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

OLIVIER THEATRE


IN REPERTOIRE:

KING LEAR (play)
CONTAINS BRIEF NUDITY.
Ends 2nd July 2014
Runs 3 hours 20 minutes approximately.
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR PERFORMANCES AFTER 3rd JUNE 2014 OPENS ON 17th APRIL 2014
Captioned performance: 19th May 2014 at 7pm.
Audio-Described performance: 17th May 2014 at 2pm (touch tour available on this date - as box office for details).

 

 

 

A SMALL FAMILY BUSINESS (comedy)
Ends 27th August 2014
Captioned performances: 22nd May 2014 at 7.30pm and 3rd August 2014 at 2pm.
Audio-Described performances: 30th May 2014 at 7.30pm and 31st May 2014 at 7.30pm (touch tour available on this date - ask box office for details), 9th August 2014 at 2pm (touch tour available on this date - ask box office for details).

 

 

 

 

MEDEA (play)
PART OF THE TRAVELEX £15 SEASON.
Previews from 14th July, opens 21st July 2014. Ends 4th September 2014
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OPENS ON 17th APRIL 2014
Captioned performance: 19th August 2014 at 7.30pm.
Audio-Described performances: 29th August 2014 at 7.30pm and 30th August 2014 at 2pm (touch tour available on this date - as box office for details).

 

 

 

THE JAMES PLAYS: "James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock," "James II: Day of The Innocents," "James III The True Mirror." (plays)
PART OF THE TRAVELEX £15 SEASON.
Previews from 10th September, opens 25th September 2014. Ends 29th October 2014
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OPENS ON 17th APRIL 2014
Captioned performances: 8th October 2014 at 7.30pm, 12th October 2014 at 3pm, 22nd October 2014 at 7.30pm.
Audio-Described performances: 4th October 2014 at 2pm (touch tour available on this date - as box office for details), 18th October 2014 at 2pm (touch tour available on this date - as box office for details) and 7.30pm.

 

 

 

TREASURE ISLAND (play)
Performances from 22nd December 2014
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OPENS ON 17th APRIL 2014

 

 

King Lear: Whichever of the King's daughters praises him the most gets the biggest slice of his fortune. So why does his favourite remain silent? Simon Russell Beale gives us his shot at Bill the Quill's famous father creation. Sam Mendes directs. Cast also includes Kate Fleetwood, Anna Maxwell Martin and Olivia Vinall as the sisters.

A Small Family Business: Jack McCracken finds that taking over his father-in-law's firm isn't going to be easy - not with the family on the make and a detective on to the whole thing... Alan Ayckbourn revival, with Nigel Lindsay in the lead and Adam Penfold directing.

Medea: Jason has left Medea, his wife, and their children. She has already given up her home for him. Now, she has a day to take a terrible revenge. Ben Power creates a new version of the Euripides play, with Carrie Cracknell directing.

Treasure Island: Pirates in search of treasure. Robert Louis Stevenson's writing supplies this year's seasonal treat. Suitable for ages 10 and over.

The James Plays:
"James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock": The struggles of a King trying to restore order and fortune to a kingdom he had been exiled from for 18 years.
"James II: Day of The Innocents": How can a King with only one trusted advisor keep his hand on the crown?
"James III The True Mirror.": Can a good Queen restore the reputation of her profligate husband in time to avert civil war?
Three plays by Rona Munro presented in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival.

 

Theatremonkey Opinion:

King Lear: (Seen at the afternoon performance on 12th April 2014). To sit as close as the monkey did to Simon Russell-Beale as he berates Kate Fleetwood (Goneril) to the point where she is literally quivering with fear counts as one of the most 'electric' moments in its theatregoing memory. In fact, to be as close to the stage that it felt every vibration of marching feet, caught every eye movement, was to all intense and purposes almost "in" the thing, was exciting. Oddly, more so occasionally than the action.

For this is a Lear in which the man himself diminishes rapidly both in the script and against the vast scope of the production itself. An enormous cross set into the floor and extending into the auditorium is a symbol of just how bold this production is - because it seems of ineffective significance as the immoralities unfold upon it.

Few other pieces of set - the odd desk, bed, table are required. The space instead filled with actors, whenever upstage is not hidden to play a brief sequence. With an elongated first half and overall running time of around 3 hours, the cinematic quality of this approach is emphasised, creating a mixture of panning and zoom shots.

The pace is as relentless as film through a projector, and moments of quiet reflection are lacking. Interestingly, the production benefitted from a scenery mishap around an hour in. Rather than weaken the play, the unscheduled pause - in what is usually 2 hours straight through - proved a welcome respite for cast and audience alike, and it noticeably refreshed both.

There is plenty to enjoy. Aside from unhappy Goneril, Anna Maxwell Martin (Regan) and Olivia Vinall (Cordelia) prove equally watchable - Martin in particular finding a particular streak of viciousness the monkey hasn't seen an actor extract before from the role. Their father Russell-Beale adopts a "cliff-like" approach, his decent from the insanity of despotism to the insanity of illness rapid yet entirely credible. 

Mention must also be made of Adrian Scarborough's Fool - a cunning politician hiding in jester's (well, comic lounge suit) garb; and the pairing of Tom Brooke and Stephen Boxer, who together supply an excellent emotional counterpoint to Lear's own father / daughter relationship.

Yes, it's possibly too big a stage and in fact not a visually epic enough work to fill the space; but the emotion is present, the time flies (unlike the set - the monkey blames the work-experience help...) and those who manage to get tickets should find a notable if not classic event well worthy of note.
 

A Small Family Business: Not available - the monkey felt it too old, having attended the world premiere of the play in the same venue in 1987... Reports are that Nigel Lindsay and Niky Wardley do well with all the reviewers, but other characters are either praised for their comedy abilities, or felt to be too thin to be credible, depending whose opinion you read. The play itself is considered dated - what shocked in the 1980s has rather been rubbed away by the internet, which struck the monkey as sad. Still, the structure itself holds up, and the overall feeling is that it's a rare chance to see a properly-staged full scale revival of a work which hasn't come around often... unlike some of the characters, perhaps...

Medea: Not available.

The James Plays:
"James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock": Not available.
"James II: Day of The Innocents": Not available.
"James III The True Mirror.": not available.

Treasure Island: Not available.
 

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

.

 

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.

King Lear:
7pm: 17, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 April 2014; 1 (NT Live), 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 19, 23, 26, 27, 28 May 2014; 3, 5, 6, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 23, 27, 30 June 2014; 1 July 2014.

2pm: 13, 19 April 2014; 7, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 May 2014; 4, 7, 8, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 June 2014; 2 July 2014.

 

 

A Small Family Business:
7.30pm: 14, 15, 16, 24, 25, 26 April 2014; 2, 3, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 29, 30, 31 May 2014; 2, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26 June 2014; 4, 5, 23, 24, 31 July 2014; 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 15, 16, 26, 27 August 2014.

7pm: 12 June 2014.

2pm: 9, 16, 26, 27 April 2014; 3, 4, 14, 21, 31 May 2014; 1, 18, 25 June 2014; 5, 24 July 2014; 2, 3 , 9 , 10, 16, 17, 27 August 2014.

 

 

Medea:
7.30pm: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 July 2014; 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19 , 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29, 30 August 2014; 1, 2, 3 September 2014.

7pm: 21 July 2014; 4 September 2014.

3pm: 27 July 2014.

2pm: 26, 30 July 2014; 6, 13, 23, 30 August 2014.

 

 

 

The James Plays:
"James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock":
7.30pm: 10, 11, 22, 27, 30 September 2014; 8, 14, 23, 27, 28 October 2014.
12pm: 25 September 2014; 25 October 2014.
3pm: 19 October 2014.
2pm: 27 September 2014; 4, 8, 11, 15 October 2014.

"James II: Day of The Innocents":
7.30pm: 15, 16, 23 September 2014; 4, 7, 11, 15, 21, 24 October 2014
4pm: 25 September 2014; 25 October 2014
3pm: 12 October 2014.
2pm: 1, 18, 29 October 2014.

"James III The True Mirror.":
8.15pm: 25 September 2014; 25 September 2014.
7.30pm: 19, 20, 24, 26 September 2014; 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 22 October 2014.
3pm: 5 October 2014
2pm: 22 October 2014.

 

 

 

Treasure Island:
7pm: 22, 23, 26, 27, 29 December 2014; 6, 7, 16, 17, 20, 21 January 2014.

2pm: 27 December 2014; 7, 17, 18 January 2014.

 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form


For all productions, except those in the "Travelex £15 season":

Stalls
row A to C £15
Centre block stalls rows D to R £50
Side block stalls
rows D to M all seats except the innermost two in each row £39
rows D to M innermost two seats in each row £50

Dress Circle
Centre Block rows A to D £48, rows E to G £39
Side blocks
Row A seats 19 to 24 and 60 to 65; B and C 20 to 25 and 59 to 64; D 21 to 26 and 58 to 63: £50. All other seats in rows A to D £39, rows E and F £28, row G £15

FIRST TWO PREVIEWS of each new production
Stalls 
row A to C £15
Centre block stalls rows D to R £27
Side block stalls rows D to M £27

Dress Circle
Centre Block rows A to G £27
Side blocks rows A to D £27, rows E and F £22, row G £15

"Treasure Island": Under 18's seats half price on all tickets priced over £28.


OTHER PREVIEWS of new productions
Stalls 
row A to C £15
Centre block stalls rows D to R £32
Side block stalls rows D to M £32

Dress Circle
Centre Block rows A to G £32
Side blocks rows A to D £32, rows E and F £26, row G £15

NOTE: £15 tickets for any production not included in the "Travelex Season" will be limited to 2 per customer, per production. The only exception is that two extra £15 tickets may be purchased for accompanying under 18s.
 

 

 

 

 

For productions in the "Travelex £15 season" each Summer:
ALL PERFORMANCES EXCEPT FIRST TWO PREVIEWS of each new production:

Stalls
row A to C £15

Centre block stalls rows D to R £35
Side block stalls rows D to M all seats except the innermost two in each row £25
rows D to M innermost two seats in each row £35
 

Dress Circle
Centre Block rows A to C £25, rows D to G £15
Side blocks rows A to G: £15

 


 

FIRST TWO PREVIEWS of each new production (plus any filmed performances)
Stalls 

row A to C £15 

Centre block stalls rows D to R £25
Side block stalls rows D to M all seats except the innermost two in each row £20
rows D to M innermost two seats in each row £25
 

Dress Circle
Centre Block rows A to C £20, rows D to G £15
Side blocks rows A to G: £15

 

"The James Plays" also have bench seats on stage, price £15 each.

 

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.nationaltheatre.org.uk
operated by the venue itself.
For most productions, the system also allows you to select an exact seat in the theatre, and also view the auditorium via photographs taken from various positions within it. Note that the tickets offered may differ between phone and online sources.

PUBLIC BOOKING FOR "Medea," "The James Plays" AND "Treasure Island" PLUS PERFORMANCES OF "King Lear" FROM 3RD JUNE 2014 ONWARDS OPENS ON 17TH APRIL 2014. PUBLIC BOOKING IS NOW OPEN FOR ALL OTHER PRODUCTIONS AND PERFORMANCES.

Also for most performances you can buy a voucher online for a programme too - exchangeable at the theatre on the day.

When collecting tickets, the automatic ticket dispensing machines don't work if you collect your tickets within around 40 minutes of the performance time. This is because the theatre print out uncollected tickets around that time, and you have to collect them from the theatre's information desk instead. So, if the machine won't print them, go to the Olivier Information Desk (NOT the general box office) and they should be there.


Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:

A £1 charge is levied per booking to cover postage. Avoid it by booking in person or enclosing your own stamped, self addressed envelope with a postal booking. Reader CC notes that the Box Office don't mind this, though points out that you don't get the smart envelope, nice bit of cardboard and pretty leaflets with tickets, well worth the extra few pence, if you send your own.

Reader CC also notes that,
"It's worth mentioning that often discounted restricted view seats (if they occur due to a production's staging) are never offered online, only by telephone or in person. I asked why this was and was told that in the past when they were sold online with no involvement from members of the BO, despite stating there had a restricted view, there were too many people booking them and then complaining that they weren't told about the view etc, so they are now only available by telephone where a person can describe in detail what it's like for each play."

Other Online Choices (with S.T.A.R. genuine ticket agencies):

Theatremonkey Ticketshop, Encore Tickets, Londontheatredirect.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk all sometimes have allocations for productions in this venue. A booking fee will apply, indicated at time of enquiry.

www.Seetickets.com Offer seats for many, though not all, National Theatre productions, with a 10% booking fee per ticket and £2.75 per booking, not per ticket, service charge.

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: 020 7452 3000. fax: 020 7452 3030
Operated by venue itself.

When collecting tickets, the automatic ticket dispensing machines don't work if you collect your tickets within around 40 minutes of the performance time. This is because the theatre print out uncollected tickets around that time, and you have to collect them from the theatre's information desk instead. So, if the machine won't print them, go to the Olivier Information Desk (NOT the general box office) and they should be there.

PUBLIC BOOKING FOR "Medea," "The James Plays" AND "Treasure Island" PLUS PERFORMANCES OF "King Lear" FROM 3RD JUNE 2014 ONWARDS OPENS ON 17TH APRIL 2014. PUBLIC BOOKING IS NOW OPEN FOR ALL OTHER PRODUCTIONS AND PERFORMANCES.


Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:

A £1 charge is levied per booking to cover postage. Avoid it by booking in person or enclosing your own stamped, self addressed envelope with a postal booking. Reader CC notes that the Box Office don't mind this, though points out that you don't get the smart envelope, nice bit of cardboard and pretty leaflets with tickets, well worth the extra few pence, if you send your own.

Reader CC also notes that,
"It's worth mentioning that often discounted restricted view seats (if they occur due to a production's staging) are never offered online, only by telephone or in person. I asked why this was and was told that in the past when they were sold online with no involvement from members of the BO, despite stating there had a restricted view, there were too many people booking them and then complaining that they weren't told about the view etc, so they are now only available by telephone where a person can describe in detail what it's like for each play."

 

For personal callers or by post: Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX
No booking fee for personal callers.

 

Special Access Needs Customers:
Wheelchair users and other registered disabled theatregoers can book their seats on 020 7452 3000. fax: 020 7452 3030. Deaf customers can use Minicom 020 7452 3009 Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm too. Enquire about concessionary prices that may be available, details of access and facilities. The wheelchair users line connects directly to the theatre box office in London. See Notes.

www.nationaltheatre.org.uk is the official theatre 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.

Reader Kevin notes that this is a:
"Fab theatre and excellent seating more or less where ever you sit."
 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Notes
STALLS 

Layout:
The Dress Circle does not overhang the stalls in this theatre.

The theatre has a fan shaped auditorium.

There is no proscenium arch; the stage is open and vast.

The centre stalls are a single block bisected by an aisle. This aisle normally separates only rows D to R, but occasionally centre seats are also removed in rows A to C.

Either side of the centre stalls are side blocks in self-contained slightly elevated wings. Side blocks curve to face centre stage. The stage extends to the front of them.

Side block seats are a single block with no aisle at the row ends nearest the centre of the auditorium.

All seats are raised with steps between each row - except A to C, where there is a minimal height difference between rows and no actual step.

Legroom:
About adequate for most in all seats, as there are "toe spaces" in front of all rows from D back. Some taller people still find it cramped, though.

Row A normally has unlimited legroom, as does B in the side blocks directly in front of the stage, if the stage is normally configured.

B12 and 33 have nothing in front usually, B13, B32, C13 and C33 have space for one leg at least, depending where the row in front is aligned for a particular performance.

Rows B and C in the centre block have less legroom. Those of 5ft 7 or more could feel uncomfortable.

C7, 8, 38 and 39 have significantly less legroom where they curve towards the row in front. Space to tuck feet under the seat in front, but nowhere for knees to go. Those under 5ft will be most comfortable here, the monkey feels.

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
Rows A to C in the front centre block stalls are narrower than other seats, and do not have armrests.

The stage is normally low, making A acceptable.

Both rows B and C are O.K., with C slightly better, being a little further back (less neck ache if a two tier set is used) - and it is also the last row in front of the most expensive seats in the theatre, so has a similar view for less cash. Decide if you wish to be close to the stage but a trifle uncomfortable, or comfortable but a long way away in the last row of the circle for the same money...

At top price from row D back, the price reflects the view.

For prime seats, pick rows G and H first - an opinion endorsed by a reader.

Next choose rows J to R in alphabetical order - still a central view but further from the stage. Alternatively, explore circle seats rows A and B seats 33 to 51 - though be aware of the sound problems that occasionally emerge there.

For the rest of rows D to R, all seats in these rows offer at least fair value for money.

Side Blocks:
At preview performances, try for central block seats as all seats in the side sections are the same price as those in the middle of the auditorium... Centre seats may also even have better sightlines at that time, since these are established and confirmed during that tryout period.

At regular performances, all seats are second price, except for the innermost two - those near the wall and drop to the centre stalls – top price.

All seats offer a clear view of the stage. Be aware that there is a wall at the edge of the sections next to the centre block. Some people may find this (and the bar set into it) annoying, most don't though.

In general, Theatremonkey rules that the Dress Circle is better since the viewing angle is more comfortable for the same money.
The pairs of seats at top price are certainly a final choice once the better seats in both stalls and circle have gone.

Of the second price majority, try row D and E 4, 5, 55 and 56, rows F and G 5, 6, 54 and 55, H 6, 7, 53 and 54, J 5, 6, 53 and 54, K and L 6, 7, 52 to 54 and M 7, 8, 51 to 53 first.

Closeness to the stage compensates for not having a central view. Also consider the Dress Circle row A 11 to 22 and 62 to 73, and B and C 12 to 23 and 61 to 72.

Other second price seats are mostly acceptable, but Theatremonkey rules that the Dress Circle seats mentioned are better since the viewing angle is more comfortable for the same money.

It is worth avoiding seats 1, 2, 58 and 59 in all rows if possible, as they are, comparatively, the worst value. If you must take these numbers, choose row M then L, K and J to provide the best overview of the stage possible.

General Hazard Notes:
Rows A to C are narrower and B and C have no arm rests.

Staging means that you may not get a full view of all the production from all seats.

Side block seats have a wall with rails to the side of the innermost seats.

Innermost side block seats have a long drop beside them, and no aisle. Not for vertigo or claustrophobia sufferers.

Sound can be a problem in the side blocks, particularly for productions that don’t use microphones (more common during “Travelex Season” productions).

Changes for the current production:

"Emil and the Detectives": Those seated in the side blocks outermost four seats in rows D to F may not see short sections of the action due to the set (scene in train carriage) or having actors standing in front of them.

"King Lear": Note that in the stalls, a walkway splits the central seats in rows A to C. Sightlines there are not affected. There are also two extra seats on the ends of row C: 5 and 6 on one side, 40 and 41 on the other. These pairs are side-on to the action, so expect scenery in view at times for a few minutes... but the compensation is unlimited legroom in 5 and 41, a tiny bit less on one side of 6 and 40 where seats are in front of a tenth of the seat, and nothing ahead. In fact, these pairs are raised to look down on the stage rather than up, a very comfortable arrangement.

"A Small Family Business": Readers in rows A to C have noted that staging means blocked views of action taking place on a higher level of the set at times. Still, at least the seats remain cheap...

 



For the "Travelex £15 season" each Spring / Summer:

Centre Block:
Rows A to C in the centre block are very cheap. Both rows B and C are O.K., with C slightly better, being a little further back (less neck ache on a high stage), but unless you like sitting close in, try exploring the identically priced side dress circle blocks first - they may well offer a good alternative.

Behind these, feel free to take the rest of the central block at top price – in the usual row order. A prime view for those willing to pay.

Be aware that the central block front rows of the circle are much cheaper, so for a central view they are an alternative to the back few rows of the stalls...your call, feels the monkey.

Side Blocks:
Pricing follows the same pattern as "regular priced" productions. Fair value, with closeness to the stage compensating for not having a central view. The monkey notes they are now a little more expensive than previously, though, making the "average" rating a tad lower in its mind...

Also consider the Dress Circle row A 15 to 69, and B and C 16 to 68, though the Dress Circle has been known to have a sound problem on occasion, when microphones are not used. Sadly, one reader reports a problem with the sound in the side stalls too.
Theatremonkey rules that central Dress Circle seats in rows A to C are better since the viewing angle is more comfortable for the same money - even if sound is sometimes a problem up there.

"The James Plays": This production uses bench seats on stage. If comfortable, worth a look, perhaps, feels the monkey.

 

 

Reader Comments:
“A30: “Galileo” (June 2006), (Sam – regular reader). For £10 only this seat is always value for money, unless they put a wall in front of you, lol. But, I will try to review it in "absolute terms". The seat is obviously very close to the stage, and you get to see the facial expressions remarkably well. The actors are SO close to you, which is really, really great. The opportunity to see Simon Russell Beale from such close proximity alone is worth more than that £10. You will have however some ache. In my case it was back ache, but it wasn't that horrible. Legroom is also adequate. Not great, but not cramped either (I am about 5' 10.) In balance, I would say front of Dress Circle for the £10 season is better, but I would take this front seat before the very back of the theatre, unless your neck and/or back are very sensitive. And even though I never sat there, but I think the monkey is spot on to make row C green."

"B16: "Frankenstein" (February 2011), (Mark). Perfect view! Have booked the same area for when I see the other pairing."

"B25: Great view on a student's £5 entry pass ticket. VERY uncomfortable. I was squirming in my seat, and the play seemed to drag because all I could think about was my comfort. The only reason I will be sitting here again is because even at £10 (which is what my mum paid) it is a steal of a price."

"B27: "FELA!" (December 2010), (Mark). Perfect seat for this show, all the energy was just oozing right at the audience, and being surrounded by the platform made us feel like we were really part of the action."

"C11 and 12: "Frankenstein" (February 2011). £12 each. What a bargain! They are some of the "narrow seats" but thanks to Theatremonkey advice we got row C. We are of average height and build I guess, and didn't find them uncomfortable at all - and it runs for 2 hours without an interval. There isn't a huge amount of room left to right in the seat, but legroom is considerably better than some upper circles I've sat in! We thought Frankenstein was great seen from up close - there are moments when a character is low on stage and you have heads in the way, but otherwise we felt right in the action."

"E 43 and 44: (HB). They were good value and we could see brilliantly."

"F25 and 26: "Beauty Manifesto + Gargantua (NT Connections - June 2011), (Clive). Comfortable seats with an excellent view (as always with the rake in the Olivier), this feels very close to the action."

"F40: As ever the seat was perfect, very comfortable and I felt very much part of the action."

"G 7 and 8: "Frankenstein" (January 2011). Good seats, but no left leg room due to a great wodge of cables pooled in front of the seat, right leg was fine, but 2 hours is a long show with no break and a folded up left leg!"

"H41and 42: “Major Barbara”, (Bas). The seats were good value, the view was excellent. I can't complain."

“Row J (side stalls): "The Comedy of Errors" (December 2011). Given my advanced age (over 50, but not far over), I no longer see quite as well in the dark as I used to, and this new 'fashion' of delivering lines with your back to the stage, can make things very awkward. My vision is not that poor, I do not need to wear glasses, but I did struggle a bit in the subdued lighting."

"J6: "She Stoops To Conquer" (January 2012). I paid £15 for my ticket through the Get Into London Theatre promotion. I'm 6ft tall and felt I had very good room in J6. The stagnation of seats between row I and row J was good and the rake excellent. Even though my seat was to the side of the stage, given that the stage itself is rounded, I had a clear and unobstructed view of the entire performance and missed nothing. Having also sat a couple rows back in this section too, I'm pretty sure that the entire block gives a very good view. Overall, an excellent seat and I'd happily sit here again."

"J17: I managed to get the seat as a student standby for £10 about 45 minutes before the performance. I thought the seat was perfect, a good distance to be able to see all the facial expressions whilst still being able to see the production as a whole.”

"J51 and J52: “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (January 2009), (James – regular reader). Tickets were only £15 as it was a preview and at this price they were very favour – especially as the performance is only 65 minutes. The view is good from here, particularly as the performance makes use of the revolve which often makes the performers closer to the sides of the theatre."

"K43: had to keep twisting and turning to get a little relief from the pain I was feeling in my sitting-down region."

"L35 and L36: (James – regular reader). Excellent rake ensured a great view."

"L5 and 6: "The Comedy of Errors" (December 2011). I paid £25 for my ticket through the 2012 'Get Into London Theatre' promotion. I'm 6ft tall and felt I had pretty decent leg room in L6 (though the person next to me in L5 and about 6' 4" tall was struggling). The stagnation of seats between row L and row K was good and the rake excellent. Even though my seat was to the side of the stage, given that the stage itself is rounded, I had a clear and unobstructed view of the entire performance and missed nothing. Overall, an excellent seat and I'd happily sit here again."

“M12: (Barfly). I love the rake! Nice and steep, so it doesn't really matter if you get a tall guy in front of you - I only had to move because his head was in the way once. Also, because of the way the theatre's angled, there was nobody sitting directly behind me. If I moved it didn't obscure anyone else, hurrah!"

"M27. View is very clear (I think no matter where you sit in the National you will have very clear view). And you are close to the stage. Legroom is very good. Very good seat.”

“M37 and 38: “She Stoops to Conquer,” (Chris B). These seats are towards the back of the stalls on the left hand side (as you look at the stage) but due to the good sized rake you get a good, clear view of the entire stage. You are plenty close enough to see facial expressions and gestures of the actors. The legroom is ample and can’t really fault these seats at all.”

"M58 and 59: "Antigone" (July 2012), (Chris B). These seats are over to the very far left as you look at the stage although as the stage is fairly wide you do get a clear view of the majority, with only the very far left slightly restricted. They are at the back in a raised up section of the stalls, a sort of half-way house between the traditional stalls and the circle. There's plenty of legroom and the seats ate comfortable with the added bonus of M59 being an aisle seat. Would recommend these seats as a cheaper alternative to paying for top price tickets."

"O21 and 22: “War Horse” (December 2008), (James – regular reader). An excellent rake and an expansive stage ensured a fantastic view."

"P47and 48: "Frankenstein" (February 2011), (Clive). Right at the back of the stalls immediately in front of the sound desk, but no noise from there at all. Good seats with plenty of leg room and an excellent view of the whole stage."

 

 

DRESS CIRCLE 
Called the CIRCLE in this theatre.

Theatremonkey became addicted to the Royal National Theatre in seat B4 so say hi to the hairy guy when he is in residence.

Layout:
There is only one circle in this auditorium, so nothing overhangs it.

Seating is split into a centre and two side blocks by aisles. A quirk of architecture means the circle has more seats than the stalls below.

All seats are raked on steps, increasing noticeably from row D back.

Legroom:
A
dequate in all seats for all but the tallest.

Choosing Seats in General:
Centre Block:
For previews, all seats in the centre block, plus all seats in rows A to D of the side blocks are the same top price. Choose the usual seat numbers in centre block rows A to E first , then side blocks A to D as close to centre as possible (considering aisle bars, of course).

At regular performances, fair value is found in the top priced rows A to D. Choose your row in alphabetical order.

At second price, pick side block row A 11 to 22 and 62 to 73, and B and C 12 to 23 and 61 to 72. before choosing centre block row E.

Next, take the rest of rows B and C in the side blocks, before resorting to centre block rows F and G centre.

Central rows F, and G in particular, are poor value at second price - considering the distance from the stage. Save many bananas by picking innermost side block circle row G (roughly similar views for less cash) instead; or comparably priced front stalls if you don't object to a lack of armrests.

Side Blocks:
The National Theatre have realised just how good those seats just over the aisle from the centre block really are...

At previews,
centre block rows E back are the same price as seats in front. The monkey would go for side block seats to a maximum of 14 seats from the middle aisle in side block rows A to E first before taking centre block F and G at the price.

At regular performances row A seats 19 to 24 and 60 to 65; B and C 20 to 25 and 59 to 64 and D 21 to 26 and 58 to 63 are top price. Still seats the monkey likes, and would happily pay for (the two near the aisle safety rails less so, but otherwise, fine).

At second price take A 11 to 22 and 62 to 73, and B and C 12 to 23 and 61 to 72, then centre block row E, then either the edges of rows A to C in alphabetical order or row D 12 to 23 and 60 to 71, before settling for the rest of side block row D.

Make sure, if taking rows A to D, that you try for the seats as near the top price ones as possible, to maximise your value for money.

Ignore third price seats in the side block. They are not especially poor value, but row G seats 17 to 25 and 59 to 70, sold at bottom price, offer a similar view for less cash.

At bottom price be prepared for the Roman amphitheatre cone effect particularly noticeable in row G seats 1 to 10 and 73 to 83.

Before paying bottom price for much of the back of the Dress Circle, consider stalls row C too. They are closer to the stage for the same money, but less comfortable and potentially neck ache inducing. A choice worth pondering if you want a close-up of the performers though, feels the monkey.

General Hazard Notes:
Safety posts at the ends of all rows irritate but don’t affect views much. The monkey doesn’t see the point of them, though, as they got through three decades without...

Sound can be a problem in all blocks, particularly for productions that don’t use microphones (more common during “Travelex Season” productions).

The rake is very steep from row D back, and from the ends of rows F and G the feeling is of being at the back of a Roman theatre. You are looking into rather than onto the stage as the curved shape feels like you are peering down a cone.

The side blocks particularly suffer the Roman amphitheatre cone effect - noticeable in row G seats 1 to 10 and 73 to 83 especially. The rake is very steep from row D back, and from the ends of rows F and G the feeling is of being at the back of a Roman theatre. You are looking into rather than onto the stage as the curved shape feels like you are peering down a cone.

The side blocks particularly suffer the Roman amphitheatre cone effect - noticeable in row G seats 1 to 10 and 73 to 83 especially. A few people find that this descending angle to the stage triggers vertigo in row G, even though it isn’t high.

Changes for the current production:
For the "Travelex £15 season" each Spring / Summer:

Seats are sold at two prices, with central block rows A, B and C at a little more than all the rest. With the increased price and potential sound issues, the monkey rates these as average. Bearing in mind potential problem with sound, you may wish to be closer to the sides than the central seat in the block if your hearing isn't the greatest... and save money into the bargain.

Of the rest of the seats, all at the lowest price, it would pick EITHER row D 30 to 55 OR row A 15 to 24 and 60 to 69, B and C 16 to 25 and 59 to 68 first.

It would follow that with row E centre, then the remainder of A to E at the sides, then rows F and G.

All seats in rows E to G are a very long way from the stage for the same money as side circle and even side and cheaper front stalls. Some may feel that the front stalls rows A to C may be preferable if only circle E to G are left

In all cases your choice is either centre or sides first, depending on your hearing and the National's amplification policy.

Reader Comments:
“Front Row: "Collaborators" (April 2012), (Taljaard).I paid £12 for a great seat on the front row of the circle."

A 42 and 43: “13,” (Chris B). Centrally located in the circle, these seats offer a good, clear view of the entire stage, and it is a very wide stage. The circle, however, does feel quite a way back from the stage and I would recommend the stalls as you seem to get more of the atmosphere there. But I can’t really fault these seats, with good legroom and an unobstructed view.”

"C19: (Mark). Very good as far as the circle seats go and definitely worth it for the £10 season."

"C19 and 20: "London Road" (July 2012). Comfortable with very good legroom. At £12 they are an absolute bargain. Green at £12, but probably green at three times that price too. I’ve paid £60 in other London theatres for seats inferior to these."

"C77: (Mark). Very good seat, no complaints."

“D10: View is very clear. No complaints whatsoever. However, it felt just little bit far. Legroom is very good. For £10 only, a bargain”

“D18 and 19: “The Comedy of Errors,” (Chris B). These seats are fantastic; you are so close to the stage you almost feel part of it. They are raised enough over the seats in front to clearly see the whole stage. They are centrally located and there is sufficient legroom. I would recommend these seats.”

"D20: Very good clear view of the stage. In a longer show, seats are comfortable and spacey enough not to get too distracted."

“D26 : "Hamlet" (October 2010), (Mark). Great value at Travelex prices, very good view of the whole stage and plenty legroom!"

"E15 and16: (Alun). Seating: was OK except you feel very high up and the stage looks like you are hovering above it."

"E45 to 48: “Danton’s Death”, (Clive). (As before) the view was good with a pronounced rake, comfortable seats and good legroom."

"E46 to 51: 'Welcome To Thebes' (July 2010), (Clive). (Also previously E47 to 50 for 'Women Beware Women' in the same season). Have sat in these seats or nearby on several occasions and the view has always been good. The rake is pronounced and the seats are comfortable with good legroom. Excellent value for £10 as always."

"F24: "She Stoops To Conquer" (January 2012), (Taljaard). The Olivier is just too big, so much is lost on the vast stage. What you need, as the story unfolds, is a sense of claustrophobia and to be able to see the actors facial expressions. This was quite difficult from F24."

"G66: (Mark). Definitely worth considering for the normal shows, but would definitely go for something closer in the £10 Travelex season."

"G68: (Hannah M). I booked last minute and it was one of the few seats available. I generally don’t like sitting in the circle but for £10 the seat was excellent. The rake is really steep, meaning you can see perfectly over everyone. Even from this distance, I still felt very caught up in the action and didn’t miss a thing. Definitely worth going with these seats if only £27.50 ones are left in the stalls."

"G81: "Danton's Death" (November 2010), (Mark). Clear view if a little bit of an odd angle, good value for normal productions but when so many Travelex seats are cheaper being further forward would be better."

 

 

Notes
Total 1160 seats.

Air-conditioned auditorium.

Audio described and signed performances regularly. Headset system available. Guide dog sitter available. All printed information available in large print, on tape and in Braille. Minicom at the box office. Access to Olivier is level from the lift. Free car parking in centre car park for orange badge holders (get endorsement stamp at information desk). Lifts from car parks to all levels. Adapted toilets (unisex, sadly) throughout theatre. Fuller details from www.nationaltheatre.org.uk, the theatre on 020 7452 3000 (Minicom 020 7452 3009) or Artsline 020 7388 2227. 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 buffet restaurant at stalls level, coffee shop and formal restaurant in complex. Ice cream and confectionery from vendors just outside auditorium.

Bars at Stalls and Circle level. In 2012, a reader says,
"The circle bar was so understaffed that I stood there for 10 minutes without the queue even moving and in the end my thirst went unquenched. Staffing issues aside, service times at the bar were not helped by the slow processing of card payments. What’s wrong with making theatre bars cash only to allow more people to get served?"

Toilets in Stalls and Circle, two gents and two ladies. Unisex disabled toilet at stalls level.

 

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:
Waterloo - Bakerloo Line (brown), Jubilee Line (silver gray), Northern Line (black). Also a main line station.

A PHOTOGRAPH ILLUSTRATED VERSION of this walking 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.

 

This station has multiple exits, not clearly marked, so be careful! The best route is as follows:

Follow the exit signs marked "South Bank" and / or "Shell Exit" and / or "York Road Exit" from the platform to the surface. All lead to the same place! Leave the station and you will be on York Road.

Turn to your left, and walk past the Lloyds / TSB Bank. Ahead to your left is a huge silver steel rectangle. No, the monkey does not know what it is either. To the left of it, and behind, is a pedestrian passageway called "Sutton Walk"; which goes under a bridge. Take it.

At the end is a fountain ahead of you. You are now on "Concert Road Approach". Turn to your left. The Royal Festival Hall is ahead of you. Walk towards it. 

Facing it (note the cafe in front of you) - stand on this paved area (Belvedere Road) and turn to your right. A roadway and bridge are ahead of you. Cross the roadway, walk under the bridge. 

On the other side of the bridge, the Royal National Theatre is ahead of you to the left. Also to your left is a roadway. Walk along it to the end.

On the other side of the bridge, the Royal National Theatre is ahead of you to the left. Also to your left is a roadway. Walk along it to the end.

The big red "The Shed" building appears to your right.

Either use the side door just before it to enter the coffee shop foyer, going straight on into the Lyttelton Foyer down some steps. OR, if this door is closed:

Turn right at the corner of the red building. Keep it to your right and go straight on.

There is a round sculpture to your left too.

At the end of the red building, turn right. The main theatre complex entrance is in the centre of the building, to your left.

The Olivier Theatre is at the third level inside the building to the left.
___________

If you have the misfortune to leave the station by the "Waterloo Road" exit, fear not. You can either walk through Waterloo mainline station and leave by the York Road exit, or take this route - CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY.

On leaving the glass doors, turn left. Walk to the corner, and turn left into "Mepham Street". Walk all the way to the end of it, avoiding the temptation to go under any bridges.

At the end of the street is York Road. Cross it. Ahead of you, to the left, is "Sutton Walk", the pedestrian road under the bridge. Take it.

At the end is a fountain ahead of you. You are now on "Concert Road Approach". Turn to your left. The Royal Festival Hall is ahead of you. Walk towards it. 

Facing it (note the cafe in front of you) - stand on this paved area (Belvedere Road) and turn to your right. A roadway and bridge are ahead of you. Cross the roadway, walk under the bridge. 

On the other side of the bridge, the Royal National Theatre is ahead of you to the left. Also to your left is a roadway. Walk along it to the end.

On the other side of the bridge, the Royal National Theatre is ahead of you to the left. Also to your left is a roadway. Walk along it to the end.

The big red "The Shed" building appears to your right.

Either use the side door just before it to enter the coffee shop foyer, going straight on into the Lyttelton Foyer down some steps. OR, if this door is closed:

Turn right at the corner of the red building. Keep it to your right and go straight on.

There is a round sculpture to your left too.

At the end of the red building, turn right. The main theatre complex entrance is in the centre of the building, to your left.

The Olivier Theatre is at the third level inside the building to the left.

___________

Another visitor suggest this route: Take the tube to the Embankment station and walk across the Hungerford  footbridge to the south bank, then walk past Festival Hall complex and under Waterloo Bridge.

The Royal National Theatre is ahead of you to the right. 

Noted are the " Gorgeous views both up and down river on a good day or evening.". The monkey endorses this comment, especially at twilight!

 

Buses:
1, 4, 68, X68, 168, 171, 176, 188, 501, 502, 513 to Waterloo Bridge.

Get off on the Bridge and look for the large advertising board on the roof of the National Theatre, facing the Thames. Take the stairs on this side of the bridge down to the ground. A safe crossing of the bridge can be made by taking the stairs down to first level and walking under it on a walkway linking the staircases either side of the bridge.

On the correct side staircase, leave it, turn to your right. The entrance is in the centre of the building, beyond the round sculpture ahead of you. The Olivier Theatre is at fourth level inside the building.

 

Car Park
Under the theatre. Take the elevators in the centre of the car park to the correct level. Theatremonkey advises parking near the exit ramps for a fast getaway after the show, and strongly recommends you note the compass point, colour band and number of the nearest pillar you park by. Banquo's ghost has nothing on the haunted souls who wander the underground space, wailing for their transport each night. Some have been there since the place opened in the 1970's.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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