The Theatre Café, based in the centre of London (opposite, in fact, the epic Les Misérables), is something that I was quite sceptical about. It is just a café, at the end of the day. However, on a recent theatrical trip to London, I thought that I would pop into the Theatre Café and see what all the fuss was about – and I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I found myself going back again on my next trip to London – and I have become a bit of a fan. So here are ten reasons to visit the Theatre Café next time you're in London!
1. The General Staginess
When you walk inside the Theatre Café, staginess surrounds you. There isn't one thing in the café that isn't theatre related – from the music, to the props and posters, to the cups (but I'll get to those later) – it is a café almost as stagey as a the stage itself.
2. The Music
I was half expecting to walk into the Theatre Café and be hit by 'Do You Hear The People Sing' playing on full volume whilst some sort of barricade-related riot ensued inside. Happily though, I was quite mistaken. The music played at the Theatre Café is actually not at all obtrusive; you can just sit and have a drink whilst listening to some musicals in the background – heaven!
3. The Location
If you look out of the window at the Theatre Café, you will see Les Misérables – and, in fact, a whole street full of theatres. The café is located on Shaftesbury Avenue itself, a street that hosts an array of theatres in the very centre of London. What better place than here to put the Theatre Café?
4. The Props
I was very excited when I went to the Theatre Café to see a load of original props, from some of my favourite shows. For me, the most exciting prop was the broom used in the original London production of Wicked, but there are plenty more to put a stagey smile on your face.
5. The Posters & Artwork
There are signed posters from nearly all of the main West End shows running at the moment – the café's walls are full of them. This is, needless to say, a very cool feature of the Theatre Café... Also adding to the staginess of the café is the artwork it displays, based on various shows.
6. The Menu
I would go to the Theatre Café for the drink names alone: Phantom of the Mocha; My Fair Latte; Starlight Espresso; The Woman in Flat White … the list goes on.
7. The Cups
Stagey cups! Need I say more?
8. The 'Stage Door' and 'Kinky' Boots
In true stagey fashion, the Theatre Café has a stage door (instead of a kitchen door). It also plays host to some fantastic cardboard boots from Kinky Boots, behind which you can pose as the legendary Matt Henry (what more can you ask for?)
9. The Adverts
I don't usually like adverts, but I quite enjoyed having a little look at what London has to offer on the Theatre Café's little TV screen. The adverts were played without sound, so they weren't at all obtrusive, but it was nice to do the stagey equivalent of window shopping whilst drinking some Defying Gravi-tea.
10. The Price
Prices at the Theatre Café are really not too bad. You can get a Cats-achino for £2.60, and the other drinks are all in the same sort of price range. The food, similarly, is of a price that you would expect in any café – and in what other café do you get so much staginess included?
So, if you're in London and you feel like you haven't quite immersed yourself in enough staginess, get yourself to the Theatre Café and soak in the theatrics.
And, if that doesn't tempt you, get yourself a boring old Costa Coffee.
Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.