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

PALACE THEATRE

 

THE COMMITMENTS (musical)
CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE, VERY BRIGHT FLASHING LIGHTS, LOUD NOISE AND EXPLOSIONS.
NOT SUITABLE FOR THOSE AGED UNDER 12 OR THE EASILY OFFENDED.
Signed performance: 11th May 2014 at 2.30pm


"Do you want to join the hardest working soul band in the world?" So asks Dublin music lover Jimmy Rabbitte, as he hopes to form a group from among the depressed and downtrodden of his home town.

A fast, funny tale of youth and great classic music. Roddy Doyle adapts his own book and film for the stage.

 


 

Theatremonkey Opinion:

(Seen at the performance on 22nd October 2013)

Hoping for a magic leprechaun of a show, the monkey found instead a garden gnome. A plastic one at that. Worth a glance for a brief period of amusement, but ultimately hollow and lacking promised substance.

“The Commitments,” film and book, has always been a monkey favourite – and it had always envisaged what a stage version would be like. Set to be the highlight of its autumn 2013 season, it was going to be a pushover for the production to entertain, no work needed.

And oh, how disappointed it was.

In a way, it was lucky to see the show to begin with. Literally. Some (to quote regional dialect) “Bollix” decided it was a brilliant idea to dazzle arriving audiences with a curtain of stage lights pointed directly at them... and make certain of retinal damage by adding re-enforcements later in the show. Hopefully this genius will be locked in a dark room until they come to their senses; and in this compensation culture (not something the monkey approves of, normally) it honestly hopes somebody sues for the avoidable stupidity.

The rest of the set is about as intelligent. Sure, it creates the right atmosphere of 80s Dublin depression... but does half the show need to be at a level so high the front and rear stalls miss it? The actors seemed to fight against it, and the show only burst into life when concentrated on a mid-stage ground level set – where it could have played happily from the start.

And it is played. Live, by a bunch of performers clearly chosen for their musical skills before their suitability for the roles. Hopelessly miscast, our guide for the evening, Denis Grindel gives us a Jimmy Rabbitt lacking ‘survivor’s vitality’ and street-smarts the role requires. Joe Woolmer’s Mickah is a ‘dead ringer’ for Ade Edmondson in “The Young Ones” and is about as threatening, while Matthew Wycliffe singularly fails to find the arrogance in Outspan and Ben Fox the worldly randy opportunist / fatherly dichotomy of Joey.

You can’t blame him for not getting as excited about “The Commitmentettes” as the story demands, either. Irish women are world-renowned for great genes... this show singularly failed to capitalise on those assets.

And for all this, the blame lies at the doors of Roddy Doyle (adaptor of his own work) and Jamie Lloyd (director). Doyle manages to produce something that dumps his wonderful characterisations in favour of a bunch of disparate ciphers who fail to demonstrate even a scintilla of reason for their personality-inspired nicknames.

Lloyd may be the reason. The vital opening scenes defining characters are rushed at incoherent speed, in order to reach a dull “let’s do a few bits of some famous songs” rehearsal session that takes up most of the rest of the first act.

Act two then takes the laziest way out possible, mostly concerned with a Louis-Walsh-old (yes, that tired and worn, really!) cliché “let’s stage a concert” / “let’s stretch the show by pretending we are staging another concert, this time in London” manoeuvre replacing much further dramatic tension or storytelling.

It’s actual production standard is high enough – the sound balance is acceptable, it looks good for all its sightline faults, and it isn’t relentlessly boring. But nor is it particularly involving either. The “out for a good time with familiar songs” section of the audience seemed happy enough, thinking they’d had a good time as they were ordered to their feet for the last 10 minutes... But as a stage event...

....Just 100 yards from the Palace Theatre, another bunch of Dublin youngsters are producing a level of dazzling enchantment that the Monkey has raved about since March 2013. The Giant’s Causeway compared to block paving. Show your commitment to great Irish musical theatre... Monkey advice is go see “Once” instead.

 

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

(5 reviews)

Due to the preview prices, I've been to see The Commitments weekly. First preview was excellent. The week later, the show had improved. Monday was even better!

Anyway, thought I'd comment on the seating plan. I'd suggest changing stalls rows A and B to red. Due to the staging, you can't really see when they're "upstairs" - especially sitting in the higher numbered seats.

It's an amazing cast and they work so well together. There are so many stand-out performances for one reason or another, I get why they call it an ensemble cast.
____________________________________

Hardest working show in the world ? Not really.

Just returned from the show (9th November 2013) thought I would share the info that stalls J27 and 28 seats were at second price (I paid £47 for a Saturday matinee). I imagine that J3 and 4 are the same. Perhaps the Monkey would care to check out any further changes? (Dynamic pricing in action - Monkey).

As a regular user of the Monkey's website I have on many occasions saved cash by choosing seats a couple of seats further along a row and on this occasion after sitting in J26 for a second before it was occupied I can tell you that at £20 extra for that seat the view is NO different!

As for the show I am in complete agreement with The Monkey in that I absolutely love the film but found the show no more than adequate.

The first 20 minutes is so rushed there is no time to connect with the characters. So much of what made the film great is missing. The whole show leading up to the first gig seems a mere insignificance compared to the rest of it which basically becomes a concert, which is such a shame as I thought the actors were great, the sound good and the scenery fantastic.

Overall I enjoyed the event as a whole but it's not one of those shows where I came out thinking " I need to see that again".

Chris Biggs
_____________________________________

Two and a half stars. Harsh, harsh, harsh I know. But I’d seen the film and LOVED it so perhaps it was always on a hiding to nothing.

The trouble was the narrative just didn’t carry through so we didn’t give a toss about any of the characters. We didn’t feel the poverty, the striving, the fecklessness, the dogged rehearsals, the gradual improvement. We did get some great singing from the lead guy, and the instrumentalists could play OK. But why spend £60 a ticket to see people playing at being in a soul band, when you could go and see the real thing for half that price and get a whole night of it, not interspersed with random bits of flouncing off for no apparent reason? And the accents were sh*te by some of them. I mean there are enough Irish here in London to either be in the show or helping performers get their accent right.

This is a show for the populous who don’t go to see bands but like having a comfy seat to listen to their music. If it had concentrated the story to just two characters but done them in depth it might have worked. But it didn’t. It tried to recreate the film and failed.

So, two and a half stars.
_____________________________________

Don't often comment, but have just seen 'The Commitments' (Febuary 2014) and have to agree with pretty much every word of the monkey's review. An oddly bland and uninvolving show - not bad in itself and well enough produced, but apart from the excellent lead vocalist the Commitments themselves made little impression. My friend who is a massive fan of the film was also a little disappointed at how few of the tunes from the movie make it into the show.
_____________________________________

First up: The show.
Perhaps I am at an advantage for not having seen the film, read the book etc. (yes, I know - I was out that decade), but I enjoyed it by and large.

The music was great (they truly would be a feckin' great band), but once again (like 'The Bodyguard') it does not move the show forward. For me, the songs in musical theatre should define the narrative - the songs in 'The Commitments' do not.

The first half is also too manic, with a plethora of scene changes making life confusing; the problem with having to introduce a lot of characters into the plot very quickly I suppose.

I do also go along with the monkey's thoughts about Jimmy Rabbit - the actor just doesn't have the charisma that to me, you would need to draw together this disparate bunch of people and turn them into a cohesive band.

The second half is much better: With the cast all introduced, the storyline calms down and gets on with the business of dealing with the relationships, the bickering, the successes and potential fail before reaching the final scenes.

Possibly since The Monkey saw the show they have tinkered with the format. To me, the show ended with the [SPOILER ALERT] band getting together again. The band playing at the end (as I said, feckin' great music), came over as an encore, rather than a "Hey, lets put on a show" situation that would have had Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland cringing.

Sticking with the 'Dublin Musicals' comparison... really, you can't. 'Once' is a beautiful, sublime piece of theatre. 'The Commitments' is brash, in your face and up for a good time. I enjoyed both... but 'Once' the the show that I want to (and will) see more than once.

Second: The Seats:
Upper Circle, D31 and D32. Both seats on The Monkey's map get a white designation. We would tinge D31 in pink. It isn't bad and the steep rake ensures a good view, but D31 does lose a reasonable corner of the stage. D32 loses a slice, but is significantly less affected. Legroom didn't seem as bad as people said. I was comfortable enough for the entire show, but did enjoy an interval stretch of the legs.

As regards the vertigo issue. Can I suggest for anyone that does suffer that they eschew the central steps and take their seats via the stairs at either side of the theatre. The side stairwells have handrails and break up the downward path into what feels like a more segmented and steady trip, as opposed to the "straight down, no handrails, hope you brought a sherpa / goat" position the central stairs provide.



 

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.

Tuesday to Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm and 7pm

Runs 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.


 

Ticket Prices:

Offers May be available - Click Here

View this information in diagram form

Sunday to Thursday performances:
Stalls: 
Rows A to S: £62.50 except:
Premium seats rows E to L 10 to 21: £82.50
Restricted view seats E 4, 5, 26, 27; H 2, 3, 28, 29; I 2, 3, 29, 30; J 1 to 4, 29, 30; K and L 2, 3: £45
Restricted view seats F 3, 4, 27, 28; G 2, 3, 28, 29: £20
Rows T and V: £45
Rows W and X: £35
Rows Y and Z: £20

Boxes
Box X: £45 per seat (restricted view).
Box Z: £20 per seat (restricted view).


Dress Circle: 
Rows A to F: £62.50 except:
"Premium seats" rows A to C 11 to 26: £82.50
Restricted view seats A 3, 4, 33, 44; B 2, 3, 34, 35; C 1, 2, 35, 36: £20
Rows G and H: £45
Row I: £35
Row J: £20

Boxes A and C: £62.50 per seat.


Upper Circle:
Row A to D seats 8 to 37; E 9 to 36: £45
Rows F and G: £35
Row A 3 to 7 and 38 to 42; B 2 to 7 and 38 to 43 and row H: £20


Balcony: 
Centre Block rows E to M: £20
Side Block seats not usually on sale.



 



Friday Evening and Saturday Afternoon performances:
Stalls: 
Rows A to S: £67.50 except:
Premium seats rows E to L 10 to 21: £87.50
Restricted view seats E 4, 5, 26, 27; H 2, 3, 28, 29; I 2, 3, 29, 30; J 1 to 4, 29, 30; K and L 2, 3: £47.50
Restricted view seats F 3, 4, 27, 28; G 2, 3, 28, 29: £20
Rows T and V: £47.50
Rows W and X: £35
Rows Y and Z: £20

Boxes
Box X: £47.50 per seat (restricted view).
Box Z: £20 per seat (restricted view).


Dress Circle: 
Rows A to F: £67.50 except:
"Premium seats" rows A to C 11 to 26: £87.50
Restricted view seats A 3, 4, 33, 44; B 2, 3, 34, 35; C 1, 2, 35, 36: £20
Rows G and H: £47.50
Row I: £35
Row J: £20

Boxes A and C: £67.50 per seat.


Upper Circle:
Row A to D seats 8 to 37; E 9 to 36: £47.50
Rows F and G: £35
Row A 3 to 7 and 38 to 42; B 2 to 7 and 38 to 43 and row H: £20


Balcony: 
Centre Block rows A to D: £10 (restricted view).
Centre Block rows E to M: £20
Centre Block rows N and O: £20
Side Block rows A to P: £10

 




All Saturday Evening performances:
Stalls: 
Rows A to X: £67.50 except:
Premium seats rows E to L 10 to 21: £87.50
Restricted view seats E 4, 5, 26, 27; H 2, 3, 28, 29; I 2, 3, 29, 30; J 1 to 4, 29, 30; K and L 2, 3: £47.50
Restricted view seats F 3, 4, 27 and 28; G 2, 3, 28, 29: £20
Row X seats 4 to 7 and 24 to 27: £47.50
Rows Y and Z: £47.50

Boxes
Box X: £47.50 per seat (restricted view).
Box Z: £20 per seat (restricted view).


Dress Circle: 
Rows A to I: £67.50 except:
"Premium seats" rows A to C 11 to 26: £87.50
Row J: £47.50

Boxes A and C: £67.50 per seat.


Upper Circle:
Row A to G seats 19 to 26: £67.50
Rows A to G all other seats: £47.50
Row H: £20


Balcony: 
Centre Block rows A to D: £10 (restricted view).
Centre Block rows E to M: £20
Centre Block rows N and O: £20
Side Block rows A to P: £10


 

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:
Shared between two companies at this venue
www.nimaxtheatres.com or www.seetickets.com.

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
With Nimax Theatres Online: A £2.50 per ticket fee is added. A £1 per ticket optional postage fee is also charged. No fee for printing tickets at home or box office collection.

With See Tickets Online:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£12.38 on £82.50 seats
£9.38 on £62.50 seats
£6.75 on £45 seats
£5.25 on £35 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£13.13 on £87.50 seats
£10.12 on £67.50 seats
£7.13 on £47.50 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

A £2.75 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee is also added to all prices above.
 

 

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

When the theatre does not have the tickets you desire available, it is well worth trying the Theatremonkey Ticketshop agency or telephone 020 7420 9778 (0044 207 420 9778 if calling from outside the United Kingdom)
This offers seats with the following booking fees:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£12.50 on £82.50 seats
£9.50 on £62.50 seats
£6.75 on £45 seats
£5 on £20 seats
£2.50 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£13.25 on £87.50 seats
£10.25 on £67.50 seats
£8.25 on £47.50 seats
£5 on £20 seats
£2.50 on £10 seats

Moderate by agency standards, though higher than box office fees, worth trying as they often have an alternative choice of seats available! Note that this system will confirm exact seat numbers prior to purchase. A £1.95 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee may apply on some transactions by telephone. NO handling fee applies for online purchases.




Another alternative is Ticketmaster.co.uk who offer seats with the following booking fees:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£11 on £82.50 seats
£8.75 on £62.50 seats
£4.90 on £35 seats
£6.25 on £45 seats
£2.75 on £20 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£12.25 on £87.50 seats
£9.50 on £67.50 seats
£6.75 on £47.50 seats
£2.75 on £20 seats

A £2.85 per booking (not per ticket) handling charge is added on all prices. This system allows you to choose your own seats from the selection the company has available.





Encore Tickets (telephone 0207 400 1253 / 0044 207 400 1253 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) offer seats with the following booking fees:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£21.50 on £82.50 seats
£16.50 on £62.50 seats
£12 on £45 seats
£6 on £20 seats
£3 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£23.50 on £87.50 seats
£18.50 on £67.50 seats
£12.50 on £47.50 seats
£6 on £20 seats

A postage charge of £2.25 per booking, not per ticket may be applied to bookings made from UK addresses more than 5 days before the performance.
The "Flexiticket" Exchange Service, allowing FREE transfer / cancellation (credit note up to 12 months) of your booking up to 3 days before the performance is also available for £2.50 per ticket.
Discounted tickets, Meal and show packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.




Lastminute.com offer seats with the following booking fees:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£12 on £82.50 seats
£9.50 on £62.50 seats
£7.50 on £45 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£13.15 on £87.50 seats
£10 on £67.50 seats
£6.95 on £47.50 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

NOTE: Seat numbers are NOT available in advance from this company. All seats booked in the same price group will, of course, be together or at the very least be in front or behind each other in the theatre. In the very unlikely event of this not being possible this company will call you and give you the option of cancelling your booking. However if booking in two or more price bands, you will not be sat together. Please DO NOT purchase if this is unacceptable to you, as all tickets are sold subject to this condition.
Discounts and "Meal and Show" packages may also be available. Quality and Value hotel / theatre ticket packages are also available.



Londontheatredirect.com offer seats with the following booking fees:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£12.50 on £82.50 seats
£9.50 on £62.50 seats
£6.75 on £45 seats
£5.25 on £35 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£13 on £87.50 seats
£10 on £67.50 seats
£7 on £47.50 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

Collecting tickets from the box office before your performance is free, OR, if required and time allows, there is a postage charge option of of £2.95 (£4.95 to non-UK addresses) per booking, not per ticket applies to all bookings.
Optional Ticket Insurance is also available.
Discounts and Meal and Show Packages may also be available.


 

ALSO SEE Tickettree.com for great value "hotel and theatre ticket" packages.

Other Independent S.T.A.R. ticket agencies may also offer an alternative choice of seats.

 

 

Box Office Information:
Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.

Theatre Box Office:
Telephone: 0870 830 0200
(FREE call if using BT.com Calling Plan at your chosen times)
Operated by See Tickets on behalf of the venue.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
With The Ticket Factory agency for Nimax Theatres: A £2.50 per ticket fee is added. A £1 per ticket optional postage fee is also charged. No fee for printing tickets at home or box office collection.

With See Tickets by telephone:
All Sunday to Thursday performances:
£12.38 on £82.50 seats
£9.38 on £62.50 seats
£6.75 on £45 seats
£5.25 on £35 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

All Friday and Saturday performances:
£13.13 on £87.50 seats
£10.12 on £67.50 seats
£7.13 on £47.50 seats
£3 on £20 seats
£1.50 on £10 seats

A £2.75 per booking, not per ticket, handling fee is also added to all prices above.



 

For personal callers or by post: Shaftesbury Avenue, London. W1V 8AY
No booking fee for personal callers. The box office for this theatre is "around the corner" from the foyer, on Shaftesbury Avenue itself. Just face the theatre, turn left, and walk around the corner under the canopy.

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

www.nimaxtheatres.com is the official venue owner's website.

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

Theatre Seat Opinions:
Please remember that cheaper seats often do not offer the same view / location quality as top price ones, and that ticket prices are designed to reflect this difference.

 

 

Seating Plan Diagram

Stalls Dress Circle Upper Circle Balcony Notes
STALLS 

In September 2013 stalls row lettering was changed. Extra rows at the front were added and designated A, B and C. The former row A became row D, with other row letters altered too. The monkey has changed its advice now, based on this.

Layout:
The Dress Circle overhangs the stalls at row H. The top of the stage is not visible from row T back and is a real annoyance from row X back.

Seats are divided into two blocks by a centre aisle.

Pillars disrupt the ends of rows F and G, affecting sightlines from seats directly behind.

Rows A to C are flat on the floor. The rake
(sloped floor to help see over rows in front) is noticeable from row H, and steepest in the back rows from around row O.

Legroom:
Acceptable in most central seats from row D back for those up to around 5ft 10 or so, best in seats 15 and 16 on the central aisle of all rows.

One reader comments, that at 6ft 1 tall he had to sit bolt upright in both rows E and M, and had his knees jammed against the seat in front. He attributes this to the new seats with straighter backs that are also not so well staggered to leave kneehole gaps. Reader James T. says of K 22, "excellent seat, though if you are over 5'10 I would avoid as the leg room is pretty poor". Taller persons may find either side seats without anything in front, or box seats, might be preferable.

The monkey would point out that central aisle seats only give stretching for one leg, while only centrally located stalls have maximum legroom in the area - though a 6ft person in F15 struggled with legroom even so.

Row A has more legroom than usual.

Rows B and C are very cramped, those over 5ft 6 or so may struggle.

Seats B23, D24, E 4, 5, 26 and 27, F 3 and 28 have nothing in front.

Seat E25 has nothing in front of 99% of the seat's width, E8 around 80% clear, D7, F27 and H1 about 50%.

The least legroom is found in the outermost 4 seats of rows  M, N, P, Q and S on the "low numbers" side and L, N, Q, R, T and U on the "high numbers" side, plus the first 2 seats in row S on both sides.


Choosing Seats in General:
At "Day Seat" prices, the monkey is keen on the front row here; at top price, it is less so. For those who do like the front row to "see faces" it'll prove the usual OK choice for regular theatregoers. For those who go less often, further back may well be more to their taste - though row A isn't seating to discard from thoughts.

The front three rows are flat on the floor, only a tiny slope from rows D to G too, so skip them if you are short and / or wish to see the stage floor or if the alternative is sitting in row O or further back.

The first seat and last seats in rows E to L are restricted view. The seats are among pillars, outside the proscenium and offer a view of about two thirds of the stage; the rear and side closest to the seat are not visible. Those in F are almost separate islands, angled to the stage. At low prices Theatremonkey usually likes these for being close to the stage and offering more legroom than the same priced balcony. At top or second price, though, the monkey feels them worth avoiding - get an Upper Circle box instead for less money.

At top price, pick rows H to L then M to Q alphabetically. The first and last four seats in all rows struggle to maintain average value at top price – that price does not really reflect the lack of being central. Though the view is acceptable to many, legroom often isn’t. Theatremonkey feels though that the Dress Circle rows B to D seats 11 to 26 are better than the top priced stalls.

The rest of the stalls rows H to P offer clear views with a good rake. Row J then K then I are prime seats.

Edges of rows from row S back may miss side stage action - avoid these, feels the monkey.

Row T at top price is only average as they feel a little distant from the stage for some.

Don’t pay top price for anything further back than row W, and try to be forward of that is possible – row V is really the limit for decent value before prices drop.

Going further back, sound in these rear stalls is good, the view is clear but distant (and the top of the set is missing).

At second price row X back is about fair, accepting that you will miss anything happening at the top of the stage.

Rows Y 20 and Z 21 are usually beside the sound control desk and should be avoided - there is a gap between the desk and seats - Y20 in particular, but you'll be conscious of the desk, even if it isn't in your sightlines. Purists may also want to skip X 16 to 23 in front of the desk too.

Row Z offers a wheelchair space replacing seat 27, a very average (at best) view.

General Hazard Notes:
The first seat and last seats in rows E to L have restricted views. The seats are among pillars, outside the proscenium and offer a view of about two thirds of the stage.

Rows A to C are flat on the floor.

End seats in rows E to G miss a sliver of stage due to speakers in sightlines too.

Legroom at the ends of some rows is miniscule.

Rows Y 20 and Z 21 are usually beside the sound control desk and should be avoided by purists.

Changes for the current production:
Rows A to C have been added. B and C are flat on the floor behind A. They are off-set quite well, but if tall people are in front, it will be harder to see around those in front.

A reader notes that the "high numbers" seats in rows A and B miss action. The monkey notes that those on the "high numbers" side get actors in their view for a few moments during the show (as do those on the outer ends on the "low numbers" side).

A very high set means those on the "high numbers" side back to row E may well strain to see some scenes. On the "low numbers" side, the angle should be acceptable from D back, it feels.

Central rows E to L are at premium prices. Your call, feels the monkey, who would probably avoid them. The view is great, but very expensive, it feels, particularly in rows E to G. Around them, four seats either side in rows H to L, plus M and N 6 to 25 are a decent bet at regular top price.

With such a high set, the monkey would avoid any top price seat beyond row S. You just won't see the whole show, it feels.

At all performances except Saturday Evenings, some clever pricing throws up decent value in the rear stalls. Changes in the dress circle mean that those are worth considering first for views of the stage if under 6ft tall (5ft 8 for dress circle row I) but those over 6ft will appreciate being able to tuck feet under the seats in front in the stalls. So, that said, take centre row T first at second price or W at third price once dress circle rows H and G at second and I at third have gone. At fourth price, the monkey would take the pairs of seats in rows B and C of the dress circle first, over row Y and Z stalls as you miss far less from those. Still, if it's only rear stalls left, you can't complain for the money - particularly in terms of comfort compared to seats elsewhere at the price, it feels. At second price and below, all seats in the stalls and dress circle are also superior for comfort to those in the upper circle and balcony, and for view compared to the balcony too.

On Saturday Evenings, rows Y and Z, plus outermost four seats in row X are second price. Again, you WILL miss parts of the show - nothing crucial, just a couple of scenes. X 6, 7, 24 and 24 then Y 8, 9 and 21 to 25 are the best bet. The monkey would actually take these before the same price "restricted view" seats further forward, as losing the top of this show is better than losing the sides, it feels.

Restricted view seats at the ends of rows E to L are discounted for good reason. The very cheapest, just £20, like F3, lose the entire back third of the stage. On the other side, F27 loses about a fifth of the whole stage. In the more expensive "restricted view" seats, huge speakers block views. Give them a miss, but if you have to, take the cheapest restricted view seats closest to the expensive seats first - G28 then G3, F27 then F28 then F4 then F3. For the more expensive "restricted view seats, take J4 and J27 first, then those on row L then K then I "high numbers" then I "low numbers" and the same again for H then G then E. At all performances except Saturday Evenings, there are far better seats for the price - see above.

Reader Comments:
"Stalls: All the seats here are very cramped! Those over 6ft will not only feel uncomfortable but will also not be able to sit down. The only way to avoid this is to sit in the first row of the stalls or any central aisle seat. Never buy tickets which are inside the rows - only the aisles.

My experience in this was that I told my little problem to one of the staff members who promptly asked one person from row A to move to row J (my former seat was J22) and I got £5 back - what a deal. The show was amazing but this little problem can destroy the whole performance. Nobody gave me as many apologies as in this theatre. Think of this when buying tickets!"

"Rows A and B: "The Commitments" (October 2013). Change these to red. Due to the staging, you can't really see when they're "upstairs" - especially sitting in the higher numbered seats."

“Row D: (Messrs Colin and Asa McCarthy-Burton). The seats were fine, but as the stage is a little high you do miss some of the effects, but it is great to see the faces so close as you can see expressions etc".

“Row D: "Spamalot" (2006), (Zena). The front row is fab. A little bit of legroom and then a low wooden barrier between you and the orchestral pit below. The stage looks like it slopes downward so no neck ache except for during the scenes when characters appear high up."

“D14 and 15: (Matthew and Samuel). It was a bit close to the stage but the show was at eye level and there was good leg room. We had a good view of stage but perhaps a few rows back would be better."

"D22: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, (Suh). My seat did demand a crick in the neck to see the performers, except for their feet."

“Row E: "I thought smugly that my seat in E row would be fine. WRONG! The stage is built up high to accommodate a revolve, with the result that people sitting at the front of the stalls have to strain to look upwards all night – and there were indeed a number of places where characters were flown in that also strained the necks of us poor souls at the front -- and we could not see the feet of the cast who were at stage level, especially when anybody went upstage. And the whole show is very ‘in-yer-face’, which again was a bit overpowering for the audience in the front rows. Another problem with the raised stage was that in the very funny scene, we at the front could not really see something on the stage floor at all! (Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012) has the same "high stage" issue, though with less neck strain as the floor is lower - you still don't see it, though. Editor).

“Row E: I just revelled in sitting so close to the performers and being able to hear their voices relatively naturally and not loudly amplified (because the loudspeakers were projecting the sound way above and beyond where I was sitting). Legroom was tight, though."

“E31 and 32: A perfect view, and I had no problem sat here at all. One of the seats are marked red on the monkey's website seating plan but I don't see why it should be, but feel maybe some would feel at top price it is not central enough. Comfortable with enough legroom for a huge oaf like me."

“Row F: (Alun, from Essex). I was in the stalls, which I often find not as good as the Dress Circle (I'm short at 5' '7'') and find the stalls often mean I can see a head more than a stage. My seat was in row F which was the 3rd row (before rows changed) seat 7 (row starts at F5 - so 3rd seat in) and was a good view - the stage was set back due to the orchestra pit, and a good view in general.”

“Row F: (Marita and Michelle). Our seats were excellent...we had a good view of everything going on."

"F3: You can only see about two thirds of the stage. F4 is of course slightly better, and you *could* lean left against the pillar but be mindful of the person behind in G3 - their left side stage view is blocked by the pillar."

“Row F 14 and 15: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012).
We paid £25 a ticket for Row F in the Stalls seats 14 and 15, right in the centre on the aisle. These tickets are only available on the day from the Box Office apparently - and we were warned we might get wet! There are two ways I suspect to see this show. Either from the dress circle, where you can appreciate the choreography, or from the front of the stalls where you truly experience audience participation. All the numbers in Act One are perfectly executed and then......There's a nervous laugh rippling through the front rows as we pick up our coats for protection. Adam Cooper looks at us all with a devilish glint as he kicks away and we dissolve into helpless laughter.
When we return after the interval, I point out to some of those around us that there is a reprise at the end of the show mentioned in the programme. The reprise involves the entire cast and this time no mercy is shown as they splash to the left, splash to the right and we emerge from the theatre well and truly soaked. I felt sorry for those who weren't near enough the stage. I wouldn't have missed that for the world. Try and get tickets near the front but take a raincoat!"

"F17 and 18: "Priscilla" (March 2009), (HB). Had to look up a great deal especially as there were people suspended frequently. Also the opera number was very hard to see with Felicia on the top of the bus. I'd go for a few rows back if you can get it or maybe front circle. Point of warning from Row D back: be careful not to get tickets in the last two or so seats as there are post/ pillars that will get in the way, and after all, even at a lower price you want to see the show not some post. be careful of Seat D1!"

“Row G: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). Rather like the Old Vic the Palace stalls actually has an 'anti-rake' for the first 4 rows. Rake only begins in Row H. I was in Row G and most of my view of the stage was obscured by the person in front of me due to this. (The monkey didn't notice this on its own visit, though the seats in those rows did seem a tiny bit lower set than the rest).

“Row G: (Martin – regular reader). I am not keen on row G as the whole thing, but on the other hand I consider seats 14, 15, 16, 17 as the best seating in the house. To be on the safe side: very close to the action, while seeing the whole stage including feet at the behind and the top, but no neck aches after the performance, outstanding sound balance and conductor in the view but not distractingly, very good rake."

"G4: I'd be happy to pay for G4 at a reduced price only. You miss the corner of the stage, but nothing much seems to happen there so it does not matter. Yes, it is a restricted view and £32.50 (as it was then) is pricey by any standards, but as restricted view seats go, this is one of the better ones, I think, though others may disagree."

“G7: (Cristopher). Highly rated – the cast and the grail were so near!”

"G24 and 25: (Stuart Mulholland). Slightly to the left of centre, but not too close to the orchestra, I would recommend these seats, but at £50 (for the production we saw) quite pricey."

“G seats 26 to 28: (James F). Excellent leg room (I'm 6ft 1) and sight lines"

“D27 and 28: “Priscilla”. Unfortunately found that D28 is behind a pole which restricts the view of the stage by at least a quarter. Several times during the show I lost sight of performers as they went in to the blind spot. I will just put it down to experience but I thought I would let you know. (The monkey would welcome comment on this, as it hadn't noticed that).”

“G28: "I would like to add my two pennies worth to the D28 discussion. I have to disagree with James F who includes seat D28 in the description: "Excellent leg room ... and sight lines". Although seating plans put pillar in front of G27, the pillar is actually directly in front of G28.

Legroom: In theory you could put your legs on either side of the pillar - unless of course the occupant of G27 decides that the space on one side of the pillar would be an ideal place to put their bags and coats!!

Sightlines: The pillar causes about 25% of the stage area to be permanently obscured. So as far as I could tell, only two of the three drag queens made it to the top of Ayres Rock at the end of the show. I think my diagram (below) gives a fair representation of the area of the stage that was used in this production and which can't be seen from G28 (the red area).

The stage does extend slightly further back than shown, but this area wasn't used (thankfully). In my opinion, this should be designated as a Restricted View seat (although that would make G29 an "Even More Restricted View" seat - or perhaps "Audio only").

This all may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I paid next to nothing for the seat, so from that point of view I felt I got excellent value for money and thoroughly enjoyed the show. But I certainly would object to paying the standard price for that seat."

"G29: "The Commitments" (November 2014), (John from the USA). Trying to get a bargain seat. This has to be the worst, most obstructed seat I have ever encountered! The view is directly of a pillar!!! Even trying to peer around it, a huge amount of the staging is missed. I paid £22.50. I would say in reality, the seat is worth £2.50. You need to find a new colour that is worse than red for your seating chart to do justice to this seat! I just read someone commented this seat may be considered audio only – I was actually going to say the same thing! This seat should not be sold at any price. A travesty! On the plus side, Killian Donnelly sounded great."

“Row H: I was very pleased that I had managed to get seats in the fifth row but it was a tad too close and we couldn't always see the bottom of the stage."

"H18 and E19: (JB). Neither of us being overly tall, we were well pleased with the seats and the clear view of the performance on stage."

"H 28 and E29: (Mark and Nicola Dunsford). Took these on advice of the box office who said: "Pretty good but off to the side a bit". However, no mention was made of the pillar which blocks visibility of about 1/3 of the stage for H29"

"Row I: "Singin' in the Rain" (March 2012), (Julie, Maureen & Arthur of Middlesbrough (250 miles away). Warning! If you're sat in the first few rows in the stalls you will get a bit of a soaking but it was all good fun. We were sat in the centre aisle of Row F which gave us a brilliant view of the stage. We were told that these seats were "Out Of The Line Of Fire" by the box office but managed to get drenched at the end. If the seats directly in front hadn't been empty, we may have been "protected". But it was all in good fun and added something extra to the show!"

"I2 and 3: "Singin' in the Rain" (March 2012), (Mark - regular reader). Excellent 'day seats' for £25 each! Great value."

“I3: "Singin' in the Rain" (March 2012). Discounted, and a little bit to the side but still a really good view of the stage! It's lovely to sit that close to the actors!"

"I4 and 5: “Singin' in the Rain” (March 2012), (Debbi). The only action we missed was Don Lockwood hanging off the lamppost in the theme tune to the show but otherwise I can't fault the seats. Oh, actually, okay, so I can fault the seats but these are minor issues and I can't really complain because myself and a friend got the tickets for less than half price! Bargain! Okay, so the minor issues are that the legroom is not exactly generous, but then again it wasn't uncomfortable. The only other issue is that - and this is not the fault of the theatre or anyone really - but it's frustrating having to constantly stand up to let others through to their seats further down the aisle - this is something unavoidable unfortunately... but it really does annoy me! Oh and one more thing for me to mention, the air conditioning was awful! It was probably around 27 degrees the night we went and it was stiflingly hot. Just make sure you wear something cool when you go to see this show. PS: You do not get wet in Row F of the Stalls - except the odd stray drop of water, but further forward than that you DO get wet! Be warned!!! It's all part of the fun though."

"I6 and 7: “Singin' in the Rain” (March 2012)”. I literally could not sit with my right leg straight in front of me, my upper leg needed to be about two inches shorter to get it in so I had to sit with my legs both to the left so my right leg was between the two seats in front. (The reader is tall and had an injured leg at the time – Editor).”

"I14 and 15: “Priscilla”, (James – regular reader). A little close for my liking but you do see every expression. Great sound here but perhaps sit a couple of rows further back for a more comfortable viewing experience."

"I22: A great seat for the access (disabled) rate of £25.75, with plenty of leg room for me. I would say do not sit much further to the left of this seat because the restriction from the circle and boxes will spoil your view of one of London's great shows."

“I26 and 27: worthwhile tickets at the sides, provided actors are not positioned to mask the view of other performers.

“Row J: “Priscilla” (March 2009). Stalls are the best for this show - the furthest back I've sat and been fine is Row N, on the edge, and although I couldn't see the edge of one of the Divas as she descended from the ceiling, that was the only thing I missed (and it's not that important). Otherwise, Row J is fantastic."

"J6 and 7: (Jamie Coniam). Excellent seats, great view and very close to the action."

"J8 and 9: perfectly good seats and the view was fantastic. I have to say that the legroom is appalling for a theatre in this day and age, as others have mentioned if you are any taller than 5'10" you are going to find it tough going."

"J11: "Spamalot" (January 2009). Got on the day for £25. Fantastic seat could see everything very clearly."

"J27 and 28: "The Commitments" (November 2013). Seats were at second price (I paid £47 for a Saturday matinee). I imagine that J3 and 4 are the same. As a regular user of the Monkey's website I have on many occasions saved cash by choosing seats a couple of seats further along a row and on this occasion after sitting in J26 for a second before it was occupied I can tell you that at £20 extra for that seat the view is NO different!"

"K8 and 9: The leg room was a bit lacking for my 5'9" frame but the view and the proximity to the stage made a little discomfort worth it."

"K16 and H17 offered both a great view and plenty of legroom."

“K22: (James T). I can safely say that this is an excellent seat, though if you are over 5'10 I would avoid as the leg room is pretty poor."

"K22/23: All seats around here are fantastic - near enough so that you can enjoy the spectacle of the show yet far enough away so that you can absorb fully appreciate the set".

"K23 and 24: I think I can safely say these were the two best seats I have had in the West End – a perfect view."

“K24 and 25: (GJ). Perfect position to see all the facial expressions and everything. We were both very pleased with these seats that are rightly highlighted green on the monkey, although I wouldn't have wanted to have sat any further to the left and would of preferred a position a little more towards the centre. The seats cost £60 each and I think well worth it."

"K24 and 25: These were good seats with an excellent view of the stage. You could see the performers getting ready to come on and see them going off at the back of the stage as the seats are off centre. If you can handle this they were excellent seats, but if you prefer to be engrossed and not being slightly distracted by the performers going on/off the stage then maybe go more central."

“L5: Splendid seat in L5 in the stalls. By splendid, I mean the view and not the extremely cramped legroom"

"L 22: "Pricilla" (March 2009), (Adam). Had a perfect view (as well I should have for the ridiculous amount of money they charged for it). I also note that acoustics in the theatre were bad, the orchestra overpowered the singers; sometimes I could hardly hear them."

“L27: (Chris May). No problems with the view and seats had O.K. legroom."

"Row M: Disappointed with my view this time as due to the poor cambering I wasn't able to see some parts of the show as I had somebody of about 6 foot sat in front of me, and I'm 5 foot 10."

"M2: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). Just under the overhang. Perfect view of everything, aside from two moments: You can't see Don hanging off the lamppost during 'Singin' in the Rain' and you can't see Lina and Zelda's entrance when Lina finds out Kathy's seeing Don in Act 2. Also, bloke next to me in J3 had very little legroom, I was fine."

"M2: Bloke next to me in M3 had very little legroom, I was fine."

“M14 to 17: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012).”SPOILER ALERT: May be worth a mention that the stalls gets a good look at the “movie stars” arriving for the premiere down the central aisle; and the very central seats L and M 14 to 17 are going to get a great closeup of Kathy at the end – for anyone who has seen the film it’s just like you would expect. SPOILER ENDS."

"M16 and 17: “Priscilla”, (Musical Lover). Fantastic. Lots of legroom and great view."

"M16 (on the aisle) and M17: “Priscilla”, (Michael). For the first act we had the bonus of 2 empty seats directly in front of us. But 2 people moved along for the second act (he of the Very Large kind), meaning a switch of seats for us. His large frame and head blocking my view. Still, very worthy of the Green on the Monkey's plan under normal circumstances. Row J was clearly the optimum row as the rake increased significantly there (judge by the high change of the arm rests) but at over £100 quid (with booking fees) for Premium Seats, you really do have to be serious making that choice. "

"N16 to 20: (David Allen). We couldn't really have asked for better seats - no restriction on the view at all, I'm 6ft and the legroom was OK, not great, but I didn't especially feel cramped in. This theatre is a lot smaller than you'd think and so it felt very intimate."

“Row P: "Priscilla,” (N Ansari). We were sat in row L to the right hand side and the seats offered a great view, especially when the actors were at the front of the stage. The show is highly entertaining and just good fun!"

"P2: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). Terrible legroom by the way even on the end of the row, but in my experience this entire theatre is particularly bad). Considering this is a top price seat I was pretty annoyed to find, like another reader, SPOILER ALERT that you totally miss the lamppost bit in the title scene, and Zelda telling Lina about Kathy. It’s not whole scenes that you’re missing, but given the show follows the film so closely, these are still both key segments to be effectively happening “off stage” (as that’s how it looks). I think this must affect the first 3 seats or so of every row – my advice would me to sit the other side of the theatre. Personally I would red-square the first couple of seats down the entire audience-right side because of this. I also found it irritating that the orchestra are high above the back of the stage and can barely be seen. The cast point at them during the curtain call, but you still don’t really get to see them. SPOILER ENDS."

"P7 and L8: "Pricilla" (March 2009). Had a perfect view, although any further back and you may miss some of the action."

"Q15 and Q16, R8 to 17 and S14 to S22: “Priscilla”, (James – regular reader). Everyone said they could see really well and the overhang didn't restrict any action except for one very short section in the first act where taller people in row S missed a tiny bit higher up. Sound is great from here too. I still prefer the Dress Circle only because you are looking down on the action a bit more."

"Q18: "Priscilla" (March 2009), (Jackie). Paid £47 (face value £66). As the people who were due to sit in row P did not turn up I had an absolutely brilliant view of the stage, didn't have to peer around people's heads at all. There is not much room though and at 5ft 9 inches and with my leg in a brace (torn ligament) it was rather a squash and a little uncomfortable."

"R2 and 3: “Priscilla”. This was ideal for me because I'm a 6ft 7" tall lad and my seat was at the end of the aisle, which meant I could dangle my legs out slightly. Leg room (in row R at least, but it seemed to be the case for all the stalls) was painfully cramped, more so than any other musical I've been to. Tall people like myself need to seriously consider this, as even my 5ft 7" mate found this to be a problem for his legs.

In terms of viewing the stage, we were up close enough and could easily see what was happening. However, the top right of the stage is blocked by the overhanging royal circle and some of the performances which are brought out of the stage (you'll understand what I mean when you watch it!) eventually disappear from view, no matter how far you stretch your neck! The theatre have displayed television screens to combat this problem - but the blurry quality of them was almost insulting. Surely a production this expensive can do better?"

"R16 to 19: What an amazing view you get from these seats! No action is missed at all. I know a lot of people have complained about the views in this theatre but this is a very very old theatre and there is not a lot the management company can do about this so they have installed screens to let you see some of the action that happens above and that is about as much as they can do, so try if you can to book seats in the stalls or in the dress circle."

"R18, 19, 20 and 21: (Linda O'Reilly). Theatremonkey is correct in saying these are great seats!... The seats ramp slightly at this level so we had perfect view of the stage. Leg room was OK too, even for the men."

"S6: Offers a good full view of the stage. A tiny upper corner of the stage gets blocked out but there's not much action going on high up there anyway. Leg room is limited but not cramped."

"T8: I had no problem with leg room or the view - apart from the mirrors that line the side of the theatre and occasionally had reflections of the action. A minor distraction."

"T20: “Priscilla”. Had seen it twice before from the upper circle and whilst I like this seat more I wouldn't have liked to be any further back. The only thing I missed was when the shoe comes forward in the opera section. I would rate these RED for value (that is if they cost you ;) ). I'd still say for a 99.9% unrestricted view to go for E10 / 11 in the upper circle for £25 over these seats in the stalls."

"V8 and 9: “Priscilla”. Top price seats, but much of the top of the stage was out of sight due to the circle overhang - and this show has quite a bit of the action at high level. There were several top price rows behind us and their view must have been even worse. Whilst we are on a negative note, we must mention the legroom or lack of it! It must be one of the worst we've encountered and several of our neighbours mentioned it too. And it was so hot!"

"V8 and 9 (top price): (Jay Hunt). The leg and knee room was so tight that I could barely sit down. I am 6ft 5 so never expect much room, but I have never sat in any theatre seat this tight After realising that there was no way I would last the first Act, let alone the whole show sitting with my legs jammed against my neighbour and seat in front, I spoke to an usher, who moved us to a box at the left rear hand side of the stalls. The view from here was terrible- as other reviewers have pointed out, the back third of the stalls, including the rear boxes, are distant from the stage. From this particular box the top two thirds of the stage was obscured, as was a good third of the lower part of the stage! So we insisted on moving yet again, this time to Box A, at the front of the theatre and accessible from the Dress Circle. Here we enjoyed a fantastic view. If I go to see this show again, I'd be tempted to book the same box or the front few rows of the dress circle. By the way, the Usher did admit there are several rows of seats in the stalls that do have particularly tight legroom- I can certainly vouch for Row 'R'!".

"V26 to 28: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). With GILT discount tickets, our seats in the back stalls were further away from the stage than we would have liked - under the slightly oppressive dress circle overhang and with the side of the stage to our left out of view, we felt a bit ‘disconnected’. Having said that, neither were problems for us with this production because no action takes place up high, nor on the left hand side: both lamp-post and cast’s entrance are on the right and we all had good sight-lines. Knee room is generally limited, but there was no sign of the mirrors, which appeared to have been covered up."

“Row W: “Priscilla”. We paid £62.50 to sit in Stalls row W. I am so glad it is marked "Red" on the Monkey's plan! The seats were cramped and I could not put my knees together and I am only 5'11" tall! I ended up with my leg jammed up against the lady sitting next to me. The overhang of the circle means you miss a lot of the action. The TV screens at the side at next to useless when you sit in the middle."

"X25: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). View of the stage is near perfect but I am 5'9" and the legroom is just awful. My knees started to hurt way before the interval and I had to bother the person left to me, because there was no way I could fit my left leg in front of me. I'd rather stand for the whole show than sit in this place again. Would I have worn heels instead of sneakers I would have had to walk out in the middle of the show. I paid £62 for 'Singin' In The Rain' and, while the show is awesome, I couldn't enjoy it at all so this is overpriced. I would definitely mark this as a red seat in your map."

"X 25, 26, 27: (Richard Bradbury). Gave a decent view of the lower half of the stage but the entire top half is blocked by the circle". Reader Heath concurs with this.”

“X28 and 29: "Priscilla" (March 2009). Almost at the back and right on the side. As there is as much action at mid height and at the top of the stage as there is at floor level those seats were awful, as we could only see the bottom of the stage as the Circle is very low and cuts out the view of most of the stage - and for this show it must apply to seats much further forward than we were. It would have been impossible to see the Divas singing who were high up and had great voices, and for me were the best part of the show. We only saw them because for some unaccountable reason after about five minutes we were asked to show our tickets and were told we were in the wrong seats and they moved us to row K or L which were much better, but still very tight on the knees."

“Y26 and 27: (Shona). Our seats were right at the back and left hand side of the stalls I was impressed with the legroom and the view was fine.”

“Z9 and 10: (Jonathan Bridges). Both of these had excellent viewing. You couldn't see the top right corner of the stage."

“Z23: “Spamalot” (Brian McKinney - former Goodshow.com owner and Theatremonkey friend). Wasn’t impressed”

 

Stalls Boxes 

Layout:
At stalls level box X is in an alcove halfway along the sidewall of the theatre.

Box Z is at the back of the stalls behind row W.

Legroom:
Acceptable, as movable chairs are used.

Choosing Seats in General:
Box X: The view is poor with a third of the stage missing, but sitting in the far right side of the box improves it slightly. Choose these only if box Z and the restricted view stalls are not available.

Box Z: The view is restricted to the lower two thirds or the stage, but it is clear. Choose box Z as a comfy cheaper alternative to a seat in the Upper Circle, IF you are not worried about missing the top sections of some scenes.

General Hazard Notes:
Missing the top / sides of the stage.

A reader notes that box Z had an "odour problem" ("hint of drain" is the scent again) pointed out at time of booking! Hopefully the building work since then has cured it permanently!

Changes for the current production:
Box X is second price, skip it. Box Z is far cheaper, as you will miss a good 15 minutes of the first half of the show at least. On the other hand, for £20, then take box Z first for an overall view - you won't miss much more than the more expensive seats in rows in front. It's also more comfortable than a balcony seat at the price. The monkey would also even take box X over any upper circle seat at the same price for the comfort alone.

Reader Comments:
"(Jay Hunt). The view from here was terrible - as other reviewers have pointed out, the back third of the stalls, including the rear boxes, are distant from the stage. From this particular box the top two thirds of the stage was obscured, as was a good third of the lower part of the stage."

“Box X: “Priscilla”: "Box X offers an impressively obstructed view with two thirds of the top of the stage missing. All the main action can be seen, and it feels close to the stage. They've installed two monitors - left and right the auditorium - to catch the stuff that it missing... a shame that the image quality is worse than youtube videos though. Okay seats, comfy with lots of room but not worth their usual price. It's a joke they sell them for £45."

 


DRESS CIRCLE 

Layout:
The Upper Circle overhangs the Dress Circle at row C, cutting the view of the top of the stage from row H back.

The Dress Circle is split into left and right blocks by an aisle.

In all rows, except J, seats 18 and 19 are next to the centre aisle offering extra comfort and a good view.

Row J is set between pillars, behind the outer corners of row I.

Legroom:
Outstandingly awful in row A, and most readers agree. Also tight in rows I and J compared with rows in front.

Adequate in rows B to J (though may be tight for those over 6ft 5 or so). The outermost four seats in row H have a bit more.

The restricted view seats in row B have far more legroom than C, though those in C36 can turn slightly to one side to make the most of aisle space for one leg.

A 6ft tall reader reported no issue in E24, and another (in G31) advises "My partner is 6ft and found he had adequate legroom, aided by the aisle to stretch into."

Choosing Seats in General:
The monkey really, really hates row A, with its cramped legroom and sightlines potentially affected by lights hanging from the front of the circle. but others feel differently. If the lights are absent, the view from the central seats is excellent... for the short legged...

Theatremonkey rates the Dress Circle rows B to D seats 11 to 26 the finest in the house. Accept that the seats feel oddly upright, but the view of the stage is great.

Further out in these rows, the first and last few seats in rows A to C are restricted view. A safety bar at the front corners of the circle might worry those in the end two seats, but it’s intrusion of boxes / speakers / lights into sightlines that cause real problems. Prices allow only a VERY little for the interference. Still, at second price those in rows B and C may be worthwhile if no better cheap box seats - or only Dress Circle row J - is left. B has more legroom.

Strange architecture and ornate metalwork at the ends of row E back make the first and last four seats in rows D to I worth avoiding.

Row F back the monkey had felt overpriced at top price. Reader Edward, notes that row F25 was "stunning" when available at a discount. With reader feedback, the monkey was convinced to raise those in F and G to "white" in the end...

One reader even felt H23 fine at a discount, with a clear view, good sound and not too much intrusion by the circle overhang.

Row J is tucked on its own shelf at the edges of the circle. The roof feels low and the value is poor. These are the last resort at top price.

General Hazard Notes:
In row A, sightlines are often affected by lights hanging from the front of the circle.

A safety bar at the front corners of the circle might worry those in the end two seats.

End seats in all rows lose a tiny sliver of stage nearest to them due to box / speaker protrusion - hence its advice to sit further in.

Strange architecture and ornate metalwork at the ends of row E back; another reason to “go central.”

Changes for the current production:
Most of central rows A to C are at "Premium" price - your call, feels the monkey, who would go for the two seats next to them in all rows. In particular, it would skip row A for potential lighting in view and legroom if over 5ft 5 or so issues, though some readers have been happy here.

At all performances except Saturday Evenings, some clever pricing throws up outstanding bargains in the dress circle. Changes in the dress circle mean that those are worth considering first for views of the stage if under 6ft tall (5ft 8 for dress circle row I) but those over 6ft will appreciate being able to tuck feet under the seats in front in the stalls. So, that said, take centre dress circle rows H and G at second and I at third first, then stalls row T first at second price or W at third price unless tall.

At fourth price, the monkey would take the pairs of seats in rows B and C of the dress circle first, over row Y and Z stalls as you miss far less from those. At second price and below, all seats in the stalls and dress circle are also superior for comfort to those in the upper circle and balcony, and for view compared to the balcony too.

On Saturday Evenings, all other rows back to I are top price. The monkey would grab D to F 11 to 26, working D to F, centre to sides, in that order. skip rows H and I, only taking H if the only other option is upper circle or stalls row X back at the same price.

Row J is average value for this production. Compared with seats elsewhere at the same price, the monkey feels you will see more from them and be slightly more comfortable too.

The outermost pairs of seats in rows A to C are not discounted. Those in B and C are the least worst at top price, feels the monkey. Take those in B first for comfort if taller, but really, don't bother if you are paying full price - everybody else gets a better deal than you do...

Reader Comments:
“Dress Circle: (Siobhan): Dress circle are the best seats.”

“A13: The leg room is not as bad as that described by Theatremonkey. The view is superb but certain seats have lighting units affixed to the front of the balcony that project forward. At £50 a ticket you don't expect that. Watch out for A13, which was one of ours."

A 13 to 16: I took advantage of an offer which saw me paying £35 for £60 seats. I didn't find it too bad, we were in 13 to 16, and I wasn't uncomfortable.. but as some people mention you cannot stretch out as much as in the other rows. The seats were fairly central and had a great view of all the action."

A19 and 20: "Singin' in the Rain." Marked red on the seating diagram. Surprisingly, I found this position to be great. The legroom was a little narrow but I have had much worse (and expected much worse)– I think it gets narrower the further from the centre you get. However, it has to be said that being of well above average height, I could see over the railing without any of the lights getting in the way, or having to lean forward. Obviously I can't compare this with the view anywhere else in the circle for the same money but I was very pleasantly surprised." 

“A19 and 20: “Singin’ In The Rain,” (Chris B). The view cannot be faulted and has to one of the best on the West End, in what has to be the most grand theatre. Centrally located, a clear, unobstructed view and the perfect distance to appreciate the whole stage, yet still see all the facial expressions. However, the legroom is a little cramped (fine for me at 5'8" but any taller you might struggle) which is the only drawback to these amazing seats. A19 is an aisle seat though allowing a bit of extra legroom if needed.”

“A25 and A26: (K Favelle). The legroom in was so tight that I was finding it uncomfortable at just 5 foot 6 inches in height. My husband, who is 6 foot 6 inches tall with much of that height in his extra long legs, was absolutely crammed in and was forced to spread his legs so wide he was intruding into the space of his neighbours. A25 also had the added disadvantage of a metal strut (for the lights, attached to the front of the dress circle balcony) reaching up and over the balcony which meant it was not possible to lean forward and rest ones arms on the velvet balustrade. Which is a shame as the seats were so tight they gave me backache and I had to keep changing position in order to avoid cramp. I absolutely second Theatremonkey’s comment about dress circle row A seats being "outstandingly awful."

“Row B: (Celia Robinson). Had an excellent view of the action.”

"B7 and B8: “Priscilla” (March 2009), (James – regular reader). It would have been nicer to be a little more central but at a discount this seats were fantastic!"

"B19 and 20: (Jayne). We booked these after reading the Theatre Monkey reviews. The seats in my opinion are the best in the house, you feel so close to the stage even though you are upstairs. You can see everything and are central to the stage - better seats than row A in front of you. Without Theatremonkey I would have booked tickets in the stalls, but I'm so glad I read the monkey reviews first. I paid £64 each for the seats, plus the usual booking fee, but for me it was well worth it. I understand how costly this can be and there are cheaper tickets available - but all I will say is, 'just go the once and splash out.'"

"B 19, 20, 21 and 22: “Priscilla”, (K Braithwaite). As recommended by "Theatremonkey." Would sit here again. We had an excellent view of all the action."

"B30 and B31: "Priscilla", (James – regular reader). Despite being quite a way off on the side, the view was perfect from here and you don't miss any of the action, although you do have to turn slightly towards the stage."

"C15 and 16: (James – regular reader). Amongst the best seats in the house."

"C17 and C18: “Priscilla” (James – regular reader). The seats were perfect for the view and the sound. I went during the preview period and was lucky enough to get them for £50 by booking early. However, I’ve since discovered that these seats are in the designated premium zone which means they now sell for £82.50 and a staggering £92.50 at the weekends, excluding booking fees! It seems that there a large amount of seats like this for this production so it’s definitely worth checking out the ticket price seating plan on this website and then searching for seats just outside these areas."

"C 23, 24 and 25: (Paul Nicholls). Just about the best seats you can get."

"C25: (Paul Nicholls). Excellent view, plenty of leg room. If you were to take your own seat into the Palace Theatre, this is where you would probably put it!"

"C33 and 34: (James – regular reader). A little far to the side at top price as you start to lose a little bit of the action but take them at a bit of a discount."

"Row D: "Priscilla" (March 2009), (Jess B). Brilliant seats and had a perfect view of what was going on."

"D6 to 9: “Priscilla”, (CC Queen N.Ansari). We were not disappointed (apart from one bit in the show where we wished we had sat in the stalls!). Previous reviewers commented on the lack of visibility on these seats but the view was great. Not obscured at all, and sitting in the front few rows offers a really good view of the stage whichever end you sit."

"D9 and 10: "Singin' In The Rain" (August 2012), (N Ansari). We had a fantastic view of the entire show."

"D12 to 14: The Dress Circle is my fave place in this venue. D12 to 14 were perfect in every respect, so I'll say no more... apart from we were told by the guy on the door that Bette Midler had sat in these seats / or one of them anyway!"

“D18 and 19: “Priscilla”, (James – regular reader). I managed to get them at regular top price, which was fair, but these seats are usually in the premium allocation and would then be very over-priced."

"E18: "Singing In The Rain," (Faris). This has no obstructions to the top of the arch an has an excellent clear view of the stage. I normally prefer seats in the stalls but sitting in the circle gives a nice overview of the dance routines and action."

"E18 and 19: The most perfect seats ever. Clear view, comfy, lots of legroom and an aisle to lean into. Well worth the 55 quidies we paid!"

"E24: I paid £35 per ticket through the GILT ticket offer (runs January to March each year). I'm 6ft tall and felt that I had plenty of legroom. I was able to see the entire stage, except for a couple of occasions when the person in front of me lent forward, but that wasn't really an issue. Overall, great seats!"

"E29 and E30: The best we could get at short notice. Excellent seats albeit with a slightly sideways view and a very tiny amount of stage not visible from E30."

"F 23 and 24: We found the view excellent, with a full view of the stage including the very top (which is important for this show). Your plan shows these seats as red which we don’t understand. We thought they were good with adequate (for West End) legroom."

"F23 and F24: “Priscilla” (June 2011). These were fantastic seats, more leg room than I thought, and we could see everything that was going on, no problem seeing the Divas descending. I think they would have been worth their full price (£66.00), but we got them on a special offer for 47.99."

"G11 and G12: "Derren Brown - Infamous" (June 2013). The view was fantastic, if maybe a little bit too far to see Derren's facial expressions - but overall, you get the show. We are both tall, 6'3" and while there was enough to sit comfortable-ish, our knees were touching the front seats."

"G11 to 13: Excellent view of the stage and the booster seat provided for my ten year old helped a lot. Only criticism was that it was very hot and stuffy in the Dress Circle. Had it been a serious play I would have been in danger of nodding off!!"

"G30 and 31: Seats were really good. View wasn't at all obstructed by the wrought iron metal work as commented by one of your readers. Upper circle was over hanging us which meant you couldn't quite see the top of the pros arch, but only just and for this show you didn't miss out on much of the action. My partner is 6ft and found he had adequate legroom, aided by the aisle to stretch into. On the whole really good seats, although I did get a discount through the GILT promotion (January 2007) so didn't pay the full whack."

"H15: "Singing In The Rain," (Faris). Got through the annual "Get into London Theatre" offer. I was in the dress circle seat H15. Which is currently marked red. For previous productions the top of the stage may of been missed but for SITR nothing is missed as they don't use the full height of the proscenium arch. ("Red" as it just isn't great at top price, editor). Politely asking the steward got me moved to seat E18. I wouldn't pay full price for row H but it is perfectly fine. If at full price go for a few rows forward."

"H 15 to 18: “Priscilla”. Have to say they were great seats especially on a discount, we paid £40 rather that the top price of £60.

There was only one row behind us, and they would have been affected by sightline issues, but only when the divas descend from above; we just managed to see them all. There were no sightline issues from where we were situated. Leg room was adequate, bearing in mind I am 6'+, and found them to be pretty comfortable too. I think I preferred being up in the dress circle to being in the stalls from where I saw' Spamalot'. I would agree with the monkey's opinion that some of the best seats in the house would be up here. I wouldn't hesitate to buy seats in the dress circle again."

"H 19 to 22: Although these seats are classed red in your opinion I can say that they were great seats which had good leg room and a superb view of the stage. Although the Grand Circle does intrude into the sight-line, only the very upper part of the set is lost - but in 'Spamalot' this is only clouds. (Helpful to know, comments the monkey, who would also sit here if there was a substantial reduction - even consider at top price as a final choice - Editor).”

"I5, 6 and 7: "Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert" (March 2009), (Vicki). Legroom was acceptable but it's worth noting that seat 5 is more tucked in behind H6 than the seating plan suggests, so if you're choosing that one to stretch out in, it's really no better than any other end-of-row seat. With regards to this particular show, I think I would actually categorise these seats as having a restricted view, as the over-hang of Upper Circle really does obscure some fantastic bits of the performance. I think the view improves towards the middle of these rows as seats are definitely higher at the sides. Avoid row J at the back as these seats sit a lot higher than row I, so their view must have been very disappointing. Selling these seats at top price is pretty scandalous if I'm honest.

Please warn people that if they are paying this top price for the Dress Circle (and who on earth can afford those premium priced seats??!) that they should choose seats towards the middle of the rows and as far forward as they can find. 'Priscilla' is a gorgeously visual show and so it's worth picking your seat carefully so you don't miss an inch of the sparkle."

"I21 and I22: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). Offered a good view of the stage (this was the back row of the Dress Circle). However, if someone is sitting in front of you, the view is quite easily obscured. The legroom is restricted - I am 5'8" and I wasn't too cramped but my partner is 6'4" and was quite uncomfortable and wasn't able to have a lot of room to move his legs at all."

"I29 and 30: “Priscilla”. Since you asked about sight line issues at Priscilla, I thought I would mention that most of the Dress Circle should be fine except for the back three rows. We sat in I29 and I30 almost at the back and to one side and could see most of the show although we did have to lean forward to see a few things like the faces of the performers when they are on top of Uluhru in the climax. A couple of rows in front no one was leaning forward so I believe they had no issues."

 

Dress Circle Boxes

Layout:
Boxes A, B, C and D are either side of the stage.

B and D are closest to the stage.

Box J was the old seats J18 and 19 - a theatre secret, rarely appearing on seating plans. Tucked against the back wall at the end of the central aisle.

Legroom:
Acceptable, as all seats in boxes A to D are movable chairs. Box J are fixed seats with nothing in front.

Choosing Seats in General:
B and D are closest to the stage and lose a quarter of it, A and C lose around an eighth.

B and D are thus second choice, as they lose so much of the view.

All offer moderate value and are a choice for those requiring more legroom than is available at the same price elsewhere.

The monkey’s readers prefer cheaper upper circle boxes.

Box J has a view like looking down a tunnel to the stage. Only the centre of the stage is visible if all the aisle seats in row I are occupied, and the seats in front muffle the sound. If you MUST see the show, take these if EVERYTHING else is gone (and the box office won't sell them until then anyway - if at all). Useful to know about, but to sit in?

General Hazard Notes:
Loss of view of nearest side.

Boxes may be shared with lighting / speakers, making them noisy.

Changes for the current production:
Boxes B and D are not on sale.

Boxes A and C may be blasted by loud speakers set in B and D. The view is pretty good, though - almost level with some action.

Reader Comments:
“Ask the box office what seats they have in Dress Circle Box A or box C. Seats 1, 2 and 3 in both these boxes are sold as restricted view but the view from them is really excellent so they are great value for money (for "Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical" they are top price, though, so perhaps less value). If they only have seat 4 available in these boxes then don't take them as they are at the back of the box and you don't get to see much. The box office also warns that these seats are not for those who dislike loud noise, as speakers are situated among them.”

"(Jay Hunt). Here we enjoyed a fantastic view. If I go to see this show again, I'd be tempted to book the same box or the front few rows of the dress circle."

“Box A: (Annie Gross). We had tickets for Box G and were upgraded to Box A, which was fine. Sideways view, but you don't miss too much, and you are almost close enough to touch some of the performers. All the seats in the other 2 Dress Circle boxes (B and D) are very restricted so if that's all they have then you'd be much better off elsewhere, unless legroom is a factor. The second time we bought tickets from TKTS and got tickets for the stalls, full price £60 but we got them for £30. Row F seat 3, a little bit to the side but still a really good view of the stage! It's lovely to sit that close to the actors!”

 


UPPER CIRCLE
Called the Grand Circle in this theatre

Layout:
The balcony overhangs the Upper Circle at row C, affecting the view of seats from row E back. The Upper Circle is high above the stalls.

The Upper Circle is split into left and right blocks by an aisle.

Rows A and B extend a long way around the sides of the circle towards the boxes and stage.

In all rows except H seats 22 and 23 are next to the centre aisle offering extra comfort for one leg, and the most central view.
Row H is set between pillars, behind the outer corners of row G.

Legroom:
Poor in all seats and worst in row A.

Some seats in rows A and B are sold at lower prices to compensate for legroom issues. The ends of both rows are particularly tight where the circle bends to meet the boxes.

The "high numbers" side of B and C seem to have the most legroom of all seats here, though that is STILL VERY LIMITED and cramped for anybody over 5ft 6 or so, it felt.

The monkey notes that C8 has no legroom at all.

Row G seats 10 to 13 and 32 to 35 have a little more, the monkey felt.

Seats E9 and 36 are only for contortionists – though they’ll find legroom that way.

Choosing Seats in General:
Metal bars guard the aisles at the ends of most rows and are intertwined around the extreme ends of rows B and C, and in front of each row of seats there too, prices and restricted view warnings reflect this, though the fact legroom is also restricted is a far greater worry, thinks the monkey.

Row A seats 3 to 8 and 37 to 42, and row B seats 1 to 10 and 35 to 43 are designated “restricted view” as they are sideways to the stage too. Pick row B over A, but also consider the balcony for other bottom price seats.

Other seats in row A are normally discounted due to the dire legroom.

Take any discount as a warning not an enticement, unless you work in a diamond mine and house share with Snow White, feels the monkey. Anybody else should be genuinely willing to put up with the pain for three hours. These tickets are best left alone in the monkey's opinion.

The best seats in the Upper Circle are in rows B to D in that order. It is worth avoiding the first and last four seats in these rows for best value. Even third price is quite a bit pay for little legroom and distance from the stage, if nothing else, though.

Row E back feels high up and combined with the low ceiling above cutting the view, the value for money is dubious at best.

Row E seats 9 and 36 are sideways to the stage, and peer through bars. Creative contortionists should find that twisting gains them a bit of legroom to the side, but not in front.

If you must, pick row F or G seats 15 to 30, but they are the same price as E for similar views...

One box office staff member's opinion is that the single restricted view seats at the ends of rows F and G are worth considering as they are next to "full price" seats and have little viewing problem.

Row H has similar problems to row J in the Dress Circle, being on a shelf at the back of the circle, again a last resort at the price - take an Upper Circle box instead.

General Hazard Notes:
Row A seats 3 to 8 and 37 to 42, and row B seats 1 to 10 and 35 to 43 are restricted view.

Metal bars guard the aisles at the ends of most rows and are intertwined around the extreme ends of rows B and C.

Those leaning forward block views for anyone behind.

A reader says, "As regards the vertigo issue. Can I suggest for anyone that does suffer that they eschew the central steps and take their seats via the stairs at either side of the theatre. The side stairwells have handrails and break up the downward path into what feels like a more segmented and steady trip, as opposed to the "straight down, no handrails, hope you brought a sherpa / goat" position the central stairs provide."

Changes for the current production:
At all performances except Saturday Evenings, most seats are second price. The view here is better than the rear stalls at the same price, but legroom is vastly less. If over 5ft 6, don't even think about these seats. Anyway, take dress circle rows G and H first, then stalls T and U before second price seats up here. At third price, the same goes - row I dress circle (unless over 6ft, in which case stalls W and X first) then stalls W and X before G and H.

At fourth price, there are again far better seats in the dress circle and stalls, so take anything up here as a last resort. If only the centre balcony and upper circle row H are left, take H first for view and a tiny bit more comfort, though.

On Saturday Evenings, rows A to G 19 to 26 are top price. Sheer madness to buy these, feels the monkey. You will pay the same as folk miles below you and nearer the front in far less cramped seats.

B to E 12 to 18 and 27 to 33 (E to 32) are better bet on price - cheaper than the most central seats. If you can accept the cramp, the view isn't too bad from here.

Beside these seats, all others to row G are the same price. Not great choices for view or comfort - and watch for trick seats E9 and 36 at the same price as other seats which actually face the front.

Row H is cheaper. Better value than the balcony in general, just on comfort, feels the monkey. Those under 5ft 6 will see more from here than the same price seats in the stalls, and be more comfortable than in the balcony. The taller should take the cheapest stalls first for comfort, but be aware the view in this circle row is better by far.

Don't bother with row A or B 1 to 7 and 38 to 43 seats here unless very short indeed. In fact, the monkey would go further, and tell sane folk not to even think of these at all. It would also add any other seat in the circle at the same price. Balcony seats one tier up are cheaper, have slightly better views and an aisle balcony seat provides a possible way of gaining an inch of legroom you won't find here.

Reader Comments:
"Upper Circle: (Gem) The seats in the front rows are cramped but the sightlines are superb and completely unrestricted, and at the reduced price I think they are very good value for money".

"A15 and 16: (June). I would not recommend these seats. The ticket did alert us to the restricted leg room although at 5ft tall this is not an issue for me. The lack of restricted view warning was much more of an issue for me. I lost about one third of the stage if I was sitting back in my seat as one should. The only way for me to have full view of all the action was to lean on the cushioned area in front of me. Hence I had a really sore back next morning."
I would not recommend the seats 15 and 16 in row A of the Grand Circle. The ticket did alert us to the restricted leg room although at 5ft tall this is not an issue for me. The lack of restricted view warning was much more of an issue for me. I lost about one third of the stage if I was sitting back in my seat as one should. The only way for me to have full view of all the action was to lean on the cushioned area in front of me. Hence I had a really sore back next morning."

“A23, 24 and 25: "Priscilla" (March 2009), (Jos Hockley). Make a note because these are probably the best seats to get. Once we made the climb down stairs that rivalled the Himalayas (most people went sideways), we wedged ourselves into the seats (my friend is 5' 0" and she struggled to find legroom), petite comes to mind when describing the space around us, but the simply there wasn't any. Despite descending mountains and being shoehorned into our allotted space, we had the perfect view. Sitting back I could still see the edge of the stage (I'm 5'3"), and were perfectly situated for the aerial views and the 'shoe' where, at 15 foot away from the performer, we had direct eye contact! Simply, we missed nothing.
However, I would advise caution in buying tickets as this performance involves a slightly higher stage apparently - and lots of aerial and performances on top of the bus. People lower down will miss the fantastically funny shoe by being underneath it, and have to crane their necks to see up. Those sitting too far back will be obscured by the overhangs from the balconies above."

“B 30 to 34: A small corner of the stage couldn't be seen without leaning forward, but not enough for it to be a problem. Any further round and it may have been."

"B31 and 32: Good value tickets, and the comments about the seating plan where spot on. We had to lean forward slightly to see the front LHS corner of the stage once or twice but otherwise the seats where fine."

"B34 and 35: (Jan). The view wasn't bad - except the usual problem of the people in front of us peering over the top of the ledge, caused us all to follow suit! It seems that the trend to bring the set out into the auditorium, which looks good, also cause the audience in any of the front circle seats to have to lean over to see any action going on down the front near the Orchestra pit causing the wave of 'peerers' and 'leaners!' I hope they realise this and start raising the stages higher!
But, even though the Grand Circle is the third level up, it is on top of the Dress Circle (some would say the best seats in the house) so the general view is OK. "

"B35: "The Woman in White" (December 2004). The view was perfect really - especially when it is only £15"

"B41: “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, (Mark – regular reader). Quite restricted, but when I leant forward could see most of the stage, missing about 25% at the front (You only see 1 of the people when the phone calls happen etc). The good thing with these is when you lean forward there is nobody behind you so you aren't obstructing their views."

"Row C: Although I could see everything that was happening high up, I was not happy about what was going on near the front of the stage! These old theatres like the Palace were designed in the expectation that the front of the stage would end at the proscenium arch, but when the stage is extended out six feet or more beyond that into the auditorium and any action takes place right at the edge of the apron, then there are problems for people sitting in the higher levels, especially when the people in the front row lean forward and further obstruct the view of the people sitting behind them!"

"D 8 and 9: Priscilla" (March 2009). Upper Circle Restricted seats at the edge aren't actually too bad - though I would advise sitting on the left side rather than the right (D8-9) as quite a lot of action takes place on the right hand corner but not much on the left. They also cost £25, £20 less than the seats directly next to them. Bargain."

"D16 to 18: "Singin In The Rain" (February 2012). The view was spectacular! Only one problem, any action happening downstage - like the bench scene ending -happens downstage of the corner that is obstructed sitting on this side, my advice would be to get tickets with higher numbers than these if in the upper circle as we could see the other downstage side but nothing happened down there. (It's due to the stage extending over the orchestra pit, the monkey and reader jointly concluded).”
"D20: "Priscilla" (March 2009). Great seat and great view!"

"D23 to 26: (James – regular reader). You do feel very high up but as long as people don’t lean forward in front of you, it’s a fantastic view and the sound is great from here too. I only paid £1 per ticket which was a bargain ("Spamalot" December 2008 promotion price - editor) but at regular price (£42.50) it seems a bit on the pricey side. Also, it was quite hot and legroom was not great here.”

Reader Jaime Coniam says,
" D29, 30 and 31: (Jaime Coniam). Clear view of the stage, however the "looking down" on the stage is a problem if the view of a vast black stage floor detracts from the scenery."

"D31 and D32. "The Commitments" (November 2013). Both seats on The Monkey's map get a white designation. We would tinge D31 in pink. It isn't bad and the steep rake ensures a good view, but D31 does lose a reasonable corner of the stage. D32 loses a slice, but is significantly less affected. Legroom didn't seem as bad as people said. I was comfortable enough for the entire show, but did enjoy an interval stretch of the legs. As regards the vertigo issue. Can I suggest for anyone that does suffer that they eschew the central steps and take their seats via the stairs at either side of the theatre. The side stairwells have handrails and break up the downward path into what feels like a more segmented and steady trip, as opposed to the "straight down, no handrails, hope you brought a sherpa / goat" position the central stairs provide."

"E10 and 11: The strange thing about these seats is they are on a very noticeable slope, but for £20 they would have been absolutely fine."

“E10 and 11: "Priscilla" (March 2009)."We had the "Restricted View" seats in the Upper Circle; these were NOT restricted view in the slightest. Could see everything apart from a tiny corner in the bottom of the stage, which really didn't matter at all. Considering we paid half the amount of the people sitting next to us, I would make these seats GREEN for value for money. You can see everything extremely well. Would rather have sat here than the back of the stalls where I have heard there is so much restriction from the overhang. Probably the best value seats I have had in quite a while."

"E16: Good seat, and I only paid £20 for it off a woman who had double booked and was selling outside of the box office (bad practice but she was obviously genuine, and I got a £45 ticket for £20). Was just about to book a restricted view one for £5 more so was very handy! I don't think these are worth £45, I'd rather pay £20 less to sit 4 more seats to the side, but hey I was happy getting it at a bargain price. (A risky gamble indeed, feels the monkey).”

"G 29 and 30. The view from here was ok, there was no restriction apart from the very front left corner of the stage, and the legroom was fine. However, it did feel like a long way from the stage. I would think it worth it to pay the extra £15 for top price seats for a closer view if available - £45 seems very steep for this position, although as so much of the action takes place high on the stage, I would think it is better to sit here than the restricted view seats lower down."

"G30: "Pricilla" (March 2009): Bad value at £45, much better seats to be had in the upper circle."

"G31 and 32. They were not restricted view, and we could see everything up to the top of the stage very clearly, apart from only the edge of stage right that was slightly obscured by the curve of the front of the Grand Circle itself."

"G31 and 32: Booked via the get into London Theatre Promotion - January to March each year - so I only paid £35 pounds for each seat). Seats were okay, a bit distant from the stage but not really obstructed. However it was pretty tight, which is why we were moved to Box X in the stalls."

 


Upper Circle Boxes

Layout:
Boxes E, G and H are either side of the stage.

3 seats in each.

Box K is the old row H seats 22 and 23 - a theatre secret, rarely appearing on seating plans. Tucked against the back wall at the end of the central aisle.

Legroom:
Acc
eptable in all seats, as movable chairs are used in boxes E, G and H. Box K has fixed seats with nothing in front.

Choosing Seats in General:
Boxes E and H lose about a quarter of the stage view, Box G about an eighth.

Choose box G first, but all three offer fair value at low prices and are preferable to the stalls boxes for view and to balcony seats for comfort.

Box G in particular is a Theatremonkey readers’ favourite, with many buying all the seats there to either have privacy or a “box party” depending how sociable they are feeling.

Box K looks down the central aisle - like a tunnel to the stage. Only the centre of the stage is visible and the seats in front muffle the sound. If you MUST see the show, take these if EVERYTHING else is gone (and the box office won't sell them until then anyway - if at all). Again, useful to know about, but to sit in?

General Hazard Notes:
Loss of view.

Boxes E and H may be shared with lighting / speakers, and be noisy.

Sound muffled in box K.

Changes for the current production:
Boxes are not in use.

Reader Comments:
"Box: At 'Spamalot' (2006) we sat in a box to the left of the stage and even though we sat pretty close to the stage we couldn't see half of it. We also sat just next to the confetti-blowing-cannon wich came as a shock in the end, but they did warn us about loud bangs, they just didn't tell us when :)"

"Box: (Jake Brunger). View not great at all - had to stand to see a lot of things, but I saw all their facial expressions and heard it perfectly thanks to a speaker next to me - not bad for £20"

"Box G: I booked all 3 seats in Box G as I wanted something a bit private / special for a birthday treat, and, after reading Theatre Monkey’s review about losing 1/8th stage, I was happy to pay £20 per seat, so £60 for both of us … I think this price was very fair for the view we had, and would happily book again."

“Box G: (Yvonne). I booked Box G (after reading a review on Theatremonkey) and was really pleased with it. Great value for money. Although a slightly restricted view it was well worth the £60 for three of us. I always prefer the privacy and extra leg room of a box and this one is a bargain."

 


BALCONY
The front of this circle is over sixty feet from the stage - straight down. Row P, 104 feet away, has warning lights to deflect aircraft that have achieved cruising altitude. Oxygen tanks and snowshoes may be hired in the foyer.

Joking apart, those prone to even mild vertigo should sit elsewhere, and everyone should know that from row J back the steep rake and height take some getting used to. If vertigo does strike, walk upwards in this theatre away from the drop. There are enclosed back stairs here leading down safely.

Layout:
The circle is split into a wide central and two narrow side blocks by aisles.

In the side blocks, an aisle replaces row D, cutting rows A to C are cut off from those behind.

Thick bars cage the public in and every aisle seat has a metal post at the end of it.

The rake from row J back is particularly steep.

Pillars appear between seats in side blocks row L.

Legroom:
V
ery poor in all seats, worst by far in row A, a bit better in row M seats 8 to 21 and in the aisle seats where one leg can get a bit of space - compromised view or not!

Choosing Seats in General:
One reader goes so far as to say don't even consider sitting in the Balcony as the view is so poor.

The public is safely caged in behind thick bars that run across the width of the circle, affecting the view drastically in rows A to C. More metal pops up at the outer ends of many rows, notably B, C, E and G.

Centre Block:
Rows G to H were worth considering first, as they offered a clear view and the best value for money - relatively speaking of course...£20 plus is not cheap, but the monkey has to judge on what it is given. Just don't expect TOO much for the price.

Rows N and O are short rows at the rear of the theatre. The view is clear but the height is noticeably vertigo inducing and £15 seems a lot...

Decide between a relatively clear, but very distant, view of the stage in this block; and restricted view seats for the same price in other parts of the theatre. Theatremonkey chooses Upper Circle boxes ( or rear / front row-ends Upper Circle if the legroom isn't an issue), then stalls boxes, then the balcony. This is mostly based on legroom and proximity to the stage, not clarity of view. There isn't a lot of choice in the £30 or less range, so it is a real case of making do as you can.

Side Blocks:
Metal posts at the end of the row disrupt the view for the first seats off the aisle. Seats 7 and 22 in all rows suffer this problem worst and should be avoided.

Row E has a wall / bars in front of it restricting legroom and intruding on the view of anyone five foot three or shorter.
Take rows F to K - as near too the central aisle as you can, but NOT actual aisle seat numbers 7 and 22 if possible...unless legroom is a factor and you accept the compromised view. Also remember that the outermost 2 seats in rows F to K are perhaps not as great as seats further towards the centre aisle.
Row M seats 24 and 25 have a pillar in front - avoid them!

Rows N to P feel like private colonies at the back of the side blocks. The view downwards is heart-stopping and the performers look like ants. Sit here if your Sherpa allows you a rest period; and plant a national flag. You can say you saw the show, you got a seat! And you lived to tell the tale.

Use any seat in the side balcony to see the show if on the tightest of budgets. Enjoy the music and what you can see of the rest. These seats are no bargain but if taken this way is at least an honest attempt at theatregoing on a shoestring.

General Hazard Notes:
Vertigo, both from the view from the circle to the stage, and from the steepness of the steps to your seats.

Bars galore, at the front, in front of row E in the side block, at the ends of all rows.

Heads in front in view from most seats. Accept nowhere in this circle has a decent view, basically...

A reader reports that those in row D have been annoyed by people in the rows in front leaning forward.

Pillar in side block row M.

Changes for the current production:
On Fridays and Saturdays, sensible pricing at the front makes rows B to D 8 and 9, B19 and 20 and C and D 20 and 21 possible fair value for bargain hunters who don't mind bars in view. Take the aisle ones if taller, for a means of sitting sideways to move a leg into.

Next, the sides of row C 4 to 7 and 22 to 25 are also worth a glance for the same reason.

At next to bottom price, the monkey rates rows behind about average - you really get what you pay for. Be aware that at all performances except Saturday Evenings there are far  better seats at the front corners of the dress circle for view and comfort, and back two rows of the stalls for comfort alone, though, at the same money.

At bottom price, rows from M back have to be a final choice - centre block N and O first. Try for the same priced ones mentioned above in B to D before these, though, it feels. Then take row M 7 or 22 next if you have to. The only advantage of sitting in these back rows is that they are less affected by bars or those in front leaning forwards, the monkey and reader reports both note.

Sunday to Thursday, much of the balcony isn't regularly sold. On those performances, take row E first, then rows F back in order, the monkey feels.

Reader Comments:
“Balcony: We all suffered neck and back ache because the only way to see the show was to lean as far forward as we could manage. Normally, I would be conscious of not getting in the way of the views of the people behind, but sadly on this occasion leaning forward was the only way we could see any of the action on stage. A lot of the performance took place towards the very front the stage so we had to sit back and just listen to what was going on and watch the people back-stage set-up the props!! I will be writing to the theatre to express my concerns, I have been to many theatres and I feel these are the worst seats I've sat in."

"Balcony: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" in March 2009). My friend booked this show for a Saturday evening in March 2010, but could only get £25 tickets mid-way back in the Balcony (top tier in theatre). I have only one comment to make - CLOSE THE BALCONY FOR ANY FUTURE SHOWS!"

"Balcony: All the seats here are very cramped! Those over 6ft will not only feel uncomfortable but will also not be able to sit down. The only way to avoid this is to sit in the first row of the stalls or any central aisle seat. Never buy tickets which are inside the rows - only the aisles."

"A14 and 15: "Singin' In The Rain" (Lynn). I'm only 5ft 4" but my knees were jammed up against the edge. However, considering we had two bars in front of us we didn't have a bad view. By looking down we could see everything on stage except the steps at the front of the stage and not a lot happened there. Then when they showed clips on the screen at the back of the stage we just looked up and could see it perfectly. The seats were £34 each, but I was happy with what we got. When we got upstairs we were offered an upgrade to best available seats for £10 each. don't know if this is common practice, but might consider next time, depending what's on offer."
"A 21 to 23: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). I managed to get very cheap seats in the Balcony, row A 21 to 23, and they were brilliant! Perfect view."

"A 24 and 25: "Priscilla”, (Jenny). I took a gamble and bought two seats for a tenner from a certain online organisation that specialises in things of a last minute nature. I did think that it would be a bit of a waste, and when we picked up the tickets we saw they had "partially restricted view" on them. Well, this wasn't the case at all. We had a fabulous experience! We felt every bit of the atmosphere, had no-one in front of us blocking our view (ha!) and all in all had a brilliant time. I would say to anyone on a budget - go for it!"

"D9 to 14: £22.50 each. Once we had acclimatised to the altitude and made sure our parachutes were correctly packed, we settled down for a good afternoon out! Seriously though, the stage is a long way down and it's a bit off-putting to be looking at the top of the heads of the cast, but we soon get used to it! None of us are terribly tall, so there was a bit of neck-craning going on as well. We couldn't see the top of the stage, so we missed some of the cartoons and imagery and the far downstage left front corner was out of sight as well, but as there wasn't much action there, it didn't matter too much!"

"E16: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012). For only 30 minutes I seemed to have one of the better views, as I would have been able to look straight down on the tops of the actors' heads. People behind me were complaining that they couldn't see anything but the back of the stage.

The seats went up at such an extreme rake that they were set very high from the floor. At 5'9", my feet barely touched the floor. That's so uncomfortable on the lower back. The aisle getting to the seats was very narrow, and one had the feeling of falling forward even when the aisle was empty of other guests to work around. The seats were hard and narrow, with little padding. They would have to pay me to watch an entire performance from that balcony!"

“F12 and 13: We were in the balcony and from what I could see all the seats were bad. I would avoid the balcony at all costs if you want to see the show or if (as someone else has commented) you're over 5' 10". Row F was VERY cramped. Row E and Row G seemed to have better views as the rows in front were lower. Row E was not a lot lower than F, and the drop almost vertical, so ANYONE sitting in front of you will obstruct views. For me, the best seats would be in Row E 3-7 and 22-26 as there is no-one sitting in front of you and you can dangle your legs over the barrier in front. Cannot comment on the views from these seats but it cannot be any worse than F12 and F13."

"F10 to 13: "Singin' In The Rain" (February 2012), (Vicki). Bought 4 balcony tickets from Ticketmaster  for £30 each plus usual booking fees. Nothing was mentioned about a restricted view, just 'high and steeply stepped'. What a waste of money, seats10 to 13 in row F barely have any view of the stage as the rows are tightly packed, hardly any legroom - and all I could see from seat 13 was the back of the head of the lady in front. From what I could gather most of the balcony seats have a very poor view, the people behind were also complaining. Most disappointing night at the theatre ever, complete rip off."

"Row F22 to 27, Row G22 to 26: "Priscilla" (10 friends). We paid £26.24 each. All I can say is "avoid these seats at all costs!!" About a third of the stage cannot be seen simply because the balcony and bars are in the way!”

“H10: "Spamalot,"(2006). I booked in the balcony on Ticketmaster before looking at Theatremonkey’s opinion, but actually it wasn't that bad. Yeah I could've done with a little more room and seeing some things a little better, but I was anticipating being up with airplanes and it actually wasn't that bad. I could see some facial expressions and they were made PERFECTLY clear with the binoculars that I only had to use occasionally. So for an American student saving up for a 5 week trip around Europe, 20 pounds was an amazing price for a pretty good seat to an incredible show!"

"Seats H 19 and 20: "Spamalot" (2006). I thought that describing them as unrestricted was a bit off which I am going to raise with the theatre. Quite a bit of the action takes place towards the front of the stage and is totally obscured by the safety bars etc at the front of the balcony.

It doesn't help that if the people in front of you are both tall and chose to lean forward - you may as well sit back, close your eyes and imagine what is going on!

I remembered this theatre from Jesus Christ Superstar donkey's years ago I went quite a few times and didn't ever have a problem seeing from up there... I don't think I would bother booking in the balcony again unless I could get A or B - from H the top of the set is obscured by the lighting rig and as I said you may as well give up on anything that happens at the front of the stage..."

“Row L: (James – regular reader). I originally sat in the middle of row L - I didn't find the distance any worse than the back of many other theatres, but the view was absolutely appalling. The rake, whilst being steep, wasn't steep enough, and if you have anyone above midget-height in front of you, you will be struggling to see the stage. .As it was only two-thirds full, I tried a few other seats, with the same problems. Bars block the stage view from all side block seats. I usually don't mind cheap seats far away, but I would not sit in these seats again as view was so bad. Whole block should be red..."

“O5 and 6: “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” (Chris B). Avoid these seats at all cost! I only got these tickets as we really wanted to see the show and it was the very last performance. True, they were very cheap but I can see why. You would have felt closer to the stage being sat on the moon, they are so ridiculously high up and with the very steep rake, if anyone leans slightly forward you can’t see the stage. Making out the actors was practically impossible and we could only just see the enormous bus. This is the one time I’ve hired the binoculars and even then it wasn’t a clear view. If you HAVE to sit around here, I’d suggest the back row as then you can stand up and not restrict people behind. The only good thing was we could hear all the music and the sound was good, but may as well have just listened to the soundtrack at home.”
 

 

Notes
Total 1480 seats.

Air-cooled auditorium. A reader reports in 2003 that this is temperamental and the theatre gets stuffy as a result - something those in April 2005 concur with. Refurbishment has not really helped - rented portable units still sometimes substitute for the permanent fittings! In August 2012 reader Debbi says from stalls row F, "The air conditioning was awful! It was probably around 27 degrees the night we went and it was stiflingly hot. Just make sure you wear something cool when you go to see this show."

Infrared loop with headsets available. Occasional audio described and signed performances, only once a year or so. Guide dog sitter available. Adapted WC in Stalls. Access for wheelchairs via side door, up a shallow step and down a gentle slope to seat W27 in the Stalls. Users may also transfer to any other stalls aisle seat. Large print programme available. This theatre tries. Fuller details from Nimax Theatres on 0844 482 9677 (10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email access(insert the @ symbol here)nimaxtheatres.com. 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.

Café in basement. Ice cream and confectionery in auditorium.

Four Bars; Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle and Balcony.

11 toilets; Stalls 1 gents, 1 ladies (17 cubicles). 1 unisex disabled at rear of stalls, next to wheelchair entrance; Dress Circle 1 gents (beyond the bar), 1 ladies (on main foyer stairs, through first set of doors); Upper Circle 1 gents, 1 ladies - in the same positions on Upper Circle level as the Dress Circle ones are; Balcony 1 gents, 1 ladies - both at the very top of the stairs, plus 1 gents on the left hand side of row C, 1 ladies on the right hand side of row C.

 

 
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:
Leicester Square - Northern (black) and Piccadilly (dark blue) lines.

A photograph illustrated version of these directions is available by clicking here.

The escalator from the platforms deposits passengers into a circular space with a number of staircases leading to the surface. Beside each staircase is a vast white panel listing the places accessible from that exit. So look for the one showing the Palace theatre. It will be marked "Charing Cross Road West" Exit 2, and is to the right of the exit gates. Go up the staircase. 

At the top, in front of you will be Charing Cross Road. Next to you, notice the Hippodrome Nightclub and a wide pedestrianised street. Turn to your left and walk on,  passing many shops. Follow the road as it curves, pass a red brick covered arcade of shops and keep walking straight on. You will come to a large crossroad with the Palace Theatre on your left.

If at the top of the underground stairs you see a narrow street with only a row of shops and offices in front of you, this is Cranbourn Street. Turn to your right. Walk to the end of the street. If you see the Hippodrome Nightclub on the opposite corner across a busy road, good. You do not need cross the road to it, but might like to know that the underground exit you should have used is on the opposite corner! If you reach the end of Cranbourn Street and see a large restaurant, The Sussex on the opposite corner, Wrong way, turn around and retrace your steps to try again.

If you got it right, then turn to your right and walk on, passing many second-hand bookshops. Follow the road as it curves, and cross Litchfield Street, keep walking straight on. You will come to a large crossroad with the Palace Theatre on your left. Cross to it.

 

Buses:
14, 19 and 38 stop on Charing Cross Road by the Palace Theatre on Cambridge Circus.

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Charing Cross Station - a long distance from the theatre. Best chance of hailing one is in the street outside.

 

Car Park:
Newport Place, China Town. On leaving, use Gerard Street to get you onto Shaftesbury Avenue. On Shaftesbury Avenue look to your right. The brown brick building to your right is the Palace Theatre. To get to the front of it, turn right and walk to the corner. If you pass a cinema, wrong way.

The "Theatreland Parking Scheme" may be available. Call Q-Park car parks on 0870 442 0104 or see http://www.q-park.co.uk for details. At this car park, parking under the "Theatreland Parking Scheme" allows a 50% discount in cost. Spaces CANNOT be reserved at these prices, so choose whether you would prefer to book and pay more, or use this scheme.

If you choose the "Theatreland Parking Scheme", you must get your car park ticket validated at the theatre's box office counter (the theatre attendant will insert the car parking ticket into a small machine which updates the information held on the magnetic strip on the reverse, thus enabling the discount). When you pay using the machines at the car park, 50% will be deducted from the full tariff. You may park for up to 24 hours using this scheme and it is endorsed by the Society of London Theatre.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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