Post by eternallypeggy on Jan 16, 2020 18:34:38 GMT
I used to go to West End Live every year years ago – I hope to go again someday, but I’ve heard that it’s become incredibly crowded (someone I know said you have to get there super early in the morning to even get in?) – how bad are the crowds now?
When I went in 2017, I got to London for about 10.30, joined the queue for 11.00, and got in at 12.00 just in time for the first show's performance. However, it's grown in popularity so much since then that it's supposed to be horrendous now, you're looking at much earlier starts and lengthy queues. It's a great day, but prepare to wait. A lot.
I arrived in London at 10:00 and got to Trafalgar Square for like 10:15 I think and I joined the queue I think it was A and I gave up and went to the theatre cafe. I came back at like 11:00 and joined this queue and I was just outside trafalgar square I got in for the second performance and had such a great time without queuing from really early. But if you want to be near the front get there early. I think Sundays are quieter
The ‘big guns’ of the WE(such as Phantom and Les Mis) usually get the Saturday slots simply because I guess it would be unfair for actors in shows that don’t do a Sunday matinee to haul themselves into London on their day off to do a 15 minute set in costume.Obviously those with a Saturday matinee will appear on the Saturday morning. Sunday’s tend to be solo acts,stage schools,shows that are yet to launch,but are seeking publicity and those with Sunday matinee shows(such as Lion King)and the like,I believe. We are making a weekend of it this year and making a very early start on both days.
The queues etc are something I'm quite exercised about as you will see! Last year I gave up and stood on the pavement by St Martin in the Fields, it was horrendous. The previous year I queued from Piccadilly Circus weaving through all the little streets down to Pall Mall. The queue is extremely poorly managed so once you start being let in new people join (some blatant queue jumpers, some oblivious) just before you go into the square itself. They always also start another queue in some random place just as they start letting people in so the people lucky enough to be in whatever place that starts at the right time waltz right in without queuing at all. I seem to remember that last time I started queuing a couple of hours before it opened and got in for about the 3rd performance. Last year though it looked like they had pretty much held the queue and stopped letting people in by that point.
For people going to the National Gallery or whatever it's impossible to walk past the gallery to get to the entrance. Last year people were sitting and standing on the raised crossing islands in the middle of the road and there is absolutely no one around telling them to move. I just don't think it's safe anymore having it in such a small and enclosed area. Once you're actually in the square itself it's fine, but the queuing and people who stand outside because they don't want to queue are a real issue. I would absolutely love it if it moved to Hyde Park but I have no idea how realistic that is.
Having attended last years WEL,( my last one was when it was in Leicester Square) my own experience was that even getting to Trafalgar Square at 8.30am on the Saturday morning, the queues waiting to get into the main stage area were horrific. One queue stretched right back down from Trafalgar Square into Haymarket. I quickly decided to abandon my attempt of getting into the main area and join the much shorter queue to get into the side section by Canada House where you could watch the performances on a big screen. As it went, It was a great way to watch the performances as you had somewhere to sit (deckchairs provided) or you could lean against the side walls under the trees (which is what I did as it was a very warm day). There was a great party atmosphere with everyone singing along and in great spirits. As I had booked a matinee show at the Trafalgar studios it was also easy to get out of the square without trying to get through the crowds.
The Sunday event was far more easier to get into the main stage area. I arrived again at 8.30am with a short queue already formed. Thankfully I managed to get a seat on one of the benches where I stayed for a good few hours.
A crazy but tiring weekend with doing a double show day as well, but I managed to get to see all the shows I wanted. Fantastic performances from both the current west end stars and those potential future West End performers.