I came out of a matinee today at the Vaudeville to find that bus routes to take me from the Strand back across the river had been suspended: there was a fire in Holborn (see inset), and none were operating. After a few minutes, a bus arrived that was going as far as Waterloo — so I jumped on board that to get me part of the way. On the other side of Waterloo Bridge, it got held up in traffic — just as the northbound lanes of the bridge were being shut off.
Oops. It looked like a controlled kind of chaos was about to hit the West End. And as ever, it seemed that Twitter was providing (some of) the answers. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tweeted, “Due to incident at Holborn, tonight’s 7.30pm performance of @CharlieChoc_UK has been CANCELLED.” On The Lion King’s website, they posted this update at 16:22: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have been left with no option than to cancel this evening’s performance.”
I was due to return to town tonight to catch the Royal Opera’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. I checked the Opera House website where it told me, “The scheduled Royal Opera performance of Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny on 1 April 2015 will go ahead, although due to some loss of power at Holborn, we are unable to provide any bar or restaurant services tonight.”
Its curious how Drury Lane has “no option” to cancel whereas the Opera House, just a minute away, seems to be able to go ahead, albeit without catering. But then perhaps its less surprising when you realise that the Opera House is tonight broadcasting its performance live to cinemas around the UK…..
Best twitter update has to go to The Play That Goes Wrong, across the street from Drury Lane: “It may seem like an April Fool’s joke (and you know what we’re like!), but tonight’s performance is most definitely cancelled #sorry”
But I’m confused why the Society of London Theatres — the member organisation who, after all, should be best place to provided exactly this kind of information in a co-ordinated way — isn’t doing so, with their website merely reporting at 4.55pm, “A number of theatres have been affected by the electrical fire in Holborn and the surrounding areas. The current advice for anyone with tickets for a performance tonight in the West End is to call the box office directly.”