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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - are the cheap seats any good?

(40 Posts)
SockEatingMonster Sun 18-Feb-18 16:32:52

DD wants to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She'll only be 8, but based on her love of theatre and the Harry Potter books and films and the fact I'm desperate to see it too I think she'll enjoy it.

I usually book cheaper tickets but, given the visual nature of the performances and the fact that it's always slightly potluck over who gets the booster seats, I'm wondering if I should budget to spend more. Bearing in mind that if I do budget to spend more, it will probably be at the expense of her seeing some of the other shows on her list...

Can anyone who has been, especially those who have taken younger children, advise?

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 21:35:50

Hopeful bump in case of any evening Harry Potter fans...

Jb291 Mon 19-Feb-18 21:44:58

Cheap seats are extremely cramped and the view of the stage is not good. Not recommended.

BeansOnToastWithCheese Mon 19-Feb-18 21:48:56

I went and sat right at the back of the stalls. We missed a few of the tricks I think and didn't get the full impact of a few of the visual spectacles but would recommend those seats if you're economising. I couldn't have afforded to go otherwise - so was definitely worth it for us.

SellFridges Mon 19-Feb-18 21:51:33

We were in the £15 seats about 18 months ago. We found it fine - a little cramped but we had a much better view than I expected.

That said, it was so utterly awesome that we’ll now be booking to take DD (who has just finished reading the books) and we are happy to spend more this time.

CatLadyInTraining Mon 19-Feb-18 21:56:43

Check the theatre monkey website. They have detailed seat reviews for most west end shows which I find very helpful.

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 21:59:55

Thank you, that helps. It's hard as her viewpoint is different from mine. I wonder if a back of stalls seat would be preferable to a better seat up in the gods as, given her lower vantage point, she'll find it easier to look up at the stage than down on it? I certainly won't be paying £500 for 2 tickets at the front, but might consider up to £250 for us both if it's likely to make a big difference. Unfortunately we have to factor in travel and hotels too <cries>

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:00:50

Cross posted with CatLadyinTraining, that sounds like a really useful website, I'll be bookmarking that!

TheTurnOfTheScrew Mon 19-Feb-18 22:05:48

DC1 (then aged 9) and DH went in the £30 seats in the gods. He said that they were a loooooong way from the stage, and there was one short part at the very front of the stage that they found hard to see. But other than than absolutely fine.

SoTotallyOverThis Mon 19-Feb-18 22:10:06

We went and paid for the most expensive seats on the basis we’d go once and never again and it has won a ton of awards. It was still really reasonable (for London west end that is) I thought it was worth it and the visuals were fab. We had great views but like all London theatres even with the naicer seats it was still tight. My dc were 9 and 7 - they enjoyed it but I would say most of the audience were young adults. There weren’t many kids there at all but I suppose it’s a bigger expense.

losingthemind Mon 19-Feb-18 22:10:48

We went last week, had dress circle seats (end of row E) for Part 1, amazing seats, I'd say almost better than stalls because the extra height over the stage gave an excellent vantage point. For part 2, we were in the balcony, quite far back - much more cramped, and obviously further from the stage, but still enjoyed it. My 10 year old complained initially, but didn't once it started. By splitting like this, it kept the cost to around £120/person. It was so worth it!

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:17:44

The thing is, poor DD is used to craning her neck as I'm usually too tight to spend much, so she won't be expecting a fantastic view blush What I'm trying to avoid is her missing bits altogether.

I suppose I don't mind spending a bit more than I usually would, but I'd be a bit annoyed if we blew the budget and still missed bits.

What makes it harder is that a good seat for an adult might not be a good seat for a child.

Decisions, decisions...

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:20:04

I'm cross posting again!

That sounds like a good idea losingthemind, did you have to book each part separately to do that? Also, if you are going to get better seats for one part, which part would you recommend?

madeyemoodysmum Mon 19-Feb-18 22:27:22

The first part has the most tricks
Saying that I'm a massive potter fan and I enjoyed it but I wouldn't go again and in all honesty. I think 8 is too young. It's quite slow in parts.
Not at all Like the films or a west end musical.
More a real play. Quite serious.

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:36:53

That's a good point madeye, the only 'adult' theatre she's seen are musicals and Matthew Bourne dance type performances. She's seen straight 'plays' at our local theatre, but they've always been geared towards children/family audiences. Perhaps we do need to wait?

losingthemind Mon 19-Feb-18 22:36:58

I'd say better seats first half, because by Part 2 you're fully immersed in the story, therefore less focus on the inferior seating/position. It worked for us. I did it by accident , as when I booked Part 1, I thought I was booking both parts - technical error on my part! Having blown all my budget on Part 1, cheap seats it had to be for Part 2 grin!

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:39:04

That sounds like the kind of thing I'd do grin

losingthemind Mon 19-Feb-18 22:40:24

With regards to age, my daughter is quite a mature 10, thoroughly enjoyed it, and even guessed some of the plot, so fully absorbed the story. I think any younger, she would have struggled with the intensity of two full-length plays in one day.

theredjellybean Mon 19-Feb-18 22:45:40

We went but with older teens, sat in about 45 pound seats... Very high, very cramped, beware it is exceedingly steep in the gods and top balcony.
I am pretty robust but had to go down steps to our row on my bottom.
Several people refused point blank to try and stood at the back.
That said it is amazing show

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:46:52

Hmmm, maybe it would be wise to wait then whilst squirrelling away money for front row seats

SoTotallyOverThis Mon 19-Feb-18 22:48:07

I do think that the older you are the more you will get out of it. Mine were fine and I really really wanted to go and had the chance for good seats so went for it! But it is as the op said quite serious in parts

Deannaamy Mon 19-Feb-18 22:50:44

Look into the friday forty! I've gotten tickets and the seats are amazing

usuallydormant Mon 19-Feb-18 22:51:30

If you're not tied to dates, try the Friday Forty lottery: at 1pm I think every Friday they release 40 seats via the official website for the following week's performance. Took me 4 or 5 gos but we got really great seats - 40 pounds each for both parts.

DS was 9 and absolutely loved it: we did both parts in the same day.

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 22:59:00

I would LOVE Friday Forty tickets! You're the first person I've ever come across who's been lucky enough to get them though envy

A new plan is starting to form now. I am wondering if I should go and see it now cheaply (either by taking reluctant DH and making do with the cheap seats, or possibly by going by myself), then taking DD in a couple years and doing it properly with better seats.

SockEatingMonster Mon 19-Feb-18 23:01:38

Cross posted again, 2 people who've been lucky with the Friday Forty. I've had my alarm set since Christmas, but have only managed twice so far (no luck, obviously!) I had thought it was nearly impossible to get them that way, but will keep on trying!

MrsRolly Mon 19-Feb-18 23:14:11

I took my DD for her tenth birthday. We had seats in the grand circle which were £50 each neither of us are super tall so we had restricted leg room but it wasn't an issue and we were front row of the grand circle so a brilliant view.

The plot is a little woolly in places but the show itself is amazing, worth every penny in the end!

loopsdefruit Tue 20-Feb-18 01:22:14

sock the website suggests the play is suitable for children aged 10 and above, so 8 may be a bit young for right now. Have you been to the studio tour? That would be good if not smile

Deannaamy Tue 20-Feb-18 07:48:11

I have actually gotten them twice, but it took 8 months for the first set and then a month and a half after that for the second.. so it does take time. But it is soooo worth it!

cornishmumtobe Tue 20-Feb-18 07:56:59

Eugh we went for cheap seats right up in the balcony and it was AWFUL. it was July and absolutely stifling (sweat dripping off everyone - the SMELL envy not envy!), it was so cramped I wanted to scream and so so so high up a lot of people were leaving as they felt ill. The play was amazing but I so regret the seat choice - we should have spent more.

theredjellybean Tue 20-Feb-18 09:32:08

I agree about vertigo in the cheap seats.. But I paid £88 each for both parts, x that by 6 add in afternoon tea in the break and it was 850 pounds... Which is outrageous for a trip to the theatre.
OK.. We did go to fortnum and masons for afternoon tea smile
I personally think theatre tickets are so over priced and take advantage of families particularly, I am sure loads of people have children who love the books and have contributed to jk rowlings considerable fortune, making tickets so expensive for a play aimed at these young fans I think is shameful.
The only thing I will say is though, the show was so good I did forget about the vertigo eventually, but not before I had been sick twice

SockEatingMonster Tue 20-Feb-18 09:32:59

I saw the website was suggesting 10+ loopsdefruit, but she loves everything theatre (she does youth theatre too) and loved Phantom of the Opera & Little Shop of Horrors, so I thought she'd be ok. I hadn't, however, factored in that they are both musicals, so easier to engage with, so thanks again to the person who pointed that out. She followed the plot through the HP books ok, but of course could ask me questions and re-read bits she found less clear. So I think, on reflection, I will give it at least another year, do the studio tour, then start hitting the Friday Forty religiously!!!

Thank you so much to everyone for sharing your experiences.

SockEatingMonster Tue 20-Feb-18 09:33:55

"but not before I had been sick twice" shock

theredjellybean Tue 20-Feb-18 09:46:17

Yes... It really was that vertiginous...

theredjellybean Tue 20-Feb-18 09:47:12

The plot is not difficult to follow but for a younger child I would honestly recommend saving up for a year and paying for lower seats

Feezles Tue 20-Feb-18 09:57:14

As per a PP, I would really recommend Theatre Monkey ( I use it every time I go to the theatre to research seats. It is great for telling you which ones are over-priced, what is a bargain, and which seats to avoid at all costs. There are often reviews of specific seats, and usually reference to specific shows. It really is a great resource.

We sat in the stalls for HP, in row K seats 4 and 5. The view was fine, although there were a couple of tiny things that happened on the far right of the stage that we couldn't quite see, and also one thing that happens higher up that we couldn't see immediately (keeping the secrets on what!). It was incredibly expensive though!

Bear in mind that seating at the Palace is cramped throughout (IMO), and my very tall DH did struggle a bit.

mumdebump Tue 20-Feb-18 11:57:50

Being realistic, you may not have any choice of seats. Tickets are incredibly difficult to get hold of. If you look now for dates in the school holidays with both parts in same day, there are hardly any pairs of tickets. I was lucky and got some in the last mass release booking for over a year in advance and only managed middle of upper circle as best seats available (and they still cost almost as much as the stalls & dress circle tickets). Definitely do your research on what seats you'd be happy with beforehand. You have just moments to make a seat selection if you're lucky enough to get high enough in the queue to get tickets in the mass release. I dithered, looking for better seats on a different date, and then lost the (slightly) better seats I'd originally chosen, fortunately they came back as available a few minutes later.

mumdebump Tue 20-Feb-18 12:10:13

Make sure you sign up for the mailing list so you have notice of when the next mass ticket release is - due Spring 2018 - and then put that date in your diary and make sure you are glued to your computer at the critical time for a few hours that day. (Thankfully my workplace were understanding! smile) You have to log in to a 'waiting room' at a certain time, then you are randomly allocated a place in the queue for tickets. Then it's just a waiting game as your queue number ticks down and you eventually get to enter the bunfight. Good luck.

Feezles Tue 20-Feb-18 12:19:22

That's odd - we got our tickets in the mass release too, but although we were allocated at random, I was definitely able to change the selection. I fiddled about with it for a few minutes before I was happy. But perhaps they have changed it? I got mine almost 2 years ago now, 18 months in advancesmile

mumdebump Tue 20-Feb-18 13:41:10

It was when I was changing the selection to a different date to see if I could get better seats that we lost the original allocation. When I couldn't get anything better, I tried to go back to the original choice of date and the seats had been reallocated to someone else and we then had a worse allocation of seats. Honestly it was the most stressful ticket-buying experience I've ever had. You only have a few minutes to make your selection and check out so you can't play about too much and seats are being snapped up all the time. I imagine there would have been more choice for dates outside school holidays. I don't know if there is a difference between Nimax and ATG ticketing sites.

melj1213 Sat 24-Feb-18 21:51:43

I don't know if there is a difference between Nimax and ATG ticketing sites.

Nimax tend to have more tickets allocated than ATG.

I just got home literally 3 hours ago from a trip to London to see The Cursed Child with tickets booked over a year ago in the mass release last January.

I was logged on to both ATG and Nimax and was in the queue for both as soon as the tickets were relased and it took about 3 hours before I got through on Nimax. ATG had sold out at least an hour or so earlier but when I got on through Nimax I still managed to get seats in the back of the stalls.

They were in the highest price band but being at the back of the stalls they were restricted view seats but other than a couple of moments that happened at the very top of the stage, our view wasn't restricted at all.

One other thing I would also consider is whether you want to watch it over consecutive nights or both shows on the same day. My friend and I originally decided to see it over 2 days purely because it gave us an excuse for a longer visit to London and as we were child free it gave us more nights to go out drinking but we were actually glad we chose not to see both in the same day as it gave us time between shows to digest and discuss the story without feeling rushed into the next one (I am a huge HP fan so I knew the story whereas my friend had not read them and didn't know what to expect, so it was nice for us both to have the chance to hear each other's takes on Part One, to have a bit of time to reflect before going back to Part Two)

In addition we are both fairly tall and the seating in the Palace Theatre is pretty cramped so after sitting in the theatre for 3 hours we were both starting to feel stiff and achey and were glad of the 24 hour reprieve before the second part. I think that if we had seen both parts in one day, by Part Two we would have been too distracted to actually focus on all the detail going on on-stage. Related to that in Part One the theatre was freezing (fortunately as we had come to the theatre from sightseeing we were layered up anyway) but we then knew that we needed to wear extra layers for Part Two regardless of how mild the day was. We were sat near someone who said the theatre was usually overly warm so they hadn't prepared for it being so chilly and on day two they came wearing far more layers... if we were seeing it on the same day there was no way we'd have had time between shows to get something to eat, go back to our hotel to pick up a jumper/hoodie and make it back in time to get through the security line again before the second show.

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