Cheap tickets for west end London

Old Sep 11th, 2003, 12:34 AM
  #1  
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Cheap tickets for west end London

Has anyone here purchase half price tickets for London west end shows before? What are the savings like? Would you realistically be able to score a ticket for hot shows like Lion King or We Will Rock You? I understand that there is a kiosk near Leicester Square.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 12:37 AM
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Take a look at expressevents.com
I have used them a couple of times and always been totally satisfied with price and seats.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 12:54 AM
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AR
 
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You would be very unlikely to obtain the hottest tickets from the Leicester Sq half-price booth as there are queues daily at the actual theatres for returns. Theses returns can be sold full price and therefore they don't need to sell to the half-price booth.
That said, there are many bargains to be found from the booth for excellent productions, and in my experience the seats are very good also.
Watch out at the booth as touts will try and sell you the hot tickets for vastly inflated prices.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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Just returned from a week in London. Pre-purchased Phantom tickets online, because we wanted to assure seats for that show. Online ticketing works great. The tickets were held at the box office for us. Later in the week, we went to the TCKTS (1/2 price tickets booth) and got Chicago tickets, first balcony, at 1/2 price. Mama Mia was also on the board but not at 1/2 price. I did not look for Lion King. If you want hot seats be willing to go mid-week or for a matinee. BEWARE! There are many "unofficial" scalpers who have store fronts around Leicester Sq. that even call themselves "Official Half Price Ticket Booth" The real one is in the middle of the square itself. It is a separate building standing at the south end of the square. Do not go to any of the store fronts lining the streets even if they say "Official ticket booth" they are not!!
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 06:10 AM
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Go to www.officiallondontheatre.com
If you look at the right hand side there is a box that says TKTS and "what's for sale today" or something like that. When you click it, you'll get a list of all the shows they have tickets for today and the prices they will charge including any handling charge. These are the prices at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square as bbkay above has explained.

By the way, We Will Rock You is not a particularly hot ticket. The booth nearly always has those at half price.
Best bet for Lion King or Mama Mia is to go the box office and see if they have any "cancellations" or returns. I have had my best luck doing that when they open in the morning -- sometimes they will have them for that day, sometimes for later in the week -- but always at full price. However, we got tickets to both those shows that were "house seats" fifth or sixth row center orchestra by doing it that way.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 07:14 AM
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The West End tickets are so cheap (compared to US prices) that if there is anything you really want to see, buy the tickets in advance. Not only do you gurantee getting tickets (and good ones) but you don't spend valuable time in London traveling to & from Leicester and waiting in line.

I sat in the front row at the Lion King. Not only could I see the perfomers' expressions, I could lean over and follow the musicians' scores.

On the other hand, if there are many shows that would more or less equally please you and your time isn't that important, wait for the last minute bargins.


Keith
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 07:25 AM
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I disagree with Keith about cheap tickets. The full price seats for Phantom were about 42-45 BPS, which $70.00 a seat. Personally, I don't call that cheap. However, we did get 1/2 price tickets for Chicago at 22 BPS which is a significant savings at roughly $35. If you really want to see a show buy online ahead. Be advised you will be charged an additional service fee, just like here in the US. I saw Lion King in NYC at it was FABULOUS!!! I have now seen Phantom and Lion King and Chicago and would recommend Lion King 1st, Phantom 2nd and Chicago 3rd. All were good, that is just how I would rank them.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 07:38 AM
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I agree about London not being cheap -- like it was a number of years ago. Although tickets in London will still average about 20 to 30 dollars less than Broadway, it is far from the bargain it used to be.
But also, unlike New York where it is impossible to call a theatre direct and order tickets, that is the best way to do it in London. For any show you really want to see there is no reason to use a broker. Call the theatre direct during normal box office hours. They will fully describe the seats and will take a credit card and hold the seats there till curtain -- with absolutely NO service charges.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:10 AM
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The TKTS booth does indeed have tickets to most shows in the West End. The very hottest will of course be sold out so no 1/2 price would be available - so for the blockbusters call teh theatre direct from home to book those shows.

(BTW the reason returns are sold at full price is because the original purchaser will only get their money back if the theatre sells the ticket. The ticket still belongs to the original buyer so the theatre really has to get full money back on it - otherwise the "returner" will lose quite a lot on the deal.)
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:14 AM
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And along those same lines -- you sometimes need to be ready to pay cash for tickets at the box office if they are those really good "house seats". One of the reasons is that all actors and people involved with the show may be entitled to some free seats. If they don't need them, they often take them and have the box office resell them for extra cash.
But the good news is that TCKTS now takes credit cards.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Patrick, I just reserved tickets directly with the Prince Edward Theatre for Mamma Mia, and they are now charging a l-pound fee to take the order over the phone and hold the tickets. This was still far less than the 5 or 6 pounds per ticket the website I tried was charging, plus the website (don't remember which one it was right now) showed no seats for the day we wanted. We got good seats direct from the theatre.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for the info, Susan. I guess the no fee thing was too good to last, but 1 pound still beats the outrageous booking fees of the agencies. Of course, I realize they're in it for the money.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 02:48 PM
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Like Patrick, I've always gone directly to the theatre and gotten great seats (Mamma Mia and Les Miz being two that come to mind) for those that aren't at the half-price booth.

However, I got first row seats at the half-price booth for Les Miz in February and, while the theatre would have charged me a BIG discount because the first row is considered "blocked," the half-price booth charged me the same as for top-price seats and it wasn't even half-price, but more like two-thirds of the price.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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MelJ, I could be wrong but, I'm pretty sure the theatre always charges full price for front row for Les Miserables. If you went to TCKTS the ticket would show the actual theatre's price for that exact seat as well as the price you paid. Yes, some shows aren't a full half off. In fact they now sell full price tickets there for Mama Mia as a convenience. But on the board outside it will clearly state what the discount is from the THEATRE price for those exact seats.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:38 PM
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Interesting that you can get full-price tickets at the kiosk for convenience. I don't recall noticing that in February.

The first row for Les Miz at the Palace IS sold very cheaply as restricted view--I double-checked when we arrived at the theatre because I recalled someone mentioning that when we were in row 3 a few years ago. And it IS restricted. Even though we were just right of center, the sound of the orchestra in front of us was loud and the scenes that took place toward the back were lost to us.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:48 PM
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I had a cheap ticket (about 7 or 7.5 pounds) for Les Miz at the Palace. It was the first row in the balcony, and you have to climb up 112 steps or something to get to the balcony. I was able to see everything without a problem by leaning forward a bit.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 05:58 AM
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Regarding the convenience tickets at TCKTS: Mama Mia is the only show I've seen that for. The kiosk only sells top price tickets to Mama Mia (normally 40 pounds). When they add the 2.50 service charge, of course this makes them more expensive than the tickets at the theatre.

Incidentally, I just checked the officiallondontheatre website for today's offerings. They have 24 shows available for half price (plus the 2.50) as well as the full price Mama Mia tickets for both matinee and evening today.
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