Top 5 Tips For Your First West End Show Experience
| By Emma Boxall
London’s West End attracts audiences from all over the world but what if you are yet to experience what all the fuss is about?
1. Choosing the right show for you.
The list of shows the West End has to offer is endless and for first-time theatregoers this can understandably be a daunting prospect. But rest assured this decision is anything but! It’s simple, there is something for everyone, from a feel-good musical like Mamma Mia! to the gothic-horror stage adaptation of Woman In Black. But what if you have a number of people to please when deciding? Your best bet would be to go for a musical such as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory as it provides humour for both young children and adults alike, along with innovative and creative stage designs which create a magical atmosphere that you find yourself lost in.
It is a misconception that going to a West End show will cost you a small fortune; plenty of websites now offer discounted theatre tickets for top West End shows. Once you have decided whether you are going to see a matinee or evening performance, it is highly recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially if you are going with young children who would not appreciate being turned away at the box office as they are told the show is sold-out! However, if you are willing to travel to London without having already booked your tickets, take a trip to Leicester Square home to various ticket booths that provide low cost tickets for top West End shows! Beware though, be sure to check the location of the seats before you buy the tickets because some may have restricted views.This does not necessarily mean that your view will be completely obstructed, it may just be referring to the angle at which you can see the stage or the presence of a safety barrier that could hinder your view of the performance. If you are not one to take the risk of turning up empty-handed, check your favourite ticket agent's offers and discounted theatre tickets section for the current deals and bargains.
3. Finding somewhere to eat.
Deciding where to eat is always a difficult decision, especially if you are in an unfamiliar place. It is not obligatory to eat out when you are going to see a West End show but most people tend to make a day/evening out of it. The West End has a huge variety of restaurants for you to choose from. Ordinarily restaurants such as Nandos or Pizza Express are the favourites for family outings or if it’s a ‘girls night out’ you might prefer to fine dine in one of Raymond Blanc’s Brasseries.
4. What to wear.
Your outfit may not be at the forefront of your mind, but it is worth giving it some thought. If you are watching a matinee performance you may be more inclined to wear a casual outfit, jeans and a t-shirt, for example. But if it is an evening performance you are going to see then it will be more appropriate for you to dress in smart-causal attire. For ladies, smart trousers and a blouse or a ‘little black dress’ will suffice and for gentlemen a smart shirt (a tie is not essential) with trousers or jeans.
5. Finding the theatre.
Finally, you need to find your theatre in plenty of time before the performance starts. This may sound like an obvious thing to say but it is not always easy if you are not used to travelling around London and navigating the underground! If you have travelled by train to London you will potentially have to use the underground to reach your destination. There are various applications you can download on your phone to help you with your journey underground (or by bus if you prefer) but be sure to have this prepared as phones require a 3G signal or Wi-Fi connection, neither of which are easily accessible on the underground. Tube maps are also available at underground stations and will help you to familiarise yourself with the various line and station names. If all else fails there are plenty of station staff to ask and they will be sure to send you in the right direction!
So hopefully you are now all clued-up and ready for your first experience of London’s West End!