Monday, 18 January 2010

'Restricted View' - I Can't See the Point

The likelihood of this post shaking off all vestiges of grammar, sense and semblance and descending into what is colloquially known as a 'rant' is quite high. This may be in part due to the fact that today was my first day back at college, and thus I am in equal amounts tired and in pain (mostly caused by five periods of dance and a body clock that refused to let me sleep until 3am). However, my anger and frustration were mainly caused when my frequent attempts to buy tickets for 'the Little Dog Laughed' at the Garrick Theatre where met with either obscenely high prices or seats of a slightly lower value being labeled 'restricted view'.

Now, I have to admit that I am a bargain hunter. I refuse to pay the sometimes extortionate prices that theatre owners and producers place on their shows and thus will trawl the Internet for any deal. Despite my eagerness for a deal or bargain, I also want a good seat. I see thirty pounds as a lot of money, and if I'm paying that much to see a show or play, I want to be in the stalls or at least the front of the dress circle. So far, my dedication hasn't steered me wrong - there's always a good deal out there if you're willing to find it, rather than just pay seventy pound to Ticketmaster.

However, LDL really seemed to thwart me and seriously tested my patience. Tickets in the stalls were ranging at about fifty pounds. This seemed quite normal to me. However, tickets in the dress and upper circles were also marketed at this price, despite a notice claiming that 'many of the seats in these areas have a restricted view'. Ah, the restricted view, the bane of the theatre goer.

Why, in any theatre commissioner, architect or builders mind, would anyone, anyone, build a theatre with some seats that do not have a complete view of the stage? I'm paying to see a play, therefore I want to see all of it, not whichever parts the directer chooses to block in my allocated square of the stage. I suppose that in some cases, the natural curve of the circle will place some disruption on the audience's view; however in my experience and opinion, this seats are always priced way below the surrounding, fully-viewed seats.

Sometimes, the theatre is built in what seems a sensible fashion, and the designer for the production decides, "Screw this, the audience are only paying their hard-earned cash, a percentage of which will end up in my pocket, to see this play, I'm going to design such an intricate and obnoxious set that only those able to pay upwards of seventy pounds to sit in the very centre of the stalls can see!" In a way, this annoys me even more; unfortunately I haven't seen the Little Dog Laughed yet and thus cannot comment on which of these two ailiments it falls under.

I must state, that I haven't got a personal vendetta against the show itself and am very much looking forward to seeing it. It has a few big names starring and this naturally leads to higher prices. Its more that the frustration of searching for tickets brought this matter to my mind. Who an earth came up with this ridiculous notion?

Rant over.

Oh, and in the end I managed to find stall seats, row R for twenty-five pounds. I told you I was relentless.