Box Office Poison: The Sound of Music – Are the tills alive?

Tuesday 22 August 2006

Maria fans beware!

Following the huge plugging for this show on TV’s “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” we decided to book now.

But like Evita (see our previous blog) there’s something of which theatregoers should be aware.

Having let the cat out of the bag in the programme that the elected Maria will do “at least six shows a week”,
(er..and the other two?) I casually asked at the box office what chance we have of seeing the winning girl.

The conversation went something like this:

Box Office: We’re not sure how many she’ll be doing yet.

West End Whinger: What does that mean?

BO: Well there’s an alternate Maria who’s just been cast, she’s very good, even she doesn’t know shes got the part yet. And there’s an understudy.

WEW: So you can’t guarantee that if I book I will be seeing the one who wins the show?

BO: I hope you’re not booking just because of the TV programme.

WEW: Well given the publicity that show is giving it, I think most people who book will be expecting to see the winning girl don’t you?
So how many performances are they expecting her to do?

BO: It depends how many they think she can manage.

WEW: So six then like Evita?

BO: A maximum of six.

Now a “maximum of six” means what? Five? Three going on four?

You’ll be glued to your TV for weeks. You may even spending money voting. Then you spend more money to see the highly publicised show after watching the search for a Maria. At the end of all that you stand a pretty good chance of seeing an “alternate” Maria.

Call me old fashioned but I call that a disgrace. If the box office had signs up telling you this then perhaps it would be acceptable.At the time of writing the BBC website says, ” they’ve decided to let you the viewer decide” and “you have the final say”. Well it appears we have no say in the already cast alternate Maria. Shouldn’t that go to the runner up? It seems we have as much chance of our chosen Maria as seeing Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady.

And when Connie Fisher wins the show. Which she will. Perhaps just part of her name should be lit large above the Palladium marquee.

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