Theatres in London

Nov 30th, 2011, 04:05 AM
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Theatres in London

Is there any Theatre in London that is your favorite? I have read that the seats can be very close together and that the Theatres can be uncomfortably warm. We'll be going in early July so warm is not appealing!
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 04:52 AM
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Overall, narrow, or limited legroom (much commoner), seats are little more than a pain, unless you're seriously obese (they don't faze me, for example, and I'm almost certainly fatter than most readers). Pain is in precise inverse proportion to quality of show. Heat in summer is a nightmare without a/c, unless it's coolish outside (surprisingly rare in central London in July or August)

Oddly, the rough rule of thumb tends to be:

- Commercially owned and operated: Almost universally excruciating in summer. Which is fine: we're all away, so no-one puts anything worthwhile on and we can leave the tourists to sweat it out. And narrow seats might thin them down a bit

- Fully state (or not for profit) owned and operated: surprisingly high proportion of well-proportioned seats and almost adequate air conditioning. The South Bank theatres, the Barbican and the Royal Opera House are just fine. So is Stratford. Seats at the open air places, like Holland Park Opera, Regent's Park or the Globe generally have reasonable legroom too: so do their out of London equivalents (like Glyndebourse).

- Commercially owned, but plays transferred from subsidised sector: The theatres are equally hot whether you're paying or I'm subsidising you with my taxes.

- Real fringe. I'd say the discomfort is generally less than in the hard core of commercial Victorian purpose-built theatres. Whether the back room of a pub, or a converted chocolate factory, fringe theatres almost all got adapted for theatre in the past 20/30 years, with today's bums and carbon-emitted climate to deal with, and without the crippling conservation rules the commercial theatres, almost all listed buildings, are lumbered with.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 04:56 AM
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Well Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has standing room in the pit for the rabble so if seat width matching rear width is a problem check out the Globe!
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 05:22 AM
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How about New London Theatre? It looks like War Horse will be playing next July. Most concerned about heat, can't seem to find out if it has AC or not?
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 05:33 AM
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The commercially-owned New London Theatre is new enough and ugly enough to be likely to be air conditioned. It's years since I've been there: most websites claim it has, but several (including the National Theatre's) outright claim it hasn't.

I'd email both the theatre and the NT
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 30th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Helpful summary. I remember the seats being comfortable at the National and Barbican.

I didn't note the theaters' names but have been in many that take intimate seating to a new level.

But, all in all, I have never been so uncomfortable or hot I had to leave, unlike one NYC theater where I watched the second act sitting on the balcony steps!
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