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© Jan Versweyveld 
Venice Footnotes 
+ photos 
In olden days a glimpse of stocking Was looked on as something shocking But now, God knows... presents:
Website Updated 24/04/14
This is a not-for-profit UK theatre-going group for our friends and colleagues and their own extended group of friends. It costs nothing to join us but must be by personal introduction from another member of the group. We provide tickets (and coach transport from Southend, if required) for London theatres.  
We do not sell tickets to the public
Welcome to our Theatre Group website where we hope you will find all the information you need.  
Organisers: Fredo & Mike - E-mail: or 
On this page -  click heading to jump to section or scroll down page
>Latest Offers: It's time to make a booking -  
Anything Goes Concert + The Crucible + Fathers & Sons + Ballet Triple Bill
Details of all Available Bookings are shown on the Current Bookings page - 
click HERE or on the individual ads above.  Extra Discounts for our Donmar Friends
>Next Theatre Visits:
12.00noon mat
26 April 
at the 
Opera House 
Covent Garden
*The Winter's Tale is a 12noon matinee performance. 
Please note the coach departure times: 
Palace Theatre 9:30am; Chalkwell Schools 9:35; Elms 9:40; Thames drive 9:45;  
Hadleigh Church 9:50; Gt Tarpots 9:55 
Evening Standard 
Christopher Wheeldon's striking new version of this Shakespeare piece crams everything you could want from a ballet into a single evening — comedy, tragedy, romance, drama and some lovely dancing. What’s striking is the synthesis of dance, music and design...flurries of joyful the plot turns into a hugely enjoyable caper.
29 April 
at the 
No reviews yet
Updated 19/04/14 -   
What we see without the Group:  click HERE  or on the ads below
>News and Information: Please scroll down the page
Casting announcements: 
The Crucible at the Old Vic will include Richard Armitage and Anna Madeley in the cast. 
Fathers and Sons at the Donmar Warehouse will include in the cast Anthony Calf, Elaine Cassidy, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Susan Engel, Joshua James, Karl Johnson, Tim McMullen, and Seth Numrich (from the Old Vic's Sweet Bird of Youth). 
It was London Theatre's most glamorous night of the year, and for once most of the losers were just as deserving as the winners. The Olivier Awards took over the Royal Opera House, laid the red carpet in the street for maximum viewing of the frocks, and even had performers outside in Covent Garden marketplace to entertain those who didn't have a ticket for the official show.
 Two hours of highlights were shown on tv - the hosts at the Opera House, knowing their audience, welcomed the invited guests in the theatre and "all the women and gay men watching on tv!". And the show was certainly a showcase. There were extracts from all the current West End musicals which featured in the nominations, including Alex Jennings's debut performance as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The starry presenters for each category were a mixture of A-list theatre celebs and.....others. We all had our favourites pencilled in for each award but some nominee lists were so strong that really there could have been four winners for each.  
 Who would want to choose between Hayley Atwell (The Pride), Anna Chancellor (Private Lives), Judi Dench (Peter and Alice), and Lesley Manville (Ghosts) as Best Actress, or between Henry Goodman (Arturo Ui), Tom Hiddleston (Coriolanus), Rory Kinnear (Othello), Jude Law (Henry V) for Best Actor? My own special award goes to Lesley Manville who just overflowed with joy, and enthusiasm for her fellow team-mates, when she picked up her Best Actress statuette. A tired Rory Kinnear showed as much gratitude as he could muster when he won the Best Actor award for being Iago, explaining that he had a three week old son! Both their plays (the Almeida Theatre's Ghosts and the National Theatre's Othello) have featured well in this year's awards season. Last night the Almeida did particularly well winning not only three awards for Ghosts but another five for Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica (including Best New Play, and Best Director for Lyndsey Turner) based around that famous 1989 photo of a lone man with shopping bag confronting a tank in Tiananmen Square.  
 In the Musicals categories, that over-hyped Book of Mormon bagged four awards including Best New Musical (plus mine for the most feeble show-extract at the Opera House). Gavin Creel's Thank You speech (Best Actor in a Musical) was possibly the longest of the evening, and delivered with the same pop-eyed enthusiasm with which he sang the Mormon hit I Believe. I'm always amazed that the musical interludes on awards shows come over as a bit flat. The excerpts from The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and The Book of Mormon were frankly a mess, and Defying Gravity from Wicked doesn't sound any better sung in the open air from a rooftop.  But three cheers for the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Merrily We Roll Along which picked up the award for Best Musical Revival. A lively number from The Scottsboro Boys was a good trailer for its transfer to the West End later in the year where it will be alongside its Mormon award-rival, but not unfortunately as an award winner. 
 Often it's the visiting guests that steal the night on occasions like this. Everyone was pleased to cheer Abba's Benny and Bjorn who appeared in their evening suits to singalong with the '70s-dressed cast of Mamma Mia! in the best show-presentation of the night, but maybe the reaction was more one of muted awe to see a statuesque Bernadette Peters, now 66, carefully finding her way through Sondheim's Losing My Mind.  
You can see a full list of the nominees and winners by clicking HERE. Will next year's trophies be as well deserved? The year has begun well.  
Mike & Fredo   14/04/14 
The lengths we go to! This is a sorry tale but it has a happy ending. It's not always easy to make a group booking for a popular production, and I thought there may be difficulties booking for the new season at the Old Vic. Priority Booking had already been given to their members before General Booking and booking for groups opened, and I guessed the season would be very popular. I wanted to check the best available dates and seats for a group booking for The Crucible so I had to get on line to check their website pronto...just as everyone else was trying to do so too. A message popped up to tell me I was number 3089 in a queue for access, before I could even check any details! I had to stay connected to the website or I would be sent to the back of the queue again. Two and a half hours later I was admitted to the Old Vic website at last. I checked dates, I checked prices, I checked numbers of vacant seats....and then I was timed out and rejected from the website! Grrr.
 The next best option now was to phone the box office instead. That too was likely to be busy. I dialled, I pressed various numbers to get through to the person dealing with group bookings....and then I was put on hold in another queue! No idea this time of how many people were in front. The little jingle kept playing and the recorded voice kept apologising for the wait.....for twenty minutes.  And then the phoneline clicked and the ringing tone began again. It rang and rang and no-one answered. This continued for another ten minutes. I was about to give up, pass out, mutter some well chosen words when....hooray, a real voice answered. The voice sounded not in a good mood, no doubt having dealt with too many other callers already. We were both tired of this whole booking business. 
  But it did all end well. I was offered the number of seats I wanted on the best available date, all Top Price seats, but with some seats included which on another date would have been sold as Premium Seats. I was offered a good discount too. Patience paid off. All that remains is for you to snap up the tickets and I shall know my efforts were worthwhile. 
Mike   09/04/14 
SEE Ticket Price Watch 15/04/14 by clicking HERE
SEE ALSO Ticket Price Watch 19/04/14 by clicking HERE
(A personal anecdote, following a visit to Do I Hear A Waltz?
 As a post-War baby boomer growing up in New York City I became engulfed in the I-love-Europe hysteria that overtook the US film industry starting with An American in Paris in 1952. Suddenly, Europe was exotic and romantic and a whole stream of films were made, mostly with Audrey Hepburn, which made you realise that Europe was where you wanted to be and not in grimy overcrowded New York City. Films such as Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Three Coins in the Fountain and Summertime. This last one starred Katherine Hepburn as the single woman who goes to Venice for excitement, beauty, freedom and, if possible, true love.  
 What all this did to me was to make me fantasise about the glories that would wait for me if I only packed up, left the Big Apple and settled in Paris, Rome or London.  
 Summertime, or Summer Madness in the UK, became the musical Do I Hear A Waltz? (the Group visit was last month) and seeing it again I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia from my formative years. Granted, the sets and staging at Finsbury Park were a bit on the cheap, but my usual critical senses went out the window because of the power of the dream-world that a story like this had created in me all those years ago.  So whatever criticisms people may have had, if you are 100% British there is no way you can imagine what a show and story like this can do to an American’s psyche! Faults aside, I loved it. Happily I can say that 42 years ago I did, in fact, leave New York for the Bad Old World, settled in London and found true love….so the fantasy became a reality to me. 
Howard   04/04/14
Click on the Cat to read Libby's reviews
Theatre News Headlines are brought to you by, the leading UK theatre website, and are automatically updated throughout the day. You will find articles, reviews, interviews - just click on each headline for the full story. 
Alternatively, you can go direct to the WhatsOnStage new website by clicking HERE.
Ticket Price Watch: For updates on higher prices and what the producers want you to pay. We also give you occasional news on any Discount offers -  
Click HERE
Ask us about Theatre Tokens: 
They make ideal gifts for theatre-going friends. They are available in denominations of £20, £10 and £5 and can be used to buy theatre tickets at all West End theatres and the half-price tkts booth in Leicester Square. You can buy them from us and we accept them too. 
Palace Theatre: 4.40  Chalkwell Schools: 4.45  Elms: 4.50 
Thames  Drive: 4.55   Hadleigh: 5.00  Tarpots: 5.15   Five Bells: 5.20 
All shows are evening performances unless matinee times are given (see below) - 
The Winter's Tale (Sat 26/04/14) is a 12noon matinee performance. 
Please note the coach departure times: 
Palace Theatre 9:30am; Chalkwell Schools 9:35; Elms 9:40;  
Thames drive 9:45; Hadleigh Church 9:50; Gt Tarpots 9:55 
King Lear (Sun 18/05/14)  is a 2.00pm matinee performance. 
Please note the coach departure times: 
Palace Theatre: 11:30am, Chalkwell Schools 11:35; Elms 11:40;  
Thames Drive 11:45; Hadleigh 11:50; Gt Tarpots 11:55 
Royal Ballet Triple Bill (26/05/14) is a 7.00pm performance. 
Please note coach departure times: 
Palace Theatre 4.00pm; Chalkwell Schools 4:05; Elms 4:10;  
Thames Drive 4:15; Hadleigh 4:20; Gt Tarpots 4:25 
Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be (Sun 01/06/14) is a 3.00pm matinee performance. 
Please note coach departure times: 
Palace Theatre 12.00 noon; Chalkwell Schools 12.05; Elms 12.10; 
Thames Drive 12.15; Hadleigh Ch.:12.20; Gt Tarpots 12.25. 
Buy theatre tickets in advance and the curtain rises on countless pleasures, but wait for other options and the curtain falls on opportunity.  
Old West End Proverb