Is it curtains for Billy Elliot and Little Shop of Horrors? The Sunday Telegraph reports today that “the capital’s theatreland is increasingly giving away thousands of tickets to taxi drivers in order to fill less-than-bursting houses. It also helps to spread positive word of mouth”.
Apparently cab drivers make good ambassadors for the theatre, giving out recommendations to their fares. But is this actually having the desired effect?
The article quotes the manager at the Shaftesbury theatre as saying he was “very grateful” for the help of cabbies in pulling in the crowds. Presumably this was in relation to Daddy Cool, now closed. There’s also a picture of some cabbies outside Guys and Dolls, now closed.
So which other shows are doomed? Well, Little Shop of Horrors is mentioned, as is Billy Elliot of which a Dialacab spokesman says: “Apparently they couldn’t get an audience for a particular Monday night and we were offered 200 tickets”.
The Whingers have had run-ins with many a cabbie over the years and we have to say they’re not the first people we would go to for a recommendation.
But at least the National Theatre is presumably safe from the curse: we imagine the response to offers of free tickets there would be something of the order of: “What? South of the river? Nah, mate, not at this time of night. You’ve got to be joking.”