London Theatre: West End and Globe

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Mar 11th, 2011, 12:40 PM
  #1
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London Theatre: West End and Globe

Our first trip to London. We love Broadway, mostly musicals. I had a high school drama teacher who tried to share his Shakespeare passion with us, but it didn't "take" with me.

That being said, it seems that the thing to do in London is to see a performance at The Globe.

Will be there in early September. The Globe choices are: Much Ado About Nothing, Dr. Faustus and "Globe Mysteries"

The only one of interest to me (unless you can change my mind) would be Shakespeare. Prices are Lower Gallery 57 GBP, Upper for 47.50.

My specific questions are: does this play seem like a good expenditure for Shakespeare novices, at this price? If so, is there a huge difference in the seating?

Also, has anyone seen the new production of Le Mis? I would be willing to pay boxoffice prices to see this, probably.

Also the TKTS booth, does that compare to the NYC facility? Cash only? Good plays? Any recommendations for days of the week>

Thanks so much
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Mar 11th, 2011, 12:50 PM
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TKTS takes credit cards, check the official London theatre site for what's on sale each day. Some of the seating at the Globe is standing room not seats! I had enough Shakespeare that I would give it a miss though would do the tour and the museum there along with a trip to Borough market!

Also check the box offices on the day of performance that you want to see , they sell discounted tickets. Billy Elliott, Jersey Boysand Priscella queen of the Desert were our favorites from the last few years. I have Wicked on this years list. The story didn;t interest me but every one I know really enjoyed it
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Mar 11th, 2011, 12:57 PM
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"it seems that the thing to do in London is to see a performance at The Globe."

Not necessarily. It can be great experience -- or not if you really don't 'do' Shakespeare. Plus it can be bloody cold and uncomfortable. If you think you might learn to love (or even just sorta like) Shakespeare -- sure. But if not that is a lot of money to blow. Maybe just do a tour of the Globe instead. (I've attended several performances there - so I'm not coming from the "Shakespeare is boring" camp - just being practical)

"lso the TKTS booth, does that compare to the NYC facility? Cash only? Good plays? Any recommendations for days of the week>"

They used to be cash only but added credit cards several years ago. Most shows are offered there. Not any block busters of course since they are sell outs. Not the Mousetrap (just the producers' philosophy). But except for the National Theatre most shows will be at TKTS. Usually between 25 and 30 options most days. No days are particularly better than others - except that Fri/Sat are more popular so more shows may have full houses. But even Fri/Sat usually have good availability. Plus most London theatres are dark on Sundays.
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Mar 11th, 2011, 01:03 PM
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to clarify avalon's post a bit . . (didn't see it while I was posting)

"Some of the seating at the Globe is standing room not seats!" That is true but not the pricey ones you mentioned. You definitely shouldn't get cheap groundling (standing) tickets --not enjoying Shakespeare and having to stand for 3 hours are a formula for disaster
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Mar 11th, 2011, 09:54 PM
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"it seems that the thing to do in London is to see a performance at The Globe."

Not remotely

If you're interested in Shakespeare, the thing to do in London is to watch him performed by a proper theatre company in a proper theatre. It's practically impossible to find yourself in London on a day the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, a major semi-fringe company like the Almeida, a subsidised specialist like the New Shakespeare Company at Regent's Park or even the for-profit sector aren't showing several Shakespeare plays.

If you're interested in theatre, but not necessarily Shakespeare, the thing to do is watch a play you're interested in, as opposed to whatever's being sold off cheap to tourists. Buy a copy of Time Out and decide for yourself

If you're not interested in theatre - and most people aren't- the thing to do is not waste your time on an art form you don't care about. I can't stand bullfights, so I don't waste time watching them in Spain however many people tell me "it's the thing to do". I don't see the point of boring slabs of dead bull, so I don't waste time eating at American steak joints, however many people tell me "it's the thing to do".
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Mar 11th, 2011, 11:43 PM
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I have only attended one production of Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre and that was several years ago, but it was a very entertaining and enjoyable production indeed.
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Mar 12th, 2011, 12:19 AM
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We saw a performance at the Globe and loved it, but having said that, the seats are just benches and mighty uncomfortable even with the cushions that are available for hire.

I'd do as avalon suggests and do a tour of the theatre and combine it with the Borough Market which is a great food market!
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Mar 12th, 2011, 12:19 AM
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I visited London 3 times before watching a play at the Globe so I don't think it's quite the thing to do especially if you don't like Shakespeare. I DO recommended touring the building itself as it was built as close to the original design as possible, except for health and safety features.

Interestingly, I never took to Shakespeare either until I saw Dame Judi Dench and the RSC perform "All's Well That Ends Well" in the West End. Brilliant.
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Mar 12th, 2011, 12:30 AM
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Emily, my daughter and I saw that same production. I stayed awake even though quite jet-lagged on the evening of our arrival from the US. My daughter, the Shakespeare enthusiast, had a little more trouble staying awake though.
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Mar 12th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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The standard advice about the TKTS discount shop in Leicester Square is to beware of commercial storefronts in the vicinity, which may or may not be on the up-and-up. Pauline Frommer of the rival travel info service offers this website to answer all your questions: www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/tkts . My only additional tip is to avoid the seats in the very front rows -- they can be set at awkward sight-lines with the performers acting over your heads to reach the back of the house.

Another handy site is www.theatremonkey.com which collects audience members' opinions on good and bad seats in the various theatres.

A more general comment: West End theatre has evolved into a tourist industry just like Broadway and with many of the same shows. Les Miserables may call London home (well, adopted home) and Jersey Boys belongs to New York while Priscilla Queen of the desert shakes its booty in Sydney. But all of them travel the same circuit and sooner or later will play in most of the big North American cities, which are probably much closer to your home. So why not consider a show that's more distinctively West End? That probably means not a musical. But there are always comedies that will have a more indigenous flavour and dramas both new and revival. Their show-going experience can be far more distinctively English than the flashy but stateless touring musicals.
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Mar 13th, 2011, 05:50 PM
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Try Blood Brothers for distinctively English.
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