A young friend of mine and her Mum often travel into London to spend 3 days< > in London, visiting museums, the theatre and various other activities. Cherie travels in a wheelchair and their visits raise some interesting as well as challenging moments as they go from place to place.
I recently asked her to please write some reviews for me on the challenges and or good experiences she has at various venues as well as a review on the shows they have seen. These are the first of those:
1) Sweeney Todd Adelphi Theatre
We’d not been to the Adelphi Theatre before so didn’t know what to expect access wise. There’s a permanent ramp from the main entrance on The Strand into the foyer where the disabled WC is. The staff were very helpful and friendly. Our seats were in the stalls which are step free from the foyer. I transferred to an aisle seat as the wheelchair spaces are further from the stage. My only problems with this theatre were with the other patrons who didn’t like having to use the middle aisle to get to their seats as I couldn’t stand up to let them through.
As for the show, Michael Ball, Imelda Staunton and the rest of the cast were amazing. Michael Ball was unrecognizable from the last time we’d seen him in Hairspray (where he played a woman). His Sweeney Todd was very dark with a wonderfully manic evil grin. The staging was very atmospheric and of course the throat slitting was very gruesome and bloody. The show had to stop during the 1st Act as one of the actors fell from the staging. The curtain came down and we were asked to remain in our seats. Ten minutes later the show resumed with the actor getting a huge applause. Sweeney Todd is a great production, very serious but with some great comedic lines delivered brilliantly by Imelda Staunton.
2) Rock Of Ages Shaftesbury Theatre
We’d previously been to the Shaftesbury Theatre to see Hairspray, so knew about it’s access. The foyer is easily accessible from street level. Having previously stayed in my wheelchair in one of the boxes and found that I couldn’t see all of the stage, we booked seats in the front row of the Royal Circle. The stalls can only be reached by stairs. I transferred into the aisle seat but it wasn’t ideal for me as I had to move my legs to the side to let people get to and from their seats as I was next to the exit and ice-cream vendor. It was all worth it though when Rock Of Ages started.
It’s set around the late 1980′s to a soundtrack of Rock and Heavy Metal music. From the very start of the show it’s laugh out loud funny. It’s a musical that you can sing along to and clap in time to. It’s more of an adult show with scantly clad dancers but one that I’d highly recommend and can’t wait to see again.
3) Wicked Apollo Victoria Theatre
The Apollo Victoria Theatre is further away than the West End theatres, situated close to Victoria Station. This was our 3rd visit as Wicked is one of my favourite shows. The wheelchair access is around the back of the theatre on Vauxhall Bridge Road. There is a flight of steps into the theatre so there’s a chairlift for wheelchairs. The operator helps you into and controls it. At the top is the foyer, with the disabled WC easily accessible. It’s best to use this now as there is another chairlift into the auditorium. This takes you to the Dress Circle where there are two boxes either side with two chairs and two spaces each for wheelchairs. It’s quite far back from the stage but a good view. I prefer the stalls but again it’s down flights of stairs. The staff are very helpful, especially the chairlift operators and friendly.
Wicked is the prequel to The Wizard Of Oz and if you’ve seen it, there’s lots offunny references to it. It’s the story of Glinda the Good witch and Elphaba the Wicked witch of the West, but turns it all on it’s head as she isn’t wicked at all. It cleverly shows how the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion ended up like that too. The songs help tell the story and how the characters are feeling. All of which are sung fantastically with my favourite musical song, Defying Gravity ending Act 1. It’s a fun and very entertaining show which hopefully we’ll be back for a 4th time and 5th.
So there you have it folks. It would seem that Cherie is most fond of Wicked and should now be given ‘Freedom of the Theatre’ for as long as the show lasts
I found the info she has provided re wheelchair access to be enlightening and my hats off to the staff at the theatres.
If you have found this article to be useful please retweet or like it and have any info you would like to add that would be of use to other folks, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks and have a fab time in London, hope it’s more than 3 days