We were saddened by yesterday’s disastrous collapse at the Apollo Theatre in the West End, where in the last 18 months, we watched Jerusalem, Twelfth Night and Richard III. I’m going to repeat what I said in the “Jerusalem” review:
Like so many West End of London venues, the Apollo is a nasty grubby gilt-trimmed 19th century theatre. You have to contribute £1 to the restoration fund with your ticket. I’d rather they demolished it altogether. We were in Row R, in the most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever sat in anywhere in a theatre. They are low, there’s a step up for that row, making them lower, and at 6 foot 1 inch tall, my knees were severely and painfully compressed throughout. To add injury to injury, there was a pair of binoculars screwed on the seat in front. At £55 a ticket, the seats in that row are appalling, worse than the worst charter flight. If it hadn’t been one of the best productions of one of the most compelling plays I’ve ever seen, I’d never have survived three hours. Add woefully inadequate toilets.
I have long thought that these old West End theaters were a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s hope they ignore ostrich-head-in-sand pleas to restore it, and demolish and build a proper modern theatre instead.