last minute London theatre ticket
September 11, 2005 1:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm in London for a couple days and would like to try and get a last minute ticket to one of the more "popular" musicals. TKTS doesn't have any of the shows I want. Can you recommend another ticket seller that won't rip me off?

I saw two shows yesterday thanks to TKTS (Death of a Salesman and Stomp). Tomorrow night (Monday) I'd really like to see one of the big musicals that's playing in London right now.

In order of preference:
1. Guys and Dolls
2. Lion King
3. Billy Elliott

I am hoping there are ticket resellers that try to unload singles for cheap at the last minute. Know of any? Am I hoping for the impossible here?
posted by sanitycheck to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
You could try - they have tickets going from October for Guys and Dolls. The other alternative is to just go along on the night and see if either there are people standing outside that desperately want to sell you one cos someone dropped out, or ask at the box office if they have any returns.
posted by Lotto at 2:31 AM on September 11, 2005

Sorry it somehow missed out my link - here.
posted by Lotto at 2:34 AM on September 11, 2005

You could try one of the ticket booths that sell last minute tickets. From memory I only know the location of one that's at the bottom end of Leicester Square.
posted by floanna at 2:46 AM on September 11, 2005

It is ALWAYS possible to get tickets for the big shows last minute. The problem is, it's almost NEVER possible to get them cheap. This is just a matter of simple economics... you've named three of the biggest shows in London, and these are the ones which will be in highest demand. Therefore to get the tickets last minute you'll probably have to pay over the odds rather than under the odds.

You might want to try for returns at the theatres themselves, if they allow them. Some theatres do, and all you have to do is turn up a few hours before curtain up and you can get the tickets at the regular price. Or you can see if any members of the public are selling theirs last minute, as Lotto suggests (I have done this successfully a couple of times.)

You might want to check in Loot to see if any members of the public selling their tickets. But you'll have to watch out for the touts / scalpers. They're the ones who are selling tickets at highly inflated prices... if you decide you want to go this route, pretty much any ticket company listed online or in the Yellow Pages should be able to get you a ticket at an inflated price.
posted by skylar at 6:29 AM on September 11, 2005
posted by Boo! at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2005

(perhaps not particularly cheap for last minute deals)
posted by Boo! at 10:59 AM on September 11, 2005

Here's a link to info on The Half Price Theatre Ticket Booth In London's Leicester Square that floanna mentions (as far as I know it's the only one).
posted by forallmankind at 11:17 AM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: floanna and forallmankind: The booth you mention is the one I noted in my post (TKTS). Unfortunately they don't do tickets for the shows I mentioned, and I am a bit suspicious of most of the other "half price" booths around town, which seem a bit sketchy. seems the best bet right now. When I checked earlier today they had tickets for 55 pounds, but I am a bit nervous to buy from them as they don't appear to show the seat location before you buy. I may just go loiter near the theatre tomorrow evening and try my luck. :)
posted by sanitycheck at 12:18 PM on September 11, 2005

Sadly, you've picked three of the most popular shows in London right now. I think you're best to turn up at the theatre and try your luck.
posted by ascullion at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2005

Best answer: As Lotto, skylar and ascullion suggest, waiting for returns outside the theatre is a good idea. Get there well in advance of the curtain (perhaps an hour or two), and ask if there is a returns queue. If so, get in it! At a popular show, there may be an organized queue. You will probably have to wait until the show starts -- which may be a few minutes after the scheduled time -- but you may well get in with a great seat (at regular full price).

Last time I tried this in London, I stood in the queue and ended up with an eighth-row centre seat from the box office for the very-sold-out Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which featured Minnie Driver, Matthew Perry and Hank Azaria.

(Your best bet is probably actually to go to each theatre earlier in the day tomorrow and ask about returns. That way you can have a plan for the evening.)
posted by sueinnyc at 2:47 PM on September 11, 2005

Response by poster: Update:

I went to the Piccadilly Theatre (Guys and Dolls) early this evening and opted for a cheap standing-room ticket (15 pounds, behind the stalls).

Although they said they do sell returns if standing-room sells out, there was no guarantee (that the standing room would sell out, or that there would be any returns), and since I am on a student budget anyways 15 pounds sounded good to me. I used to work as a theatre usher so I think I will be okay with standing the whole time. I guess I'll find out soon - the show starts in under an hour!
posted by sanitycheck at 11:04 AM on September 12, 2005

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