they are proud to show them –
though I would personally avoid those right down the front, because you either
get a fabulous view up a soloists armpit or strain to see the back region of an
"We have visited there a few times and have to say that even in the cheaper
seats at the back it is very comfortable, nice seats, lots of leg room and also
the sound quality is good. That is I suppose, as long as you do not sit behind
one of the pillars! They do have a good view from your seat application though,
so you know what your getting."
Of the "Little" space at Southwark Playhouse, a
"Superheroes -Southwark Playhouse, The Little - Superheroes (July 2017),
"There are no numbered seats and you sit where you like. The seating is bench
like and I chose to sit in the front row at the end of the row. The theatre is
very intimate and from my seat I had an excellent view of the stage."
New Wimbledon Theatre: A reader opines,
"My own personal comments are that at Wimbledon I used to sit as close as
possible in the Front Stalls but recently I have found that the front of the
Dress Circle is now my favourite. With an ATG Card I can often get significant
discounts on those seats, especially at evenings early in the week and at the
mid-week matinee. I have only once sat in the extensive Back Stalls (for Matthew
Bourne’s ‘The Red Shoes’) and it was horrendous, with my sight lines seriously
blocked by normal-sized people in the rows in front of me. Never again! I have
never sat in the Upper Circle. Wimbledon is good to see tours of large-scale
Richmond Theatre: A reader says,
"I once sat in the front row of the Dress Circle near the end and it was very
uncomfortable as the row curved sharply and the arm-rests on the seat were
pointing towards each other so there was scarcely room for me to squeeze my
ample girth into the seat. These days I always sit in the Stalls as close as
possible. The stage is rather high so A row requires a bit of neck strain but
one gets used to it and again with my ATG Card I often get good reductions for
certain performances. I have never sat in the Upper Circle. Richmond has a more
specialised programme including pre-West End try-outs (‘The Best Man’ with
Martin Shaw being a recent example) and niche productions like Sasha Regan’s
wonderful all-male Gilbert and Sullivan operas."
The London O2 arena at the Millennium Dome:
Due to the size of the venue, the monkey isn't planning
full coverage at the moment, but will keep the idea under review.
To book, a "choose your own seat" system is available once initial
sales have finished at the main
venue website www.theO2.co.uk. Don't forget that seating in the centre of a venue often
isn't fixed until the very last second as stages are portable and nobody quite
knows where equipment will go - hence nobody has total plans online because
crystal balls are in short supply, alas!
The monkey finally took a look in June 2019. It wasn't impressed. Legroom is
tight for those over 5ft 7 or so except in the centre ground area, where those
up to 6ft should be fine.
For stage at one end events:
At ground centre arena level, the stage is very high - above head height for
someone 6ft tall. There is no slope or tier or off-set to any seats, so those
more than 10 or so rows back can expect little. Block A row X is about the same
as being in row V of the London Palladium for distance to the stage. Once past
row D of block B, your chances of really seeing the stars are low.
In the lower tier, level 1 blocks 101 to 118. First, very, very steep, and
you enter from the back row and walk down. Rail across the front of row A will
be in view for those in A and B, possibly C. Another rail runs in front of row
H. If in 101, 102, 111 and 112, choose your entrance door carefully. There are
2. 1 marked, one not. Pick the wrong one, and you have an embarrassing walk
along the row. Read numbers on a small sign above each door. Don't bother with
the staff - they are rude and don't know anything.
Choosing level 1, you want rows D to F, to no higher than about 64 in block
102 / no lower than 153 in block 111. Much further round, you are miles from the
front, and if you are going up the sides, by row N you are a good way from the
stage in all blocks. If they have corners of 113 / 118 on sale, front rows of
those can be a decent close-ish view of the stage at "stage at one end" events,
even if it is behind the stage a bit.
For arena events, again, just go for D to F as closest to the show.
Level 3 boxes are all miles from the stage. Even those closest to it won't
get much of a close-up view.
Level 4 is just high and steep. As in, higher than the rear balcony of the
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Even the front row is in a different post-code, and
if the stage is at one end, block 412 is on a different planet.
A reader reports,
" personally I wouldn’t go for the upper tier seating – it is very steep and not
particularly pleasant – you know it’s bad when you see people coming down the
steps backwards (true I swear!)"
Three other tips:
Arrive 1 hour 20 before the show to clear security searches. Ignore instructions
to only put bags and phones in the plastic box before metal-detector. Empty your
pockets of ALL metal, including keys. Use the time in line to do this, decanting
stuff to the Ziploc bag you have brought with you for the purpose after reading
Inside, if they change most toilets to "ladies" for the show, the only gents
on level one is near block 108.
After the show, if heading for the underground station, look for the long
line to go in, marshalled against the wall. Head instead at a diagonal to your
left for the bus station. Once under the bus station canopy, turn right. You can
get into the tube station from there.
The London Coliseum
The monkey took a visit in 2015, and noted the following:
Stalls: The circle does not overhang any seats except boxes D to L. Stalls have
steps rather than slope between rows, quite shallow but seats are well staggered
to see between those in front. Seats also narrower than those in the dress
circle. Row Q is in an alcove at the back. No aisles at the ends of rows from D
Rows A to D at the outer ends of the side blocks have a private door to them, if
you know how to reach it (use the side corridors leading to the stalls boxes,
follow round to a big door just beyond them, saves a lot of pushing past in
those rows!). From row E back, the seats are right against the wall, so no
The "restricted view" seats at the ends of rows are due to speakers / lighting.
Only the outermost seats in B and C miss much, the inner two are total bargains
usually, felt the monkey. The end one may lose a bit, but has legroom...
Legroom is fine up to 5ft 11 or so, B and C 1 and C 39
have nothing in front. The seats beside them - 3 in B, 1 in C, may also have
nothing in front, depending on the production. With nothing in front, those end
seats in row B has less legroom than C, as the seats are closer to the orchestra
Stalls boxes A and B have side views and miss the stage edges, as do C and M
further back. D to L are in a horseshoe at the back and have a decent view over
seats in front.
Dress Circle: Circle above overhangs at row B,
can't see surtitles from H back, lose the very top of the stage at J and
significant top at L. A very shallow rake to seats, except L, on a high step. C
2 and 51 have nothing in front. D 1 and 53 are angled at 45 degrees to the
stage, with no legroom for a quarter of the seat, unlimited for the rest. D1 is
slightly better angled. Side block aisle seats nearest the centre block have a
little space for one leg to stretch into from row C back. Row L end seats have a
step in front of them, allowing longer legs to dangle a bit. Side block seats
row A 1 and 72 look past lighting. Close to the stage, though.
Legroom is nil in most of row A, 1 to 3, 15 to 38, 70 and 71 in particular. A 4
to 12 and 62 to 68 are OK to around 5ft 5, even 5ft 7 if willing to use toe-room
(not for the monkey, though). Side block B and C, except those with nothing in
front are OK to around 5ft 6 or so. Other seats in the main blocks from B to L
are comfortable to 5ft 10, K to 5ft 8, at least.
Dress Circle boxes have side views but seem excellent.
A reader says of "Sunset Boulevard" in April 2016, "We chose £75 'restricted
view' seats in the dress circle on row C (44 and 45). View was great even is it
was off to the side a little bit - didn't miss anything."
Another reader notes,
"“A21 in the front row of the Dress Circle was excruciatingly uncomfortable for
2½ hours of "Boris" without an interval. There is even less leg room than in A
row of the amphitheatre at Covent Garden and the effect is rather like being
clamped in a vice with no possibility to move one’s body or legs whatsoever.”
One more opines,
"H33: "Man of La Mancha" (May 2019) I originally purchased a seat at the back of
the balcony for £15.00, however due to poor audience numbers on the night I went
the Balcony and Upper Circle were closed so I was moved to this seat in the
dress circle for the same price. Obviously the view of the stage was better and
it was easier to see the expressions on the faces of the actors and the seats
were were comfortable, but I still prefer the Balcony. The theatre is well
raked, but I did not find the leg room very good and I am only 5' 10", so a
taller person would have struggled."
Upper Circle: Circle above overhangs at row B,
can't see surtitles from H back. No legroom in any seat for anyone over 5ft 5
except: C1 - 60% clear in front, B 1 and 51 and C56 - 100% clear. A 1 and 43
have no legroom at all. Boxes have similar views to dress circle.
Balcony: High and misses sides or front of stage,
depending where you sit. Seats are set high on the old concrete steps, so
legroom isn't bad for those under 5ft 6 (just avoid end seats in rows A to C),
and row K is good for those up to 5ft 9 plus. End seats in row K - 1, 6, 7, 19,
20, 32, 33, 45, 46 and 51 have no arm rest on the aisle side, allowing further
"Stalls C5 and 6: "Chess" (May 2018). Found the sound really bad - could not
hear the ensemble at all - the first person we could hear clearly was
Alexandra Burke, apart from Michael singing Anthem at the end of the
first act. The screens were so annoying and were out of sync so I spent
most of the time looking down. The camera men were in our way as well.
We had the back view of Michael when he was playing Chess. Also felt
most of the artists were singing to the cameras and not projecting their
voices to the audience. We were able to move to some empty seats in the
centre at interval and the sound was better but still could not hear the
ensemble clearly - thought they were singing in a foreign language."
"Stalls G3: "Bat Out Of Hell" (June 2017): Regular reader Tonyloco opines: "I was in G3 in the stalls for which
I paid £65 although seats almost alongside were £75. There was a slight problem
in that I couldn’t see the initial live scenes in Raven’s bedroom properly
although they were of course visible in the videos but for me the sound where I
was sitting could not have been better so I wasn’t really bothered by the
occasional obstructed view."
Stalls D3: "Bat Out Of Hell" (June 2017): In many ways
I loved the seat, felt very up close BUT you did lose any action to the right of
the stage which was blocked by a big speaker.
Also, couldn't see everything that was going on in Raven's bedroom, though that
was often picked up on the screen on the left of the stage.
Dress Circle "Swan Lake": C44 and 45 in the Dress Circle left. Excellent view,
very comfortable, and lots of leg room even for me at 6'2".
Dress Circle "Man Of La Mancha": D37. This seat is on the aisle but still has a
fairly central view of the stage. The seats are offset to minimise
the impact of heads in front (although I was lucky to have a clear
view anyway as the seats in front of me were empty). Legroom was
adequate, even without the benefit of the aisle to stretch your legs
into. I’d be quite happy to sit in this seat again.
Upper Circle K 38:
Seat was at near the back, but the view was excellent and there was plenty of
leg room. At this performance the Upper Circle was half empty and many people
were moving to more expense seats lower down in the Upper Circle.
Upper Circle B 39 and 40: May I advise never to
sit in B39 and 40 in the Upper Circle. I don’t know whether this applies to the
rest of B row but those two seats were appalling. The people in front of us in
the front row were not tall but they badly obstructed our view of the stage
whether they sat back in their seats or whether the leaned forward over the
front, which they did most of the time, often with their heads rested on the red
velvet. I had the choice to book row A or row B and I chose the second row
because your book notes restricted legroom in the front row. Well, as far as I
could see, the view was totally clear from A row and the legroom looked no worse
than it was in B row, which was quite tight. The people behind us in row C
occasionally gave the backs of our seats a good kick, which indicated equally
restricted legroom and was not conducive to enjoying the show. So if I ever go
to the Coliseum again I think I will always opt for the Stalls. I am also
usually happy in the Balcony for sight lines and sound – and price – but there
are rails obstructing the front rows and it is rather a long away from the stage
and a bit vertiginous for us oldies.
Another reader opines generally:
"the central stalls are good, the stage boxes have a one-fifth restricted view
but are great for close viewing, the top balcony cheap with bars in the way but
a value-for-money view of the stage for £5, and the sound and air-conditioning
are variable! The Upper Circle seats are now spaced as well as the stalls, but
the front row lacks legroom."
Another reader found box D very cozy.
"Upper Circle Box X: "Chess" (May 2018). We made sure we were on the left
side of the theatre so could see Michael Ball's face. The view was very good
although quite far away but good seats. The sound was better and they had
managed to sync the sound and the screens and the screens seemed smaller and not
on all the time. However the ensemble were still difficult to understand though
we did hear the odd English word."
Beyond that, the official website is at
www.eno.org - and the box office is on
020 7632 8310 (often answered by See Tickets).
The Kiln Theatre (formerly the Tricycle Theatre)
A visit by the monkey in September 2018 revealed the following:
The theatre is a standard "end on" shoebox, with stepped seating in both stalls
and circle. The circle overhangs around row K but doesn't affect views from any
Either side of the stage at both stalls and circle level are single rows of
slip seats. The slips have a side on view and no space to stretch legs out. Up
to around 5ft 6 downstairs, 5ft 5 upstairs. View is sideways and misses the near
corner of the stage. Best views are in the seat closest to the stage
(practically on it, in the stalls first two seats) and the rest of the
downstairs slips, or furthest away nearest the main seating in the circle slips.
In the stalls, rows A to C are flat on the floor, with D back on steps behind
that. The stage is below head height to those 5ft 6 or taller, though this will
vary by production. Row A has less legroom than rows behind as there is no space
to put feet under seats. Cramped for someone 5ft 7 or more. If B is the front
row, the same would apply.
Legroom is fine for those up to 5ft 11 or so in all other rows B to K. K has
considerably more with a wide aisle in front, suitable for any height. Legroom
in L to N is cramped for those over 5ft 5 or so, and no space to put legs under
The steps between rows in C back is not that great, but fairly sufficient.
Best views are from around F to J. Do note, though, if shorter that off-set
between seats, to see round those in front is excellent in B, F and J, and
acceptable from L back, but seats are almost behind each other in other rows.
Seats L1, N1 and N15 have nothing in front, L15 is 60% clear in front.
In the circle, legroom is limited in A - cramped if over 5t 6 or so, and
oddly even less in B due to a wooden runner at floor level. Rows C back have
decent legroom up to around 5ft 10, and the steps between rows are moderately
high, ensuring a good view. The monkey was impressed by C to E, noting only that
E may feel a little claustrophobic as it is in an alcove at the back. Still
great seats, it thinks, for view, comfort and price.
Alexandra Palace Theatre
(based totally on "first impressions" in March 2019). Feel free to give
an opinion, contact us.
The circle does not overhang the stalls, and nor do the side galleries. The
stage is a flexible space that can be widened to almost the width of the room
and brought forward, or left in proscenium layout.
Note that rows can be removed and added in both the stalls and circle slips
SL and SR.
Divided into front and rear sections by a cross aisle behind row K.
The blocks are divided into a wide central block and two narrower side blocks.
Rows AA to K are on an unraked (no slope) wooden floor. They are fixed chairs
with arm-rests, and are not off-set very much behind the row in front.
The stage is above head height to someone 5ft 9 or so. Those more than two rows
from the front will struggle to see past heads.
Side block seats are mostly outside the proscenium arch. Sit in the central
aisle seat and no more than two off the aisle for the best of the views here.
Legroom in this section is fine for those even 6ft and over – just hope you
don’t sit behind someone of that height, is the rule.
The rear section from rows L to U are a fairly well stepped grandstand section
reaching almost to the height of the circle front. The view does not feel to far
away from any seat.
Seating is comfortable, quite wide theatre seats. Row L is on the cross-aisle
with nothing in front and unlimited legroom. In other rows M to T, there is
legroom in all seats to around 5ft 11, and seats 6 and 25 in rows M to T have
nothing in front.
Row L is on the same level as rows in front, with M only raised a little behind
it. Monkey advice is to take rows from N or even O back, to see over the heads
of those in the front section. Centre block first, though sides are acceptable
The main section is at the back of the theatre, above and behind the stalls.
Between the front of the circle and the stage runs a single row of side slip
seats, hugging the side walls of the theatre.
In the main section, the seating is standard theatre style on steps. Legroom is
acceptable in all seats to those up to around 5ft 8 at least, and the view is
good, if a little distant from rear rows.
In the side blocks of the main section, the back row feels almost like a private
box, tucked quite firmly into the corner.
The monkey would take any seat in the main section, as rails are few (just on
the ends of rows from D back) and there appear to be few sightline issues.
Down the sides of the theatre, the slips, you will need to look sideways to see
the show, and those closest to the stage will miss action to the near side.
The slips alternate between those on the circle floor, with 9 seats in a row,
then 6 seats in a raised booth above circle floor height, then another 9 seats,
and another raised booth and another 9 seats.
Within the raised booth, the thick safety rail at the front restricts sightlines
more than seats at the lower level.
At the lower level, the spacing seems sufficient to see around the raised
booths. Be aware that if seated at the end of the lower level rows, the seat
closest to the stage each time may have a safety rail in the eye-line, which is
Legroom in all seats will start to feel cramped to those 5ft 6 or more – end
seats will allow you to move your leg sideways, though.
Slip seats are used or removed depending on staging and whether lighting is
The theatre is equipped with lavish toilet facilities leading off the main
foyer. You therefore do not need to use the first (crowded) toilets that are
encountered if entering via the main doors of the East Court entrance (to the
left of those doors as you go in).
Signage isn’t great, so be aware that from South Terrace, pedestrians go through
the car park and either in via East Court Entrance to the left of the car park
area as you enter it, or direct to the theatre entrance located around the side
of the building at the far corner (if that North Foyer entrance is in use).
The Roundhouse Theatre
In June 2012 reader
reports of "Twelfth Night,":
Circle A14 and B14: Excellent clear view of the extremely expansive stage. You
feel very close and the view is slightly side on but this makes no difference.
There is a safety barrier just to the right which can easily be seen around and
doesn't impact view. There is plenty of leg room, especially with both seats
being an aisle seat."
The monkey took a look in late 2018 and noted that the circle is pretty tight
in almost all seats for those 5ft 7 and above, except aisles and a few seats
with nothing in front in the central block. Seats C, D and E 1 look through
metal railings if the stage is at one end of the venue - but the advantage of
having nobody in front and being close to the stage makes them worth
considering. Also, seats on that end of the circle have a side aisle. If you are
on the highest numbers the other side, it doesn't - and it's fairly hard to exit
the place as it is.
Standing, the monkey noted that the vey sides of the stage didn't attract
standees until late, and that the pillars closest to it seems to provide decent
leaning spots. Otherwise, it is one heck of a crush and you won't see much from
a third of the way back or so, it feels.
Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch
A quick visit in 2018 showed that it's two blocks, with a wide aisle behind row
D, a tall rail directly behind it. There are steps between each row, but the
steps are around 5cm, so fairly shallow. Legroom is good to 6ft in all rows,
including the front row, and unlimited in row E. The stage is below head height
to anyone of 5ft 5 or more. It is a wide stage, so expect to look sideways from
central seats, and across from those off centre in rows A to D. Moving back, the
rail is in view in rows E to H, but doesn't affect sightlines that much. The
monkey would probably go for D forward or J back, though. Further back does feel
distant from the stage at about row L. The sound desk will bother nobody on row
R. Sit anywhere, with B to D 4 off the aisle inwards the green area, feels the
The Shepherds Bush Empire:
A reader contributes
"Stalls: I generally find the view not that great unless you manage to get right
up the front - although there are 2 possies either side of the bar with a step
that accommodates around 2 people each... so if you managed to grab that spot
you would have a great view.
Level 1: I much prefer level 1 and some of the best spots are around the sides
where there are 2 rows of seating and behind them a sort of wall with a leaning
bar - all give unrestricted views and allow you to stand up and dance (and easy
egress to the bar/toilets)."
Sadler's Wells Theatre:
A reader says,
"C8 and C9 in the stalls - bagged a couple of returns due to the snow, as it was
Production: Sleeping Beauty, January 2013.
Not much rake. The seat in front really was 'in front' - i.e .I was looking
directly at the back of someone's head, whereas usually in the stalls you are
peering through a gap where people's shoulders meet. The seats in front were
positioned same as mine, I had to swivel left and right to see certain parts of
the action on stage - not very good considering the £55 price tag per seat.
I would recommend that patrons book the row behind - Row D. This is stepped up
on a higher level and provides a clear view of the stage unhindered by people's
heads! Same price I believe.
Beautiful production, wouldn't have missed it for the world. But would rather
not sit in these seats given the choice!"
Another reader notes that the back row of the
upper circle is further away than most top balcony seats in the west end. A VERY
distant, though clear view, from up there.
Another reader says,
"I prefer to sit in the first circle instead of the stalls, as being further
back makes it easier to see action on all parts of the stage at the same time,
which is often important e.g. when two dancers separate and go off and do twirly
stuff (that's a highly technical term!) independently, and in ensemble pieces
covering the whole stage. With dance I think it's less important to be up close
to get a good view of the details of individual performers. Seats there have a
decent rake and only the mini-est of midgets will have his view blocked by
people in front.
And despite this theatre attracting a noticeably more petite audience than
others (plenty of amateur dancers, no doubt) the seats are comfortable for those
more suited by nature to the bar than the barre, and have plenty of leg room.
If you book 2 or more
productions in a single transaction, the Sadler's Wells / Peacock Theatre
multi-buy discount may apply, see
www.sadlerswells.com/multibuy for details.
Theatre Royal, Stratford
A reader says,
What a lovely old theatre. Keeping the local paintworks in permanent employment
producing untold gallons of red paint, the Theatre Royal Stratford sits in the
middle of a lot of new buildings, giving little clue of what awaits inside. And
inside is a little gem of a theare. Photos of old productions dominate as you
would expect, but going into the playhouse itself you find a lovely old theatre,
which is tall but at no point is anyone far from the stage, making the
performance an intimate one.
We would quite happily come back here to see more shows.
We had seats D1 and D2 in the stalls. Deliberately chosen, as D1 has a clear
view of the stage with no seat directly in ahead of it from the front three
rows. Ideal for those of a shorter stature.
The first few rows do that odd thing of sloping gently backwards so the rows in
front are actually higher than those behind, but the tilt of the seating means
that you get a decent view. As I said in my comments about the theatre, it would
not be possible to be far from the stage, so a reasonable view should be
possible from just about anywhere.
Row A look like a good choice to see a show. There is a good space between seats
and stage (handy in ‘Fings’ so some of the performers can flirt with the
patrons) and as the seats tilt back a little, neckache should not be an issue.
The Food and Drink:
It is always nice when you get the chance to dine at the theatre. And we enjoyed
the fare at the Theatre Royal Stratford East enough to say we’ll come back and
use it as a restaurant if we are in the area!
Aside from standard burgers, jacket spuds etc., they feature a small Caribbean
menu. I had the Curry Mutton, my wife had the Jerk Chicken and we had a side
order of Macaroni Cheese. And it was all delicious, spiced just right and the
Mac ‘n’ Cheese was thick enough to slice!
Drinks were courtesy of Blue Moon, Kozel and Addlestones Cloudy Cider. They have
a fair selection of bottled drinks, plus enough of a range of draught drinks
(though no handpump, unfortunately)
Interval ice-cream is Loseley – enough of a reason to go along in my opinion!"
Another reader says, in May 2016,
"The Government Inspector:" Next to the rather decrepit Stratford Centre, this
is a little gem of a theatre. Richly decorated, nicely furbished. B was front
row, I believe. Very good legroom and view. The seats are not very wide,
however, if neighbours are a bit on the large side it can get squeezed."
The monkey would add that there's also nothing in
front of A1 and C1 has space for one leg. Rows slope backwards from the stage
from the front row (A or AA) to D, and A and AA are on the same level if in use.
The stage height and offsetting of rows do compensate for this, though. Legroom
is OK up to 5ft 10 or so, and feet can go under seats in front.
The dress circle has no legroom at all in any
seat, so give it a miss if possible if over 5ft 5 or so.
In the upper circle row C has most legroom, then B, then D and E. Row A is cramped if 5ft 5
or over. End seats are comfy as you can turn sideways into the aisle.
The Young Vic
Theatre (main auditorium):
Bench seating, but a generous space allowed per person. Using the "In The
Round" layout, the monkey noted
that legroom is OK in the stalls - unlimited in row A, up to 5ft 10 or so in
other rows except the back row, which is raised and the audience puts feet on a
rail in front. Here (row D when the monkey went, but changes by production)
those up to 6ft should be fine. You get a better view thanks to the extra
height, too. The only other note is to try and avoid seats where the rows "turn
a corner" as they share legroom with next person along.
Upstairs, two rows. Aisle end barriers and rails
at the front don't affect views much. Those up to 5ft 7 should be OK in the
front row, but go for the end aisle seats where the theatre turns a corner for
an inch more legroom. Back row is cramped in all seats for those over 5ft5 or
so. It looks like there's room... until you put the seat down to sit on it...
When in "end stage" rather than the usual "in the
round" layout, the downstairs area is split into a central and two side blocks,
sometimes with two rows of two seats outside of that in the front corner, angled
to the stage. All seats are tiered, with steps between. The front section runs
from row A to C, with a wider aisle in front of D and a rail in front of the
side block row E seats.
Side block rows A to CC are worth skipping at top
price, as they have a side view and may miss action at the corners. The very
cheap extra seats provide exactly what you pay for - up to 75% view, again
depending on how the production is staged.
Row H is the dividing line across the entire
width of the stalls. That gives 2 seats on the two centre aisles unlimited
legroom. Elsewhere in the area, legroom is adequate to 5ft 9 or so, more in the
pairs of "extra" seats in the corner, which are raised benches allowing "dangle"
Behind row H, from J back to M the rows rise
steeply, decent views. Row M is just below the level of the first balcony.
Again, legroom is pretty reasonable, as in rows ahead, and the view is fine
The first balcony itself is unchanged, except
that only the rows behind the main seating block, plus part of the rows at the
side are used.
The Menier Chocolate Factory
A reader says, in September 2017: "A 16 in September 2017 (Adrian Mole, The
Musical). A great seat in the front row of the stalls. New patrons to this
theatre should be advised seating is in the form of benches, which are very
comfortable. As it was at the front there was plenty of leg room and the view of
the stage was totally unhindered. The cost of the seat was £45, but be aware if
you book early enough or for a preview standard seats as these are called are
considerably cheaper. Having experienced the front row in this theatre I would
not sit anywhere else."
The monkey notes this refers to the standard "end on" layout, and that this
venue has many other variations as required.
For "Barnum" in December 2017, seating is "in the round," and a reader says,
"Seat D 71, which was in the back row (Barnum). However, each block was only 4
deep. I purchased the seat at the preview price, which meant it was slightly
reduced and I would certainly do that again. For those that do not Know the
Menier Chocolate Factory, the seats are not individual, but part of a bench.
From my seat I had a very clear view of the stage, which for this production was
in the centre. Leg Room is adequate, but I think an aisle seat is better. It is
a small theatre and for this production, everybody is very close to the action."
And finally.... just for fun...
Chichester Festival Theatre... A reader commented, for "Gypsy" in
2014, "We were in N25 and 26. The new seats were very plush and very
comfortable. We were almost straight on looking at the stage. I have to say we
felt somewhat distant from the action and this impacted on our feelings for the
show." just in case anyone is interested!
Theatremonkey: A Guide to
London's West End. The book of the website.
To purchase a copy,
For enquiries from the media / anybody wishing to contact the author, or the
book retail or wholesale trade for bulk purchases, please contact:
The Theatremonkey.com office is unable to deal with these enquiries directly.
Is there a New York and Broadway version of this site?
Not by theatremonkey, no, though it sells tickets via
https://theatremonkey.tixuk.com/broadway-theatre with agency booking fees. Some sites exist that offer much of the same type of
information. Telecharge (www.telecharge.com)
offers a computer generated "view from your seat" facility when buying for some
venues. Not as helpful as it sounds, but the images are there.
offers some comments about seating, highlighting the best seats by price.
www.nytix.com also passes a
comment or two about where the best seats are in the house on each "about the
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/eopinions/browse.php?cat_id=3 offers a public
forum to post opinions of seats they have had as doe
For simple listings and disabled
access advice, www.livebroadway.com
are also helpful.
independent, objective, and comprehensive information that allows users to get
the best seats, the best prices, and the best service on Broadway tickets and
http://www.theaterseatstore.com has a short guide mentioning some big
Broadway musicals (and comparing deals with West End ones where applicable.
theatremonkey's "current special offers" page, lists local discount
offers to Broadway shows and how to obtain them. It also has "advice" seating
http://gonyc.about.com/cs/discountbroadway/a/emailtix.htm is a useful
list of discount
sources for Broadway. www.tdf.org
lists the shows likely to be available at Broadway's TKTS Half-Price Ticket
Booth for the week. www.bcefa.org
offer donated tickets to sold out shows at high prices, with the funds going to
https://www.broadwayroulette.com/ lets you take a chance to be allocated a
random seat for a random show at a discount.
The book, "The Back Stage Guide To Broadway" by Robert Viagas
published in October 2004 is also worth a look. It contains many useful tips and hints, plus a VERY brief guide to best /
worst seats in theatres (sounds familiar!). For seating plans, "Seats - 150
seating plans to New York Metro Area Theatres, Concert Halls and Sports
Stadiums" by Jodé Susan Millman (Applause Books) may prove helpful. Amazon.com
stock this one.
Deadly sharp re-written versions of shows are available at: www.broadwayabridged.com.
You decided to sell theatre tickets on this
Yes. The monkey finally capitulated.
Theatremonkey Ticketshop is run by LoveTheatre - a STAR member.
The monkey agreed to start selling tickets because it was satisfied that the
company meets it's own very high standards of customer service and conduct.
It may not be the cheapest option - and the monkey will never shrink from
saying so; but often offers and availability are unbeatable, backed up by a high
quality sales team. The monkey hopes guests will be happy with this feature.
LoveTheatre are open Monday to Friday 10am until 8pm (Saturday
10am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm) on 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom). (quote "theatremonkey ticketshop" when calling), and online
Other ticket agencies are also mentioned on this site. All are S.T.A.R.
members offering a choice of genuine tickets backed by "fair trading"
The phone number for my theatre is different from others
I've seen on leaflets / listings elsewhere?
Theatres use central telephone rooms to take bookings, rather than operating
small box offices within each individual venue. This means that when you dial a
particular theatre, you get put through to a single office owned and operated
either by the individual theatre chain or by an agency on their behalf. Sometimes the phones will be answered using the brand name, rather than the
individual theatre name. Theatremonkey always lists the most appropriate
telephone numbers, though, and never knowingly provides details of sub-agencies
in place of contact details for the the actual central phoneroom acting on
behalf of the box office.
Why Can't you comment on ticket availability?
Simply, the monkey is a regular theatregoing member of the public and is not
privy to box office information.
Unlike Broadway, London is secretive and does not reveal anything publicly
about how well a show is doing.
The best way to find out about availability is to call the box office direct
and ask. Mention specific seat numbers and see if they can offer them to you.
Even ask directly if seats go to Leicester Square TKTS to be sold at half price. They
will often tell you.
Leicester Square TKTS booth post their
day's ticket availability online, and for up to a week ahead. Go to www.tkts.co.uk,
and look to the "What's On Sale" option in the top menu.
Overseas visitors might also try using the online ticket agency systems to
see what they are offered. The monkey notes, however that on occasion these
systems only offer poor quality tickets. An international phonecall can prove a
Where does Theatremonkey sit when it goes to the theatre?
Wherever it can get a cheap seat! Seriously, given the choice the monkey
likes either the front row of the stalls, or the ends of rows where there are no
seats in front so that it can stretch, or aisle seats with a bit of space. This
is personal preference, nothing more.
What are the Theatremonkey Opinions?
The opinions are currently just that. A reflection of the views of an ordinary ticket buying member of
the public who chooses to comment on a show they have seen.
They are NOT written or drawn from professional critics (unless stated) or by anyone connected to the
industry or who is biased by being "star-struck" or having a personal
Those who contribute and / or compile the Opinions (the monkey and a small group of others)
follow a code of reviewing only the work on the stage, free of influence from
past performances, whatever the medium.
Readers are always welcome to add their comments too. Contact
Can I post information from Theatremonkey on my own website?
Sorry, no, not without the express permission of Theatremonkey.com. The
seating plans and text on this site are subject to the international laws of
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This site wants to offer a catalogue of visitor experiences. Tell
it your opinions of the tickets you bought, the people who sold them to you, the show you saw and the theatre you watched in, the place you ate in beforehand, the hotel you stayed in. Anything not
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