No Tricycle news

Monday 26 January 2009

tricycleNo news from the Tricycle Theatre.

Perhaps they are just hoping that it will all just go away.

For the benefit of new readers: there was something of a recent brouhaha when someone claiming to be the Tricycle’s marketing manager left us a comment suggesting that we not bother darkening the Tricycle’s door again.

Apart from some unsubstantiated rumours about the source of the outburst,  nothing else has happened.

Andrew emailed the Tricycle to find out if they wanted to set the record straight but never heard anything back, so presumably they don’t.

So the campaign continues:

We, the undersigned theatregoers, call on the Tricycle Theatre to end its policy of unreserved theatre seating.

We do so on the grounds that:

  • Unreserved seating makes it difficult for groups of friends to sit together;
  • Unreserved seating does not reward the people who book earliest with the best available seats;
  • Unreserved seating is a waste of people’s time, requiring them to stand around queueing in the foyer for 45 minutes or more despite the fact that they already have tickets.

You can sign the Whingers’ online petition here.

We are also considering applying for this job at the Tricycle:


It’s three days per week for a duration of 3 – 6 months for no pay but it almost seems worth it to work from the inside.

Still, neither Whinger is likely to pass muster when it comes to the qualities needed:

Be an ambitious and quick learner, and highly self motivated.

Be reliable, punctual and well presented.

Be an excellent communicator with good verbal and written skills and attention to detail.

Be prepared to undertake a wide variety of tasks, to be executed to the best of their ability.

Have knowledge of basic administrative procedures and systems.

Have experience of general IT packages including Word and Excel.

Be confident, calm and pleasant when dealing with people, both on the telephone and in person.

This does not apply when leaving comments on websites.

There is no need to be able to listen to your customers.

(OK, we made the last two up)

The closing date for applications is Friday 30 January 2009. Let us know how you get on.

24 Responses to “No Tricycle news”

  1. Caroline Says:

    I know I’ve said this before, and that you are the “West End” and not “Suburban” Whingers, but whilst I agree with you regarding unreserved seating at the Tricycle, it’s worse at the Orange Tree, as you have to queue outside the building before they open it to allow you to “queue” in the foyer. Have you never been there? And what do others think, please?

  2. Helen Smith Says:

    I don’t mind unreserved seating as it’s an egalitarian system – one price for all, the same chance of getting a good seat whether you book three months ahead or the day before – that favours the solo theatre-goer and keeps ticket prices low. It works fine at the Soho Theatre, the Young Vic and the BAC, where you’re let in about 15 mins before the show starts and charming ushers go up and down the rows pointing out spaces and asking those already seated to budge up a bit if it’s busy.

    At the Tricycle the policy of allowing people in 45 mins early to nab seats (not just for themselves but also for friends, family, coats and handbags), and selling a mixture of reserved and unreserved seats means it’s impossible to tell where you should sit (ushers can’t/won’t help and just shrug if you ask). The seating is on two levels so you have to rush up and down the back stairs, from one level to the other, and from one side pf the auditorium to the other asking people – is that seat taken, can I sit there, do you mind, is that your bag, are you saving all six seats or can I squeeze in? Some will allow you to sit next to them only for you to discover that this is a reserved row and your unreserved tickets does not entitle you to be there – and so you’re off again, rushing about, up and down, side to side, begging to be allowed to sit somewhere.

    I had no idea it would be like that the first time I went along to the Tricycle (and would not have renewed my gym membership had I been better informed). I was offered the choice of tickets by the box office and booked an unreserved seat to save myself £5. You had tipped me off to get there at least 45 mins early and I did, and thought I’d be OK but I wasn’t. Obviously, next time, I ought to book a reserved seat to save myself the trouble. But there won’t be a next time.

    Incidentally, I felt a bit sorry for Elly Hopkins in the last round of comments. It was a misplaced attempt at humour by the person who left the comment – whether Elly or an imposter – and misplaced humour is never unwelcome on the Whingers site which is why we all feel so at home here. I don’t blame the ushers either (I wonder if they’re paid?) – but the management needs to sort out the seating policy and train their ushers properly.

  3. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    Maybe the Tricycle should have its own airline. Then it could also charge extra for baggage allowance, using a credit card, in-flight nosh, etc… Tricycl-air sounds good to me. all together now: “Three wheels on our airplane, but we’re still rolling along…”

  4. Helen Smith Says:

    You know those army recruitment adverts that show a group of soldiers rushing towards a ravine and the rope bridge is broken and the advert asks: How would you get across? If you think you can solve this problem, please get in touch.

    They could make a new film saying you have a ticket for an unreserved seat at the Tricycle, you only have 45 minutes before the show starts to find a seat, coats and bags lie across almost every seat in every row, there is no way of telling the difference between reserved and unreserved seats…

  5. Were I still in school I’d be so tempted to apply and spy on your behalf, but I no longer have student loans to back me and I don’t think my landlord takes “experience” as tender towards the rent.

  6. Chris Says:

    First confession is that I’ve never been to the Tricycle but my experience of unreserved seats elsewhere is that it’s an exercise in making people anxious, impolite and highly territorial. It is just like the worry of turning up latish for a Ryanair flight. I’d far sooner pay a bit extra and know where I’m sitting. Plus all that hanging about before a show starts, it’s boring, time-wasting and dumb. By the time it’s curtain up you need the toilet! Big congrats to the Menier for their albeit temporary change.

  7. Helen: “It was a misplaced attempt at humour” – I think it was what some Americans call “kidding on the square”, intended to look lightly bantering so that it could hopfeully be passed off as a joke and its butt(s) as too po-faced if offence were taken, but actually, at the core, intended seriously. I think that’s not ill-considered at all, but downright duplicitous. That’s why I was one of the many who jumped on it.

  8. Helen Smith Says:

    Ian, perhaps you’re right.

    I had this awful vision of Elly being a rather gauche, very young, possibly unpaid intern taking it upon herself to go into battle against the ‘moderately influential’ Whingers, making a mess of it – and getting it in the neck from her employers as well as from those commenting on here.

    As the Tricycle wouldn’t respond to Andrew’s email, I suppose we’ll never know.

  9. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    The Trike’s a sizeable venue – big enough to use interns, but way too big and grown-up to give one the title of marketing director.

  10. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    Oh, and have you tried Googling ‘”Elly Hopkins” Tricycle’? That really isn’t a flattering media profile…

  11. Christ. No publicity is bad publicity?

    I do hope it really was her. I heard a naughty rumour that the comment was in fact left pseudonymously by someone further up in the Tricycle management, and was using her name as a means to connect the comment to the building, but not to the person who actually made it…

    It’s a pity they aren’t entering into the debate, though.

  12. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    If that’s so, then they really ought to face up publicly to the extent to which they’ve stiffed her.

  13. Quite. I really do hope it isn’t true. Still, it’s all a bit Complicit – if they’re not going to go public, then everyone will think (and say) the worst.

  14. Helen Smith Says:

    I feel really sorry for her. I googled, as Ian suggested. If she ever wants to get another job in marketing she’ll need to show that her comments are in synch with the management’s marketing policy – to be fair, when I went, it was packed out, maybe the marketing dept are supposed to act as speed bumps, preventing a rush on the place. Reading her comments you are supposed to believe that Whingers and like-minded are not welcome. Certainly, I applaud the expediency – the attitude that if you don’t like it, don’t come is one that I had already adopted. I’ll never go there again.

  15. Helen Smith Says:

    Oh dear. I’m rather sorry about my comment about speed bumps, above. My brief experiment in leaving testy comments about seating policies on other people’s websites as a way of advertising my creativity has not worked out as I had hoped, and I have since abandoned it. I might do better to start wearing a monocle or a jaunty hat if I want to draw attention to myself.

    On reflection, I don’t really care one way or the other about the Tricycle’s eccentric seating policy. I expect they were just trying to please all-comers by offering both reserved and unreserved seats.

    As for Elly H, whether she left the comment or not, I still feel sorry for her and wish I had never speculated (on your comments section elsewhere) that she was ‘gauche’. I think I might have been a bit drunk and although it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever said or done after a glass of wine, I’m still sorry about it.

    I left an apology of sorts on here the other day but it has been moderated as it also referenced an amusing exchange of comments on this site which culminated in the use of the c-word as an insult, apparently (‘critic’?).

    The only way I can think of making amends is to leave this comment. In the past, when I have done something awful, I have tried to atone by giving blood but it always makes me faint and I have to go and lie on the floor in the Ladies toilet in Lambeth Town Hall with my legs in the air for a good half an hour to recover. Given the icy conditions, I don’t want to risk it and this will have to do.

  16. Helen, apols for immoderate language. You’re quite right, a, um, *critic* is a lovely thing and shouldn’t be used as a term of vulgar abuse. You’re quite right to object.

    Oh dear, I’m now envisaging a show called The Critical Monologues.

  17. watzabatza Says:

    i thought a tricycle here is a vehicle…

  18. Helen Smith Says:

    watzabatza – yes, it is.

    Andrew, I don’t object at all to profanities of any kind. I’d be happy to collaborate on TCM if you thought we could get it on somewhere. Casting-wise, we might consider Penelope Wilton and Margaret Tyzack for The Whingers and Simon Russell Beale for Shutter. Presumably we will have to ask the audience to shout the offending word ‘critic’ at some point in the show? On press night, this might have the beneficial effect of waking those of them who are said to sleep through performances.

  19. Helen Smith Says:

    I meant Shutters, obviously.

  20. Helen Smith Says:

    I’d also like to have Sally Hawkins as Lyn Gardner, Pete Postlethwaite as Billington and Charles Grodin as Charles Spencer. You can choose whoever you’d like to play you but if I’m to be in it (as narrator rather than critic) I’d like to be played by Ann Reid. That’s it for now. I’m off to salt the driveway and check whether there’s a blood bank still open in case I need it for later.

  21. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    Oh, Helen, you flatter me. I fear no living actor can do me physical justice; Stratford Johns in his latter years may have been the last who could.

    Andrew Haydon (to be played by Will Young) maintains that Benedict Nightingale *is* Ned Flanders.

    I have other suggestions, but some of these folk sit behind me most evenings, within easy dagger-implanting distance…

  22. Ian, you’re an utter c****c.

    In a similar game I played a while ago, the best two we came up with were Alan Rickman as Robert Hewison and Steven Berkoff as Nick de Jongh.

    I’d be quite interested in seeing Hannah Murray’s Caroline McGinn (not a euphemism). Ooh, and Alison Steadman’s Jane Edwardes.

    Not sure about Pete Postlethwaite as Billington – I’d incline toward Oliver Ford-Davies.

  23. Oh and Alan Cox as Quentin, obviously 🙂

  24. lottylu Says:

    I understand how long ago this was but really feel the need to comment….yes I agree that unallocated seating can at times be a mayhem… especially with the Tricycle’s one ended seating access…but there are very few theatres as financially accessible as the Tricycle and that is ONLY allowed through charging that bit extra to reserve seats…for theatre matinees concessions are able to “pay what you can” and Brent residents as well as those on benefits and students are always eligible for VERY cheap tickets for certain performances…this is not a West End venue and money need to made somehow…if charging a few pounds extra for reserved seating allows the venue to let someone who really CANNOT afford the ticket prices in for a pound or so then so be it. You can criticise from your middle class stand point but at some point there has HAS to be a mid-point…without this extra money the Tricycle would not be as accessible a venue as it is…if you really have a problem with ticket allocations pick up a leaflet or look on the website and no doubt you will find a cheaper option for a different performance…if you cannot be asked to do this or look around for a free seat…then maybe just stay at home and watch the television, with your allocated sofa…

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