On Friday 8 January I got day seats in the morning and we all went in the evening to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue. We had seats in two adjoining grand circle boxes.
(I got to the box office just after 10, with no one else there; I'm not sure if anyone had been there before me, possibly not if they sell the four boxes in alphabetical order - eight day seats, two in each grand circle box A-D. I asked if they still had any day seats and they said yes, they could sell me two; I said I'd have two plus one other; he ran through the prices for the other and I said I'd take the cheapest they had; he said it would be restricted view, as the day seats were, that we would have to lean right out and look down, and I said that was fine. He sold me the two seats in Box A and one in Box B - that is, I guess he was only allowed to sell me two day seats, but because nobody else was queuing for them he sold me as my restricted view seat one of the other seats allocated as day seats; there did seem to be an empty seat in one of the boxes on the other side on the night, so maybe they didn't routinely sell them all. A lady came up just as I was finishing off, and while I was sorting out my purchased tickets I gathered she was buying a day seat, and it sounded like she was being offered the other seat in Box B. Come the night, she had indeed bought it.)
The view was indeed quite restricted, but in an interesting and manageable way. There being only two seats in each box, you weren't jockeying for position or getting in anyone's way. The boxes were also quite near the stage; I took the seat in Box B, nearest the stage. I sat furthest from the stage first, to talk to the others in Box A, since they were right beside each other, and then when the other lady came I gave her that seat to sit in, since it had a better view and since I could lean out further, being taller, but still not be in her way. There was a nice wide lip to the box, which made it easy to lean on, plus they were chairs rather than fixed seats so you could move them around.
We were virtually looking down on the actors from above, but that was fine. What was also interesting was that you could see a bit into the wings and a bit behind some of the set, so you could see the intricate mechanics of the farce running (although of course you did lost some of the visual gags best appreciated from the front). The speakers were right beside me, so we missed most of what was being said in the pre-show interaction, because there was music, but it wasn't a problem during the play.
Having seen The Play That Goes Wrong last year (which I realise I haven't blogged about yet), we knew what to expect - indeed, that's why we wanted to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong, since we all enjoyed it so much. Broadly speaking I'd say we enjoyed this too, though we may have enjoyed it more had we not seen The Play..., since inevitably it was quite similar in style and content. It was beautifully constructed, as 'things going wrong' slapstick/farce need to be, but also well-written, and full of laughs. Another of the interesting things of sitting where we were was that you could see most of the audience, and could get what I would imagine was a similar experience to the actors on stage of the big gusts of laughter coming out towards you.
They were advertising a new play they're doing later this year, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, which we'll probably try to get to.
Let's find some reviews. Guardian. Telegraph. The Stage. Standard. Time Out. LondonTheatre. Independent (an interesting article, rather than a review, which includes the interesting detail that they had a 'safe word' for when something actually did go wrong). What's On Stage. A Younger Theatre. The Arts Desk. A West End Whinger. All pretty much very positive (and totally lacking the odd element I remember from some of the reviews I saw of The Play... of 'yes I concede it's very funny, but it's insubstantial'). The search also reminds one that the company had put on the play in various places before, but this version has most of the original main cast from The Play...