The National Theatre
The National Theatre London Reviews
The National Theatre Apr 27, 2010
The National Theatre is a theatre complex on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Embankment station. It is part of the bonkers concrete sprawl of arts buildings that also includes the South Bank centre and National Film Theatre. I’m going to try to review the theatre rather than any play I’ve seen. But in terms of what the theatre shows, it focuses on drama or comedy-drama rather than West End shows, with a balance of classics, little known works by well known authors (for e.g. early Tennessee Williams plays) and new works. The standards are normally extremely high.
As a National theatre, tickets are very reasonably priced. There are often tickets available for about £10, although I’ve had more luck by phone than online for that. There are also special deals for people under 25 years old.
Although at first glance ugly, the buildings are very striking examples of mid twentieth century architecture, and allows much nicer lobby space than most theatres north of the river. This means that there is loads of light in the atriums, and there are often art exhibitions and musical performances in the front of house area. There are also bars that you can actually get served at, which is a bonus, and a nice bookshop – and in the interval, they don’t even seem to have long queues for the ice cream (note to non-Brits – apparently, not all of you share the tradition of eating ice cream in theatres – I’ve spoken to people who think it is a mad idea. Ice cream in theatres is important. I can’t explain why. But it is).
There are also frequently interesting things going on outside the theatre, especially in summer – free performances, Oxfam appeals, random art installations, that sort of thing. So it is often a good idea on a summer evening to just kind of wander along the river and see what’s going on. It attracts pretty cool buskers too.
Worth a look!
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