As someone who has memberships with the National and the Almeida I can explain the reason why. Simply it is because I am fussy about where I sit and by having priority booking it gives me a much better chance of getting the seat I want. I am also limited as to when I can see productions. So I like to get in early to avoid disappointment.However I haven't found it necessary for the Donmar.
Today's matinee 2/3rds full and having seats in the back row moved to row G. ( Never quite understood why people hate this theatre so much). The play is one of the best I've seen this year. the performances, staging and set are very impressive. I might just have to go and see it again.
I saw this yesterday in a 1/4 full auditorium. I've never seen the Olivier so empty. I was willing to give this production the benefit of doubt but unfortunately it really is bad. Felt as sorry for the cast as I did for the audience. Also I think John Inman would have made a more menacing Enrico.
I caught this at Watford earlier in the tour and I thoroughly enjoyed it, having no knowledge of the original. In fact it prompted me to download a translation to try and work out who the bricklayer was supposed to be and what part he played in the whole story. I'm afraid I'm none the wiser. Perhaps someone a bit brighter than me who has seen other versions can shine some light.
So far I have enjoyed everything that I have seen from Headlong and I'm looking forward to seeing The Effect next year. Also they are producing a version of The Seagull to tour next year.