A couple of weekends ago, I traipsed out to West End, looking for last minute tickets to Oliver, whilst Rowan Atkinson was still starring as Fagin.  Unfortunately, by 4 pm on a Saturday afternoon, tickets were all sold out.  The great thing about West End is that you can simply move down the list to your next Musical you want to see.  If this was Sydney, that would be the end of that.  You simply go out for dinner instead.  Most of the other musicals we were interested in were also sold out, or had seats with restricted view.  Mama-Mia, and Lion King were both gone.

Hubby was convinced that they all had centralised ticketing system.  But when we walked into the next shop, they had different tickets and different seats available.  So a handy tip is to shop around at the different little shops.  The tickets we picked up were Phantom of the Opera.  It wasn’t as cheap as I thought it was going to be, but then it was an unrestricted view in Upper Circle.  Overall, I’m glad we got it because it meant that we could enjoy the production so much more.  Tickets cost us $46 pounds per ticket.  No kids prices.

And it is a great production.  Sorry, no pics were allowed.  But from start to finish, Phantom moved from one action scene to another.  The set changes were numerous and it amazed me how they managed to fit all this backstage.  The Phantom moved from one end of the stage, to the ceiling area and back down in a flash.  It was all with the use of … (dare I say it?) theatrics.  Ha, ha, ha, bad pun.  I never saw Phantom for ages because I had some stupid idea that I didn’t want to see some disfigured guy running around in an opera house.  If you have that idea, then I agree with you, it’s stupid.  Oh by the way, the music is fantastic.

Overall, Les Miserable was my favourite musical for a long time.  And I have to say, as far as productions go, this is way up there as a must see.  I saw We will Rock You last year, and though the singing was very good, the story line was very thin.  A must for Queen fans, which I wasn’t.

I’m still not sure how to get the cheap tickets that I keep hearing about.  I’ve narrowed it down to that you have to get your tickets in person, though you run the risk of the show being sold out.  The cheapest seats do have restricted views, which does affect your enjoyment, unless you don’t mind.  Buying tickets online is not (to me) the best way to go.  I’ve noticed a premium placed on tickets, and on top of that they add on a booking fee, so you may pay $15 pounds more than face value.  Might be cheaper to go back to the theatre itself, but since they carve out tickets to the various shops to distribute and sell, and there’s no centralised booking system, you’re not guaranteed of getting the best seats either. Alternatively, they might be sold out of their own tickets.

It’s quite complex really – unnecessarily so – which incidentally, the English do very well.  I think it’s got something to do with strong ties to tradition and to the way it’s always been done.  Not a bad thing per se, but can be quite confounding if you don’t understand the background and don’t know how to navigate through it.