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woodpusher

Member Since 20 Mar 2008
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In Topic: Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

21 December 2013 - 11:20 AM

View Posttheatremole, on 21 December 2013 - 10:27 AM, said:

'Curious...' will do fine. I very much doubt this will have any negative impacts on the audience, it'll probably increase sales for a bit (all that extra publicity and I'm never surprised about how people react to unfortunate events). I would have thought the NT would actually save a bit of cash now as Nimax's insurers will be the ones paying the running costs over Christmas so they'll save on the rent, rig hire, paying everyone... and I'm sure the cast & tech staff are looking forward to getting the Christmas period off (every cloud as a silver lining, as they say!)

I would have thought that any show now not transferring because of this was looking for an excuse because they couldn't really afford it or they knew they weren't going to recoup their costs.

If everyone gets a nice break then who gets the building back and running?  What you call an excuse is a Commercial decision.  There really are some funny ideas about the West End floating around here.  It is a business to make money.  Do you think Mamma Mia or Thriller is all about the art?

Two shows so I'm off to work.

In Topic: Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

21 December 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PostMatthew Winn, on 21 December 2013 - 06:38 AM, said:

You seem to have missed the point of what I was saying. I should probably have put quotes around the final eight words of my earlier comment to indicate that they should be read as if coming from a press release.

I wasn't saying anything about the reasons why a show actually closes. I was referring to the fact that if a struggling show closes for almost any reason shortly after some newsworthy event that might put audiences off, some producers leap on the realisation that they can attribute the closure to the idea that the event did put people off and thereby avoid having to mention anything about the fact that immediately prior to the event the production was only just breaking even despite having exhausted its advertising budget. In other words, they use the event as a face-saving way of doing what they would have had to do anyway.

You've described PR.  Well done.  I'd guess that any producer using other peoples' money (as most do) might prefer to mitigate media exposure of any loss or failure to recoup from a production that might not have been good/commercial enough.  After all, they'll need some more investors soon enough.

When has the capitalistic business world of commercial theatre been stricken by pangs of honesty?  It runs on euphemisms and double talk.

PR nonsense, dubiously edited crits and all the euphemism should be a thread in its own right.

In Topic: Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

21 December 2013 - 01:30 AM

View PostJon, on 21 December 2013 - 01:02 AM, said:

Can a theatre owners simply kick out a show even if it was doing good business, may explain shows that transfer like Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia! even though neither were doing bad although in the case of Mamma Mia! the transfer was announced well in advanced.

Oh the naivity...  Mamma Mia did very good business in the 1650 seater Prince Edward but nothing lasts for ever.  It now does nice business in the 1100 seater Novello.  A show's break point will normally be expressed in a percentage of house; let's say 45% break.  45% of 1100 is lower than 45% or 1650.  An 1100 seater on the Aldwych will be cheaper to rent than 1650 seats on Old Compton St.  Perhaps Mamma Mia gets a few less punters than it did so a cheaper production makes financial sense and means it might run a bit longer.

As for shows getting kicked out: did no-one watch the Sound of Musicals?  Poor Kenny Wax's post-Olivier elation popped by the announcement of Top Hat 'making way' for Stephen Ward.  Could Ken have transferred Top Hat?  If he could find an identically specced theatre he could transfer paying only for the get-out/ get-in/ trucking/ production staff/ re-light/ publicity etc. - a fair old wad needed.  If he could only find a very different theatre (as would be realistic) then add a redesign, re-choreograph etc. for even more money.  Would it be viable?  Would all that expense be recouped?

Alternatively;even if a show wasn't doing so well it might get to stay on for a bit, perhaps the owner might offer a substantial rent reduction to fill the gap until they find something else. Perhaps the owner might like the show's nifty lights and sound rig for One-off concerts or a daytime kids show?

As for Chicago; well how long does a show need to grind on for?   Ute Lemper was a very very long time ago.

Phantom, Les Mis (albeit scaled down and moved) yes they're still grinding on.  Are they clogging up good houses and keeping out something newer if not better (not hard IMO)?  They both make lots of money in West End COMMERCIAL Theatre (to give it its full name) and provide shelter for those loons who are proud to have seen both 319 times.

I'm glad I'm not a producer and also glad no-one on this forum is either.

I am appalled at myself for rambling on and getting very off topic. I am drunk - I am techie. Excuse me whilst I knock one out over the Flints catalogue.

Back to the Apollo now please.

In Topic: Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

21 December 2013 - 12:53 AM

View PostMatthew Winn, on 20 December 2013 - 09:49 PM, said:

Colour me cynical but I can't help suspecting that there may be a certain amount of opportunistic seizing on this as an excuse for dropping plans that were running into trouble anyway. There's a similar effect whenever there's a terrorist attack anywhere, or when the Olympics were on: suddenly every closure is attributed to the events of the time and has absolutely nothing to do with lack of popularity.

There's pretty much three reasons a show will close: it's not making enough money.  Limited run (ie hire contract is up).  The owner wishes to get another producer/show in (again hire expires).

Runs can be unnaturally dragged out for inexplicable reasons but is rare (how much did Paint Never Dries lose again?)

How would a production be "in trouble" but popular? That's almost mutually exclusive.

I'll colour you cynical if you fancy.  What do you want?  Green? Pink?  An Old Compton St rainbow special?

In Topic: Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

21 December 2013 - 12:18 AM

9/11 did have a dramatic effect on West End audience numbers for whatever reason.  My show back then - a very successful play - dropped from 95% weekly av. to 30%.  It closed.

The Olympics was also a very real factor.  Blood Bros, for instance, had a very consistant advance over it's long run.  Every July was much the same as the one before.  The Olympic period was way down on the same period in any preceding year.  You get the picture.

This is very different and I have every hope that Curious Incident will resume performances early in the new year.  The company will still be under contract so will, frankly, come back when they are told.  The staff FoH and RoH have a lot of work ahead of them to get the house and show back and running in a short space of time.  I would guess many people will be gainfully employed on what is a pretty mammoth task.

Since the media has only really reported endless accounts from punters looking for their 15 minutes, I hope you will spare a thought for the staff - who are naturally very shaken and upset - and don't talk to the media (even in the face of some pretty vulture-like behaviour from the Fourth Estate).  They just get on with it.

Curious is a hugely complex installation of hydraulics, fibre optics, AV, computerisation, sound, lighting etc that was custom built for the Apollo.  You don't just transfer it or any show of that calibre.   Transfers potentially programmed for 2014 may have reservations until the effect (if any) is seen on current sales.  I'd predict a small dip but not a slump; but box isn't my end of things so what do I know.  January's never the busiest month any which way.

I'm a woodpusher of some decades standing.  I know all the Avenue houses very well and wouldn't dream of speculating as to the cause.  Let's keep it real, people.