I’m a cheapskate that way too. Inless my daughter’s perfoming - then I’ll move heaven and earth to get a good view!
The Palace Theatre
109-113 Shaftesbury Avenue, Westminster, London W1D 8AY
- Leicester Square Station (0.2 km)
- Leicester Square Tube Station (0.2 km)
- Contact us:
020 7434 0909
14 reviews of The Palace Theatre in English
First visit, purchased Balcony seats, however when actually got there upgraded the main reason not being the visibility but the actual steepness of the seats. However the upgrade to the circle was excellent viewing of the stage. Tickets collected from the booking office, literally just around the corner of the building, friendly professional staff. Did not actually go to the toilet, friend did and she said there was a bit of a queue during the interval.
I cannot not not comment on the actual show – Priscilla Queen of the Desert was GREAT, good fun, entertaining, the staging, costumes, singing, Priscilla herself (bus) was great. Started laughing within the first 5 mins, which was good, as it can sometimes take a wee while to get into a show individually and as an audience and the laughs continued throughout.
Will definitely visit the Palace again, but will avoid the Balcony, hence a 4 rather than 5 star rating.
Just as everyone else’s, this is a review for the theatre.
The theatre is relatively large compared to others in the West End. It is in a good condition and has some lovely decoration.
I certainly can’t agree with Alzebub’s critique about seat sizes. I’m average built (6’2, normal waist size) – I had more than enough space in the seats! Even the larger ladies next to us seemed to be comfortable in their seats.
The only thing I agree with is that the last 5 rows in the stalls have limited visibility due to the low ceiling. Sadly the flatscreen monitors showing what you can’t see only help to make out polarised shadows.
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Just to make clear: this is a review of the Theatre and not the production that I saw. As someone who's a bit round (not obese) the amphitheatre seats were impossible to sit in. I had to sit on the staircase it was that painful. Also, I was in the front row and there is absolutely nowhere to put your legs, even for a more petite person. You tend to forget about most of that stuff once the show starts - I've been in theatres with tight seats before and it hasn't bothered me, but these seats were too small. I think the place is due for refurbishment and they should really reconsider the seat sizes.
Apart from that, the theatre is ok, decor is a bit sparse and uninteresting, staff are lovely and helpful.
This is a review for the venue rather than the musical itself. However, it is difficult to separate one from the other, as how you feel watching the performance will affect how your feel about the venue. In spite of that, I will try and separate one from the other.
The theatre is in much better conditions than other West End theatres. Its original features are quite well maintained. It is a beautiful theatre, and quite imposing from the outside.
It is very easy to find on a great location in Shaftesbury Avenue.
I would say for those that don't like heights to avoid buying seats on the balcony section as it is quite steeped.
Also, the first rows on the stalls don't have an ideal view are you are way too close to the stage and can miss some of the action on the floor plus you will spend all the performance having to looked up.
You can't detract from the quality of the productions here, but this review is for the theatre. And that quality is extremely suspect.
I paid £50 for the £70 from Tkts booth for stalls seats - being dragged along to Priscilla with my wife & daughter - and I was appalled by the total lack of space for a person of reasonably average height. Vision was OK, acoustics were fine, but no way could the experience be described as good. Plus, I know I should be inured to West End Theatre drinks prices by now, but really!
The show itself was as expected, a throughly professionally staged production of a nonentity of a musical. Nothing to hate, lots to enjoy, but my life would not have been measurably poorer had I not seen it - my pocket certainly would have been richer.
We were part of a large 34 person group from Ascot and Reading who came up by an arranged coach trip on Thursday 28th Octobe to see "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
We had a block of Stall seats.
Many of had seen the film but we thoroughly enjoyed the Stage Show and all the music. The time flew by !!
A great night out........A pity we hadn't "dressed up" as we did at the Rocky Horror Show and Sound of Music !! It should be compulsory !!
On the coach returning home we were still singing the lyrics from the show.
Unless you book very early and get the best seats in the house, you really are out of luck. We went twice and booked different seats each time in the lower (but not lowest) price bracket. I feel sorry for the people who had worse seats than us. The first time we couldn't see the heads of the actors on stage (we were too high up, and the lowered ceiling obscured the view - and we we not sitting at the back!), the second we couldn't see their legs without leaning forward throughout the whole show.
It's nice theatre, but be very careful on the seats you choose. Pay extra if you can afford it!
Visited the Victoria Palace theatre this week to watch Priscilla Queen of the Dessert again and can only support other reviews but I would say from the outset that I really love this place. Last visit was in September for Priscilla and prior to that was to see Les Miserables way back when and whilst the character of the building is still just as enchanting it is not very convenient for those uncomfortable with stairs and steps as they are everywhere. This creates lots of fascinating bits to explore and since the refurbishment marble seems to have appeared on the walls and some lovely chandeliers hung from the ceilings. We had really good seats and for that I have to thank the seating guide at http://www.theatremonkey.com/PALACEstalls.htm before booking. I would strongly advise checking this out because during the break I was able to look at the position of the red seats in the stalls and both the viewing angle and the low ceiling height would be annoying – especially if you go to see a show as good as Priscilla because you won’t want to miss a thing. Also got chance this time to nose around the circle seats and again they are tiny with the end ones having seemingly poor views but wasn't up there when show started again so not really sure. The bars were comfortable during the break which was just as well as you will need to stretch your legs as they have not been able to do anything about the poor space between the seat rows and subsequently it is very tight although my 5ft 5inch partner said it was ok. I know it will sound off-the-wall but the other facility I like here are the loos! How sad is that? They are very spacious and it’s nice not having to keep an eye on your pockets! My overall impression is still one of marvelous acoustics and, in the right seats, the excellent proximity of the action. Get a good seat in the front of the stalls and go. Enjoy one of the best experiences the west end has to offer.
The Palace Theater is a beautiful building. I have seen 3 shows there - all very good, but wherever sat I could never seen the whole show. I definitely do not suggest to sit on the balcony as it is designed that you can't see anything - no matter how tall you are. And if you are "a bit bigger" you will have problems with seating - it feels like they build the theater when people were much smaller and thinner.
If you go there, definitely book stalls.
Currently they are playing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Musicale is very funny, great costumes, great singers. Definitely a must see if you like musicales.
I’m finding that all reviews are dualistic. Not the swordfighting kind (although that does relate here) but you are always reviewing both the place, and the event that you experience within it.
I saw Spamalot at the Palace theatre on Tuesday and I was deeply impressed with the play and had very positive feelings about the venue.
I always buy the cheapest tickets for plays - have probably never spent more than 20 pounds and that was for Chicago and it was crap. Simple maths. A 70 pound ticket is not seven times better than a ten pound ticket, maybe twice as good, but that just strikes me as a bad deal.
Admitadly I have strained my ears and neck throughout performances so it was with some approbation that I booked £12.50 tickets and invited friends to an evening at the theatre.
Exiting slightly sake sauced from a roast duck mortury, we swaggered into the ticket both and received the enormous news that our seats had been upgraded from the outer cosmos to the middle of the dress circle. I had organised these tickets as a repayment of kindness to a few friends and my apparant generosity was now happily positioning me in credit.
Staff were friendly, the venue seemed clean, the wine was priced as though we were Saudi Princes and the seats were perfect.
I’m one of those people, and gosh there are a lot of us, who can near as recite the enitrety of Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail”. Was a little unsure how to prepare myself for this then except that I knew it was lovingly crafted by Eric Idle and had recieved broadly brilliant reviews.
And it was great. Really great. I was saying at the time that it was the best play I’d seen, but on colder reflection, it was at least very very good, if not this.
The worst bits, though they were good, were the dialogue from the fim. The best bits were the surprises, the hilarious songs, the great spectical, the pace of the thing and the ironic king arthur played by that indian guy from the Kumars.
I’m just spending my time now scanning the cheap theatre ticket web sites; trying to find the cheapest tickets on the worst nights to the best shows, and angling for upgrades.
Comment 1 comment on this review
bluesofty, 9 October 2008:
The Palace Theatre is beautiful and is currently running the Spamalot musical. At the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road (on the Cambridge Circus as dmj1962 points out in his previous review), it’s not a building you should walk by without stopping at least once to really appreciate. The detailed red-brick exterior is only just the beginning, and the previous reviews do an amazing job of describing both the outer facade and the interior so I’ll defer to them.
The one point I’m not sure I agree with however is the mention of the cramped seating arrangements inside, and that may just be because I’ve only ever been to theatres on and off Broadway in New York that are either the same or are even worse in the leg room department!
Drinks are really pricey with a small (read: very small) white wine being almost 5quid and the rest of the bar (well-stocked!) being just as expensive. Naturally they don’t allow outside beverages inside so if the mood strikes you’re pretty much putty in the bar maid’s hands. May as well go for a large!
We also went to see Spamalot here (for which, see separate review in due course!), so this review covers the theatre.
The Palace Theatre is well known for its imposing red brick facade on Charing Cross Road, at Cambridge Circus. A grade II* listed building, it was conceived by Richard D’Oyly Carte in the 1880s to be the home of English Opera, as a counterpoint to his highly successful light opera - the famous repertoire by Gilbert & Sullivan - already established at the Savoy Theatre.
The foundation stone was laid in 1888 (just to the right of the main entrance) and the first production was ‘Ivanhoe’ by Arthur Sullivan. This was a great success and ran for 160 performances, but D’Oyly Carte had nothing planned to follow it. The building was sold a year later, becoming a popular music hall. It was renamed ‘The Palace of Musical Varieties’, before changing its name again to the Palace Theatre in 1911. The building incorporated many innovations, including the extensive use of concrete to provide fire-proof structures for the staircases and other key elements.
Over the years, it has hosted some spectacular successes, including ‘No, no Nanette’ in the 1920s, and more recently ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’, and ‘Les Miserables’, which ran here for 18 years from 1985 until 2004. The theatre is now owned, alongside 6 others in London, by the Really Useful Group.
The interior is typical of the sumptuous style of Victorian theatres: the Stalls Bar is decorated in a faux Louis XIV scheme, with elaborate ceiling mouldings and large decorative mirrors, and the theatre interior is festooned with cherubs and garlands, incorporated in both woodwork and plasterwork.
As a performance venue, the main drawbacks are the familiar ones for Victorian London theatres: the stage is relatively narrow (although a lot deeper than many), the seating is rather cramped, and there are stairs everywhere. The theatre seats 1,400 people, in the stalls, grand circle, dress circle, balcony and boxes. Just over 100 seats (including all the boxes) have a restricted view. One aspect which is better than many London venues is that the lavatories are larger than average, doing away with the long waits at the interval!
Wheelchairs can be accommodated, however, booked in advance, with a discount for both the wheelchair user and a helper (although the location is at the back of the stalls at seat W27 - not the best view). Access is via a side door with one 3cm step. Alternatively, transfer seating to any seat in the stalls can be arranged, with wheelchairs stored at the back. There are disabled toilet facilities, and a dedicated host for disabled customers.
The bar is also very spacious, and interval drinks can be ordered in advance. Bar prices are - of course - more expensive than you’ll pay in a pub - £5.50 for a single Gin & tonic, with the House Gin. There’s also a shop on the first floor, selling programmes and souvenirs for the relevant show.
The venue also hires out its VIP suite and bar as a meeting and small conference venue.
The theatre is close to Leicester Square underground station as well as bus routes 14, 19, 24, 29, 38 and 176.
We went to see Monty Python’s Spamalot here a few weeks ago. The venue was great, the atmosphere buzzing and the view we had from the top centre was excellent. The one and only problem I had was the very cramped seating arrangements and I’m glad I’m under 6ft tall. I will be interested to see how other theatres in the west end compare to watch a show in.
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