The latest in our ongoing series of general whinging vis a vis shoddy box office (BO) experiences.
And for once it isn’t just the Whingers complaining.
The Old Vic
Andrew had a minor BO problem too this week.
- Old Vic! How can I help you?
- I’d like some tickets for Speed-the-Plow, please.
- Certainly. I’ve got some excellent seats in the centre of rows P and Q of the stalls..
- Ummm. OK. Have you got anything nearer the front?
- Or I can put you all together in Row D of the stalls.
Does the Old Vic really think that row P and Q are better seats than row D (which, confusingly, seems actually to be the second row)? Theatre Monkey says they are all much of a muchness but, to be frank, Andrew’s eyesight is fading and he would need binoculars from row P. And Phil would need his very largest (i.e. tuba-sized) ear-trumpet which would play havoc with the sightlines of the seats behind. That combined with his millinery.
Why can’t they be more like the Clapham Picture House? When you phone them for tickets they ask if you prefer to sit near the front, middle or back. To be fair, this is principally for their own entertainment as whatever you say is promptly followed by “Mmmmm. Nothing there, I’m afraid.”
Finborough Theatre / Ticket Web
A rather more offensive BO problem regarding an abortive attempt to secure 10 (count ’em!)tickets for Mr De Jongh’s Plague Over England. This is part of the Whingers’ new get-rich-quick scheme following the Othello madness which saw tickets changing hands on the black market for silly money.
The Finborough’s website assures you that “Booking Online is quickest, cheapest and easiest! There are no booking fees.” OK then.
But try and book 10 tickets online and it tells you that “Group Bookings can only be made by phone. 1 ticket free in every 10.”
Hmmm. Well, OK, then. 1 ticket free in every 10 can’t be bad. So Andrew plucks up courage to actually speak with a real person (he is more at home in cyberspace) and he dares to dial:
- “I’d like to book 10 tickets for Mr De Jongh’s Plague Over England, please”
- “Oh, I don’t know if we can do that”
- “But it says on the website 1 ticket free in every 10”
- “We haven’t been authorised to do that”
- “But it says on the website so it must be true.”
- “I’ll have to get back you. I’ll call you back later today or first thing tomorrow at the latest.”
That was a fortnight ago. No news yet.
This week even Guardian theatre critic Lyn Gardner was drawn into
whinging about ranting about sharing her BO problems on the Guardian blog this week which we trust she won’t mind reproducing in full:
I had a telling little run in with Trafalgar Studios on Tuesday when I went to the press night of Dealer’s Choice (which is very good and well worth seeing, but make sure you sit near the front).
Intending to buy some tickets for a future date for my family, I turned up half an hour early, but when I attempted to buy the tickets I was told I couldn’t because it was “inappropriate”. Inappropriate! How can it be inappropriate for a box office to sell tickets, selling tickets is surely what its function is? If an apparently open box office doesn’t sell tickets what possible purpose can it have?
Well, it seems that it is not there to sell tickets on press nights at Trafalgar Studios, where it appears that it requires six people to stand around to give two tickets to David Hare. (The press desk was separate so they weren’t having to deal with us hacks).
I was told–in no uncertain terms– to go away and book by phone the following day, even though this would mean incurring a booking fee. Clearly the box office manager, Martin Crosier, just can’t be bothered to sell tickets to paying customers when he can hand out tickets to celebs.
If I was a producer of Dealer’s Choice I’d be pretty upset that potential paying customers were being turned away. In the programme, the theatre manager, Adam Knight, writes: “If I, or any or my team can do anything further to accommodate your needs, please do not hestiate to ask any member of staff, whom I know will do all they can to help.”
But apparently this helpfulness doesn’t extend to actually selling you a ticket.
So this is what we want you to do:
We want you to get up now. We want all of you to get up out of your chairs. We want you to get up right now and go to the little window in the box office, open it, and stick your head in, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
It might help.