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Best theatre experience in London

I looked up this question and found only a 12 year old thread. It seemed the Royal Theatre at Drury Lane, Covent Garden was the one for best experience (meaning history, architecture,old London ambience - not what is playing). However it is currently being "re-constructed and closed until fall 2020. So, I am looking for ideas. The Globe? The Old Vic? We will be spending 12 nights in London the first half of October. Also ideas for cheaper tickets. I know some places you can check for same day cancellations. I'd appreciate any input. Susan

Posted by
4060 posts

The Royal Opera House does an appealing behind-the-scenes tour of its lusciously restored and expanded opera house.

Posted by
2485 posts

I toured Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre which was very interesting. The building currently standing is not the original but an approximation of what it was thought to be like. You can either tour the building or attend a play to go inside as it is a working theatre.

You can buy half-price tickets to most any play or musical at a ticket booth in Leicester Square.

Posted by
8503 posts

I look at what is playing first and then what theatre it is in. I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing "Come from Away" last April.

Posted by
8806 posts

The venerable 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square. In this day and age you can look to see what they are offering online. However you must to the booth to purchase the tickets.
https://officiallondontheatre.com/tkts/

When I saw the title of your post I was going to say 1996 Guys and Dolls with Clive Rowe as Nicely Nicely at the National Theatre, followed by Maggie Smith In Lady in A Van at Queen’s Theatre in 1999 and this January Hamilton at the Victoria Palace.

I love theatre in London and always see at least one or 2 performances when I’m there. Sometimes 1/2 ticket booth offerings, some not.

Friends who live in London got the Hamilton tickets, bought Lady in Van tickets day of and Guys and Dolls were 1/2 price ticket booth same day purchase.

As far as best theatre experience regarding history etc., tour the Old Vic. https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2019/neds-tours

Posted by
27348 posts

It has not been my experience (August or September 2017, 2018 and 2019) that tickets to most plays or musicals are available at a discount through the TKTS booth. You'll see many options listed, but if you look at the prices, you will see that a lot of the tickets are at full price (plus a £1 service charge, I believe).

Some examples of plays for which TKTS didn't have discount tickets in mid-August this year: Come From Away, Book of Mormon, Hamilton, There's Something About Jamie, and The Mousetrap. Those are just some omissions I specifically remember. Perhaps there's more availability at other times of the year.

Google will take you to the TKTS London website, where you can see what is theoretically available. It may be gone by the time you get to the booth later in the day, of course, so the online information should be considered the best-case scenario.

Theatremonkey.com has a lot of really useful information. I think it details bargain-ticket procefldures for individual theatres. It's a good source for information on seats (legroom and sightlines).

Posted by
8806 posts

Tickets to many plays aren’t at the 1/2 ticket booth. Never have been.

Buying same day tickets at the 1/2 price booth is an adventure but I can’t think of one play that I didn’t enjoy.

Posted by
752 posts

For history, architecture and ambiance, I’ll add Theatre Royal Haymarket and Duke of York’s to the list.

Posted by
1 posts

If you have the chance to see the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Globe- definitely GO! Standing pit tickets are minimal and the experience is tremendous. Everyone in our family of 5 loved it so much we went back for a different event the following week. Top of our list for our next trip in a few months.

Posted by
15643 posts

I haven't been to London for several years, but I love the theatre and always used theatremonkey.com. I don't go in for the big musical shows, so I usually find discounted tickets or affordable full-price tickets. Last time I was there, you could get last-minute (rush) tickets on the day at the theatre. Also some theatres sold reduced price tickets to seniors, maybe that was just for matinees.

Posted by
1243 posts

The Globe will be running plays through Oct 12, check their website. You could book the Merry Wives of Windsor. I have not attended in autumn, just in summer, but I return whenever I can and whenever my schedule and the Globe's schedule align. I highly recommend it for fun and pleasure.

Posted by
119 posts

Not specifically a theatre, but i will put a word in for it, as you've mentioned architecture and history, , i really think you would appreciate an interior tour of the Freemasons Hall, home of the United Grand Lodge of England. No Admission charge.

1920s Art Deco, Once inside the huge Grand Temple, is not unlike a theatre, with seating and balconies above, also amazing ceilings, see these on the link below.

it's easily walked to, on the boundary with Covent Garden and the theatre district, in Great Queen st

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasons%27_Hall,_London

Posted by
1 posts

My favourite experience was Phoenix Theatre back when Blood Brothers was there. Honestly one of the most powerful shows I've ever seen. I actually ended up being in an amateur production of it when I was in school where I played Eddie!

Great play/musical, I would definitely recommend. Also 'We Will Rock You!' is phenomenal.

Posted by
112 posts

I truly appreciate all of this information and will be using much of it before and during our London trip. Thanks to you all!!! Susan