Friday, 16 August 2013

Theatre Royal, Norwich

The show we saw
Knowing that I have wanted to see him for years now, my boyfriend bought me tickets to see Derren Brown for Valentine’s Day earlier this year. Unfortunately though, we had to wait until the middle of June until we could actually go to the show at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.

The Theatre Royal is located in the city centre of Norwich, which is easily accessible by bus, car and train. Although there is no parking at the theatre itself, there are plenty of parking options nearby. If you are coming to the theatre from the train station, you can look to take about a 20-25 minute walk. What I like about this theatre is that it is really easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in the centre of Norwich.

As you walk up to the theatre, it doesn’t exactly look like much in comparison to other Theatre Royals, such as the one in Nottingham which does look very impressive. The theatre is a very long building which, on first appearances, could look like any row of shops on a high street if it wasn’t for the show posters outside. In the day time especially, it would be quite easy to walk past the theatre if you didn’t know where you were going. However, at night time with the outside all lit up, it does look much better but with light evenings in the summer, I didn’t get to see this until after the show was finished.

Walking inside the theatre lobby didn’t have the best first impressions either really. As you walk in, there are elevators to the right and ticket desk to the left. Also on the right are stairs heading up to the circle level. Following the corridor to the left will take you to the refreshments counter, customer toilets and the bar, as well as another set of stairs to the circle level. Even though the lobby was quite plain looking, the downstairs bar was very nicely decorated and had a great atmosphere once filled with a fair amount of people. Upstairs, there is another refreshments counter and toilets as well as areas to sit and stand around whilst waiting for your show to start.

It isn’t until you get into the actual seating area of the theatre that it becomes more impressive. This particular theatre is split into two sections; the stalls in the lower section and the circle in the higher. We had seats about 8 rows into the circle section and before getting there, I was worried about the view I was going to have. However, the seats in the circle are nicely placed so that each row is slightly higher than the one below it. Even with these kinds of seats, they can still be too close together meaning if you have someone really tall in front of you, they can block your view. This, luckily, was definitely not the case at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.

Our view
From our seats, we had a fantastic view of the stage. Derren Brown’s ‘Infamous’ wasn’t the kind of show that had a big screen behind him like some do so that people right at the back can see better. However, from our seats in the circle, we had a perfect view and we could see everything that was going on. There were a couple of parts of the show that were a little trickier so a projection was used during these times but it still wasn’t the size of the back of the stage. In front of most seats in the circle are binoculars which can be rented for 50p if you are having trouble seeing the stage though.

Another thing to mention about the seating is the comfort. ‘Infamous’ was nearly two hours long but I was extremely comfortable staying in my seat for the whole show. The seats were also plenty big enough/ wide enough and they were very easy to relax in. Some other theatres have tiny seats that look and feel worn out but these seats were in perfect condition.

Although we didn’t use all of the facilities, the theatre does also have a café which serves lunch and dinner before evening shows. These tables can be booked in advance and meals begin from 5pm. Your table will also be reserved throughout the show in case you want to sit there during the interval or have dessert during this time. I did have a look at the menu online and the prices were more than what I would be willing to pay. For a burger and chips, you would be looking at £12. We chose to go to Wetherspoons not too far away as it is a much cheaper and quick option.

Overall, although the outside of the theatre doesn’t look impressive, the actual theatre and seating areas are. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time watching Derren Brown and I would definitely go back to the Theatre Royal, Norwich to see something else.

Theatre Street

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