In Which I Finally See Billy Elliot The Musical

This has been a long time coming. A very long time coming.

Billy Elliot has been on my list of musicals I’ve wanted to see for years, always there but another show kept turning up and taking it’s place when looking at what to see next. Shows which might not stay in the West End long enough for me to see them if I don’t see them right now.

But for the first time although Billy Elliot wasn’t the only show I wanted to see (dying to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watch Les Mis again) but it was the musical I was most desperate to see and fortunately the tickets matched my budget at the right time (which was lucky as I booked the ticket quite last minute for me!)

So last Thursday I made the coach trip to London, went for a little wander along Victoria Embankment and saw a familiar bridge.

Millenium Bridge

And then walked on said familiar bridge…

Millenium Bridge

Fortunately there were no dementors around 🙂

After a bit of a rush back I was outside my favourite London theatre – the Apollo Victoria Theatre….

Apollo Victoria Theatre

*ahem* fortunately this just across the road from the Victoria Palace Theatre. I was ready for the show to begin…

Victoria Palace Theatre

Billy Elliot if you didn’t know is the story of a boy who discovers he wants to dance but set against the strikes in the mines a boy who wants to dance isn’t the kind of thing that goes down particularly well.

It was amazing. Perfect. Brilliant. Superb. Incredible.

Okay, okay – I’ll stop now.

As you might have guessed Billy Elliot is much more dance heavy than other musicals, I mean what other show will you see police and miners in an epic dance battle with young girls and Billy having a ballet lesson in the middle.

Talking about the young cast, they were superb and brought a fun and bright side to the show – and I have to give a massive shout out to the boy who played Michael (I wish I remembered his name!) – he was so much fun – I can’t picture the show without him! 🙂

Which brings me to another point that the show has elements which would fit right at home in a modern contemporary story – it shows the miners strikes from the eyes of a young person and how they effect the whole family.

I’ve been listening to the cast recording for months already so I knew the music was superb but seeing the show really brings it to life.

Oh and don’t ignore the seats at the front of the theatre because of their restricted view marker – I was in seat B22 which is the very front row on the left side of the stalls. It’s marked as restricted view because of the very high stage but really – the view is fine and for little more than £20 you can hardly go wrong.

Though I’m sure I kept catching several members of the casts eye – though I hope I’m imagining it! Eek!

Overall, an awesome show – if you haven’t seen it – what are you waiting for?

My Handy Dandy Guide To Booking Theatre Tickets

My Handy Dandy Guide To Booking Theatre Tickets

I love going to the theatre so much but I’m quite picky about where I like to sit and now that most ticket agents provide interactive seating maps you could say I’ve got even more picky.

So this is my handy dandy guide to booking theatre tickets – also known as how to get good seats at the right price.

Ready? 🙂

So you’ve picked the show and date – all is well and there are tickets available the first thing to think about is who to book with.

Ticket Agent

This might seem like a no brainer – go with who you trust, But. But. But. But. Every ticket agent has a a different selection of tickets available (you can’t generally book the same seat with two different ticket agents as far as I’m aware) so I always look at a few namely:

  • Theatre box office
  • See Tickets (no interactive ticket map – boo)
  • Ticketmaster (using less and less as they’re shifting their focus to music events)

There are also others who generally have good deals but watch out for their booking fees as this can so often eat away at the savings using them (seriously I’ve seen booking fees upwards of £7 on some of these ticket agents making them considerably more expensive so I don’t personally use them – the ones above range from £0 – £2.50 aprox.)

Word of warning: make sure whoever you buy from is a STAR ticket agent and all should be well

Choosing Seats

Ah, yes – the interactive ticket map – I love this service now offered by many ticket agents – no longer do you have to rely on a computer to tell you which seats are the ‘best available’ – especially as my idea of the best available doesn’t normally match what the computer thinks.

I love that the interactive ticket maps allow you to select the area and the individual seat without having to focus on the price (they show this too) but I don’t look at this first.

I always sit in the stalls and normally as close to the stage as I can for a couple of reasons – I’m reasonably tall so the front stalls seats have plenty of legroom so I don’t get cramped and they just so happen to right in front of the orchestra pit (I love looking down at the orchestra – you do not know how much I would love to experience being in the pit during a performance! :D)

Back to the point, the interactive maps show the available seats and the price – what I now do is do some view checks. I now use two websites to check if a seat is worth booking.

Theatremonkey

I discovered Theatremonkey when I ran a musical blog and they have the most comprehensive London theatre seat maps which indicate at a glance which seats are worth buying and which ones are best avoided. Tip avoid the red ones and try and go for the green ones.

Steve also gives summaries of the reasons seats have been highlighted the way they have – it’s a must use resource.

And if you’d rather look at the maps in book form then the Theatremonkey book is a very wise buy indeed (disclaimer: I was sent a copy but I’d recommend it anyway!)

Seatplan

I only discovered Seatplan yesterday but from what I can see it’s another very useful resource allowing users to post reviews and even photos of the view from the seat.

It’s not exhaustive and there are very large holes in some of the seat plans but being able to see the view before you buy is very helpful and help you decide if the ‘restricted view’ in spite of discount is worth going for.

Together these two resources can help take the guesswork out of choosing which seats to book.

Do you have any tips for getting the best seats at the best prices?