Posts Tagged ‘good deals for good shows’

Great deal – Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutracker at the O2 arena – £55 tickets for £17

December 9, 2011

I travelled to Birmingham to see the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker (choreography by Peter Wright) and loved it. But you don’t have to because they’re bringing it to the O2 Arena in London. Per the email I got from Travelzoo, the details are:

•Save £38 on tickets to see Birmingham Royal Ballet perform this magical Christmas show
•Or, book seats worth £35 for just £12
•Perfomances take place at The O2 on 27-30 December
•The Former “X Factor” winner Joe McElderry will open the performance with Christmas songs

For full details, please go to the Travelzoo site.


Good deal – Double Feature #2 for £15 – National Theatre

August 18, 2011

The National Theater have a deal in today’s Metro to get a ticket to their second set of plays (“Nightwatchman” and “There is a War”) for only £15. Call 020 7452 3000 and quote “Metro” or enter promo code “4117” in the website BEFORE selecting your seats. Good for performances until August 30th 2011. While this set of plays isn’t as genius as the other double feature, it’s still been getting good reviews and it’s always a nice idea to support new writing. And at £7.50 a play, how can you go wrong?

2 for 1 offer for English National Ballet’s “Nutcracker” 2010

November 25, 2010

“Days Out,” which promotes travel by train, has a two for one offer for tickets for the Nutcracker. Sadly this offer is only good December 29th and 30th but I consider it a great deal when all of the pantos will be full priced this week! You need to prebook (call the box office 0871 472 0800 and quote “2FOR1 National Rail offer”) and they say you’ll have to present your train tickets but Oyster usually works as well …

Great deal – half price tickets for 7 Doigts “Psy” show at Peacock Theater – first week

April 20, 2010

We’re doing great for offers with the Metro in the last week – today brings another 50% off deal for Les Sept Doigts de la Main’s “Psy” show at the Peacock Theater. I saw their “Traces” show last year and enjoyed it a lot, so if the volcano grounds me, I’ll be sure to cash in on this deal.

Details of the deal: it’s only good for shows from April 28th through May 5th EXCLUDING SATURDAY EVENING, for half off £36 or £28 seats. (£10 balcony tickets can be found on if you’re interested.) Either call the Peacock theater (0844 412 4322) and quote the “Celebrate the City” offer, or go to the Sadler’s Wells website and use the code “pcdcelebrate” when prompted. Enjoy!

Metro half-price offer: Birmingham Royal Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” at Coliseum

April 13, 2010

Another great dance deal today: half price tickets (£60/£50 tickets for £30/£25) for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” at London Coliseum (April 20-24). Either call 0871 472 0800 and quote “Celebrate the City Offer,” or go to and enter “pcdcelebrate” when prompted.

£10 for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” at the London Coliseum

April 1, 2010

Travelzoo brings a deal today for £10 for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” at the London Coliseum: £10 for remaining Balcony seats (usual price £20-£25) for performances 20-24 April 2010, excluding the matinee on Saturday, 24 April. Book by 9 April. Full details here. (Quote “Ballet Offer” on the phone, use promotional code “pcdballet” on the Sadler’s Wells website.)

Deal of the Day: Metro 2 for 1 tickets to 1st week of Blaze streetdance, Peacock Theatre

March 1, 2010

Well! My daily Metro reading has paid off with an offer for half priced tickets to the first week of Blaze, the street dance performance that’s happening at the Peacock Theater from March 11th through 28th. Now, the tickets are only good for the first week, March 11-18th, but you wanna get in the door first, right? I’ve found street dance some of the most exciting dance performance taking place in London these days, and I’ve been hoping for a good deal for this show for a while, so I bought my tickets before I posted this!

Here’s the deal: go to Sadler’s Wells website, pick a date from March 11th through 18th, and enter “pcdcelebrate” into the white box (numbered 2) where it says “Promotional code.” Then pick two of either of the top two priced seats (£36 or £28, they’re clearly labelled in the UI), and off you go – when you check out, your total will be half the price you would have paid (plus a wee booking fee). If you’re not internet savvy, calling Sadler’s Wells at 0844 412 4322 and asking for the “Celebrate the City offer” will yield the same deal, only you’ll pay a higher booking fee.

Review – Ghosts – Arcola Theatre

August 3, 2009

On Friday night, J, W, Mel, Bill and I went to the Arcola Theater to see their production of Ghosts. I was, of course (if you’ve been reading this blog for long), interested because of my deep love of Ibsen’s work (and a previous mostly successful interpretation of Ibsen by the Arcola) – and then there’s also the pre-show carnivores’ banquet at the nearby 19 Numara Bos Cirrik, always a motivation for a trip to Dalston.

Ghosts run for three acts with no interval, meaning roughly a two hour running time. But unlike the overblown Phedre, Ghosts blazed along from start to finish with barely a pause to catch its breath. It was like a 19th century version of August, Osage County – incest, drug use, suicide, and deep dark family dysfunctions – but set in a Victorian society ruled by Biblical morality. As the show tumbled from one horrific revelation to another, it felt like being in a car during the last seconds before a crash – everything was hyper-real and felt completely unavoidable.

Yet somehow it never seemed too over the top, like Osage ultimately was. We started with a woman who was excited to have her son visiting after a long absence, we’re told about the orphanage she’s opening in honor of her husband, we meet the maid who’s in love with the son. One by one, the things we thought we knew unravel, each new tragic element reframing to the whole, as we find out what the actual truth iss underneath the inaccurate pretty picture we started with. Finally it comes back to the only original truth, that Mrs. Alving loves her son, and what that now means for both of them and their lives.

Of the characters, my favorite was Pastor Manders, whose lines Paul Hickey somehow managed to say with a straight face. This closed-minded preacher starts the play by lecturing Mrs Alving (Suzanne Burden) about how wrong it is to read the corrupt literature her son (Osvald, played by Harry Lloyd) has brought home – then admits he hasn’t read it himself as he prefers to criticize based on second hand knowledge! Over the course of the evening we see him tempted and twisted and finally served his come-uppance (as I saw it) – as tasty a theatrical treat as one could ever hope to bite into.

This play really hinges on Mrs Alving’s performance, given that she is on stage for about 90% of the show, and Ms. Burden generally did a good job of creating a woman who’d spent most of her life living a lie and was ready to move into a new world of openness and freedom from social shackles. However, at the end when she was cracking under the stress of her son’s illness, she went rather more histrionic than I was willing to swallow. That said, who knows what the proper response should have been at the end of the play … but it was only about 5 minutes when I lost connection with the drama, and I’d been caught up for the rest of the show, so it was a minor flaw.

I also very much enjoyed the performance of Natasha Broomfield as Regine and Jim Bywater as her slimy dad Engstrand. Engstrand is such a schemer, a real laugh to watch on stage, and I pretty much forgot he was acting because it all sounded so natural, like he’d just thought it up while he was standing there! Meanwhile Broomfield really seemed to “get” the bizarre social limitations of 19th century society and how it would make both Regine’s dad’s job offer and the situation at the Alvings’ house completely unacceptable for her. She also formed the face of the society the Pastor represented, the conservative Norwegian society, and showed just how much Osvald and his mother were shaking up the social order with their radical ideas. Of course, the idea of a woman choosing to pursue her own happiness over her duty and to think her own thoughts was radical enough – living together “without benefit of matrimony” really was just pushing it too far. No wonder Osvald felt the darkness of Norway sucking the life out of his body … in that day and age, I would have, too.

In short: Ghosts was a really fun evening out and, as an Arcola play, fairly easy on the budget. It’s an interesting script and well worth watching. Our two hours flew by! And it certainly deserved better than the half full house it got on Friday. Check it out while it’s on.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, July 31st. Ghosts continues through August 22nd.)

Review – Pirates of Penzance (all male cast) – Union Theatre Southwark

July 17, 2009


Last night Jason, W and I went to the Union Theatre to see Pirates of Penzance. I’m a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan (not mad like some but there are pictures of me performing in Patience out there) and I’m a fan of the Union Theatre and the excitement that seeing a musical in such a small space creates for me as an audience member. Furthermore, this promised the zest and zing of an all-male cast. Woo! It wasn’t going to be Company, that’s for sure, but it sounded like something that I would enjoy immensely – and at £15 a ticket, it was a great price.

From the start, it pulled me in, as the Pirates (led by Pirate King Alan Winner, a buttery-voiced singer) bounded and bounced onto stage, all bluff and bluster and with ten times the energy I have for an entire month, filling the room with bodies and voices and pulling you into “the show” (and away from dull reality) with a bang. There amongst them (I was pointedly looking for cross-gendered cast experience, but was confused for a bit as to whether or not the person in qustion was a pirate) was the cherry-lipped Ruth (Samuel J Holmes), all fluttering eyes and tattered skirts and as unattractive a 47 year old nursemaid as Frederick (Russell Whitehead) could ever hope to escape. Surprisingly (since I thought everyone was going to camp it up), Holmes was basically doing a very straight job of playing this comic character. (As an aside I thought Mr. Holmes was gorgeous, but I could see by Victorian standards he might not have cut the mustard – not that the aesthetic issues of “men in skirts” kept Frederick from swooning over all the other girls in the next scene.) Frederick himself was also played without irony, which is practically necessary as half the comedy in the character is laughing at how rigid and literal he is – without it, the plot can’t move forward.

Then it was a quick switcheroonie off stage and suddenly the pirates were all back in white skirts and neck ribbons (and plimsoles) and voila we had our maidens! I loved seeing the cast in both roles like this – it added to the comedy – and they actually did a fair job of falsetto singing. Gloriously, lead girl Mabel (Adam Ellis) had a strong high voice that was verging on a counter-tenor. Ellis positively blasted Mabel’s lines out, most appropriately considering he had about 12 other maidens to sing over at times! (Ellis unfortunately didn’t have the clarity of tone that might have come from, well, being a girl, or perhaps actually being operatically trained, but I had no problems with suspension of disbelief as he put the character out well and was a good singer.)

This leaves the question (in terms of leads) of our Major General – a very important role! – and when Fred Broom came onto the stage with his mustache drawn on I about popped a gut. He was the spitting image of my friend Marcus. And of course he sang well – I have just come to expect it from the Union. He managed both gravitas and a quivering lower lip – and he really was a hoot, and darned pleasant to listen to, really doing justice to the role.

But of all of the characters, it was the policemen who just did me in. Instead of the fairly representative costuming of the pirates and girls, for the policemen the costume designer apparently went right for the Dali (or perhaps Magritte) school of costume design – the men (who further whittled down the ranks of the Pirates, briefly confusing me that this was actually a plot point, that Frederick had recruited his former pirate friends to work as constables, thus meaning they had no one to arrest) carried mustaches on sticks to show that they were law enforement officials. They continued holding on to them while they fought the pirates, including when they were on their backs or stomachs with the pirates sitting on them. At one point, they were grinning hysterically behind their cardboard facial hair and I was about losing it because they were kind of freaking me out. It was genius, really.

Oddly enough, I couldn’t remember having seen this show before – though I was sure I must have, but there was something about dumping all of the actors in my lap (more or less) and eliminating the set (well, there were some curtains and a rope) cut out all of the grounding references for me – and anyway, 1998 was a long time ago! Furthermore, I was confused because I could remember several of the songs (besides “Modern Major General”) referenced elsewhere, though God knows where I heard “How Beautifully Blue the Sky” (I remember “With Cat-like Tread” from Annex Theater in Seattle).

The thing is, in this intimate space, I could hear and understand pretty much every word that came out of the actors’ mouths, a critical thing for G&S. On big stages, the words get lost, and losing even 20% is a real problem in following along. But at the Union I could see the actors speaking, and when I couldn’t understand just by listening (if I were, say, distracted by something silly going on toward the rear of the stage), watching would shape it right up. That means that even for the patter songs I was able to laugh at almost every joke. And this made it practically a new show for me – not bad for a production that’s well over 100 years old.

A lot of what made this show so lively, though, was the staging. From the suggestive way Ruth fed a carrot to the Major General’s pushbroom hobby horse to the spankings to the extremely lewd fondling of one of the “maidens” by her pirate captors, the cast took advantage of one opportunity after another to make this play fun to watch as well as to listen to. I think G&S dies by its chorus, rather than its leads, and Pirates had everything to be proud of in terms of providing full-stage action.

Based on the number of times I looked over and saw the rather poorly W laughing his face off, I think we can consider this show a success. It helps that Pirates is a funny, witty show with a fantastic libretto; but Union made a show that too often seems dusty as a pharaoh’s tomb genius, with an energetic cast that paid attention to the bones of the show while having a great time playing with the presentation. I’m glad I rushed to see it in its first week, because chances are, like every other musical the Union Theatre has put on, this is going to be another sell out. Nice job, guys!

(Pirates continues at the Union Theatre through August 8th. For more information on this show, please see the Boise State Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, which includes all of the lyrics and tons of other supporting material.)

MLK play “The Mountaintop” available for £10 from LastMinute

July 16, 2009

I’ve been waiting for a month and a half for an opportunity to see the play The Mountaintop ever since the review I read in The Metro caught my eye. It seemed like such a timely play now that Obama is president ofthe United States, and in the intimate space of a bar sounded even more exciting. But the play was sold out for the rest of the run even when the review came out: blast!

Now, however, this play has been transferred to Trafalgar Studios, and I’m excited to note (as of this morning’s email) that is offering £10 tickets to see it! I jumped right on this offer and got tickets for next Saturday, in part because 1) I want to see it and 2) I’m sworn to only buy tickets for £10 for the rest of the month due to overspending on a trip to Greece.

So jump on this, folks, the £10 seats could sell outat any time and this promises to be a great show!