It’s the third time I’ve blogged on this topic. Things change so fast on the internet these days so I thought it time for yet another update.
Most people booking theatre tickets, including me, begin with Googling the show’s title. Fortunately Google now makes it clear which items are paid ads and which aren’t, as invariably the first sites to appear will be ads and are more than likely to be tickets agents. Tickets agents are perfectly respectable organisations (so long as they are members of STAR – see my earlier blog here.) and just occasionally have special offers. Every outlet has its own allocation, but generally speaking you are better off booking through the official site.
Taking two ‘hot’ shows currently running in the West End as examples, this is what happens when I try to book two mid-price seats for Thursday 21 April:
The Book of Mormon
Googling The Book of Mormon, the first four sites that crop up are ads, three of them for ticket agents and one for the Mormons themselves. You have to scroll down to the fifth item before you reach the show’s official site, which is www.bookofmormonlondon.com
When you click on the official site it shows you a seating plan and you get to choose your seats. For some reason however when I tried to click on the seats I wanted most of the apparently available tickets appeared not to be available, which means either their site is faulty or my mouse. I did manage to get two tickets in Row L of the Stalls for £50 each plus a booking fee of £4.50, totalling £104.50.
On theatrepeople.com you are given a selection of tickets available on your chosen date and two tickets in Row K of the Stalls will cost you £64 per ticket, face value (ie before their markup) £50. This transaction will cost you a total of £128.
lovetheatre.com only offers ‘Stalls 1st price, 2nd price’ etc., though once you’ve clicked on them you are told the seat numbers. A ticket here in Row M is £75 + £3.50 booking fee, making it a total of £157.
This is what I think they call a no-brainer.
People Places & Things
Four ads come up here of which the first is the official site at Wyndham’s: wyndhams.fromtheboxoffice.com. Tickets in Row J of the Stalls will set you back £74.50 each, a total of £149.50 for two. (Yes, this is a hot ticket.)
On lovetheatre.com Row M in the Stalls costs £62.50 plus a socking great booking fee of £13.80 per ticket, making a total for two of £152.60.
You can also book this show through the National Theatre (it was an NT production) – www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Stalls seats for this same date are sold out but you can grab a couple of tickets at the back of the Dress Circle for £62.50, totalling £125 (no booking fee). You can also buy tickets at £15 sitting on the stage, if being up that close appeals.
Of the ‘legitimate’ tickets agents some are transparent and helpful – like theatrepeople – and offer you specific seats, so you can see exactly where you’re sitting and what the face value ticket price is, others just charge you a lump sum and say ‘tickets will be allocated at the box office’, which is pretty poor show in my opinion.
Fringe theatres do not charge a booking fee, nor does the National Theatre.
Enjoy your visit to the theatre and if you have any questions about booking theatre tickets in London do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.