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Review by Charlie6 months ago
The last play I saw in the West End of London was 'Women in Mind' by Alan Ayckbourn possibly in the late 90s. My last play? Here's why.
At a time when theatres could call the tune some really dodgy practices were going on.
To close down the possibility of being fleeced I actually attended the lobby of the theatre which was showing 'Stones in His Pockets' at the turn of the new millennium (2001?) for five tickets. A decent ticket then was available at about £25 'plus booking fee'.
I was advised the price of the five tickets was about £25 each together with a booking fee of £7.50.
When I enquired about the necessity of the £7.50 booking fee - as I was at the theatre in person - no postage, no credit card fee etc - I was advised it was still payable.
To my further astonishment which I hadn't even considered was that the £7.50 administration fee was for EACH TICKET! That's 5 x £7.50 — £37.50 booking fee for being there in person.
I told them of the preposterousness of this situation; told them that this exploitation and lack of transparency was killing theatre and that they would loose any loyalty of the theatre-going public. I walked out never to return to any west-end theatre again. They were all at it during this time in theatreland.
So now 20 years later and theatres are calling on the loyalty of their 'victims' to defer refunds and to encourage the government to support them fully to preserve the industry.
Well is it unreasonable to conclude that as you sow so shall you reap? Theatre-going is a luxury and when priorities have to be made then I'm afraid theatre-going is a low priority. Not disimmilar from the so-called 'director's' of firms who only pay themselves dividends expecting tax-paying members of the public to support them after their tax-avoiding sunny days?
If the theatres had wisely saved for the seven fallow years, they wouldn't be in this soup.
Addionally if they had been reasonable 20 years ago they would have enjoyed many hundreds of pounds of revenue, just from me. Together with the concomitant loyalty.
Go fathom theatreland - and if you do survive - which I hope you do (but don't want to contribute to even taxwise) - treat your loyal customers fairly.
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