Review of "Sadler's Wells Theatre"

published 07/07/2001 | Ariel
Member since : 26/07/2000
Reviews : 113
Members who trust : 15
About me :
Pro Good accoustics, and even 'restricted view' seats give a reasonable view
Cons Can be a little difficult to find the first time.
very helpful
Acoustics/Sound engineering
Price of food & drink
Quality of food & drink
Access by public transport
Parking facilities

"An appropriately magical venue"

Most famous as a ballet venue, this theatre also hosts a broad range of theatre, and musical events (Japanese Kabuki, Cirque Éloize, various tribal drum groups, a musical of The Twits etc). However, I have only seen ballets here, from several touring companies. This is my favourite venue to see dance acts, because the venue doesn't overshadow the perofrmance.

Located near Angel Islington they are a little out of the centre, but only a short, well sign-posted walk from the tube, or a short bus ride from Oxford Street. They also offer a special express bus service to (I think) Victoria and Waterloo at the end of performances to help you get home quickly. There are lots of eateries nearby if you wanted to make an evening of your trip as well.

Booking online ( is occasionally frustrating (it's won't let you book seats with a restricted view, but doesn't tell you *why* it won't accept the booking) but their telephone staff are very helpful, and adept at finding the best value seats for hard pressed student types. The website is, however, a good source of information, along with their occasional mail shots.

Speaking of cheap seats, the very cheapest are amazingly good value - Stalls stools are normally only £8 or £7, and provided you don't have a back problem (the seats are literally stools, and you'll be twisting your neck to one side for the whole show), have a surprisingly good view. Thanks to the staff's consideration with regard to upgrading folks from the cheap seats when there are unsold seats elsewhere, I can also say that the more expensive seats are very comfy, and give an excellent view. This is a very modern seeming theatre (no red and guilt cherubs here!) designed with acoustics and the demands of a modern audience in mind.

In terms of other facilities, the bars are only as expensive as you might expect a London theatre to be, and the cloakroom, while busy, is affordable and efficient. Programmes etc are the responsibility of the various touring companies, and quality and price vary widely. The theatre shop sells all sorts of tie-ins to the performances, from recordings to t-shirts and mugs.

The split level halls and bars are used as an opportunity to exhibit a few pieces of contemporary art - last time I was there it was some very attractive video installations.

But my favourite little finishing touch of any venue, are the Spirits of Saddlers Well. A small plaque telling the story of the original spring that the building is said to stand on announces a small glass circle into the ground, tucked away in a corner. Drop a coin into the well, and watch what happens - I won't spoil the surprise, only assure you that I always make sure I have a handful of change when I'm at the theatre!

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Comments on this review

  • starsally published 13/03/2003
    It truly is a magical place. Sal x
  • LostWitness published 07/07/2001
    I shall have to visit now - if only to chuck a coin in the well! Great opinion! :O)
  • leahslad published 07/07/2001
    Mental note to remember that handful of change :) Steve
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Listed on Ciao since: 07/07/2001