Regular visitors to the Apollo Victoria will know that you cannot buy the front row seats to Wicked London in advance; they are only available from 10am on the day of the show. This has led to the phenomenon known as dayseaters. This system is also at place at several other London shows but the Wicked dayseaters are particularly “notorious” and are frequently discussed at length on internet message boards. When Kerry Ellis left Wicked people set up camp on the pavement for several days (or was it weeks? Months?) to secure the elusive front row seats. At least that was in May so temperatures weren’t too low but had it been freezing cold icy temperatures I don’t think that would have been enough to deter them!
Living far away from London , dayseating is not really an option for me. I did do it once though, and this is that story…
Last June I decided what could be better than taking a Wednesday off work and getting an overnight coach to London? Not only would I miss a team meeting (admitedly, always a bonus) but it was an understudy-fest at the AV; with Danny Mac on as Boq and Stevie Tate Bauer on as Nessarose. I boarded the coach with some trepidation for my first experience of dayseating but I had my mp3 player and a nice packed lunch to keep me company.
Arriving into Victoria Coach station at around 6:30am I thought it was a little early to join the queue, I didn’t want to appear too eager/sad/obsessed* you see (* delete as appropriate) so I concentrated on trying to wake myself up with copious amounts of black coffee. At around 7am (a far more respectable time…) I made my way to join the queue and quite frankly I was disappointed!! Where were the obsessed fans with sleeping bags and tents that had been here all night? Where was the random loony with their face painted green? Where were the fangirls with their photo albums? This lot (all four of them) appeared to be normal, respectable members of society. Gutted! I sat myself down on the cold concrete ground, giving a little nod to the person in front of me and waited. Early risers were walking past on their way to work, most hardly looking at the hardy soles sat on the dirty street. Others glanced over with quizzical looks in their eye. Looks of
sympathy? Looks of amusement? Probably a bit of both. Victoria is always very busy with lots going on and lots of people watching to do which was good as nobody in the queue was saying anything. I expected us to become lifelong friends; to bond whilst talking about our favourite Standbys or our favourite show bloopers but this did not happen… Most were by themselves getting tickets for themselves and friends, or were tourists who had heard about the Wicked phenomenon and fancied checking it out for themselves. Several people were getting tickets for both the matinee and the evening show. The same seat for both. I don’t get that. If you are doing both shows why not mix it up a bit? One on the left and one on the right? Or else the poor cast will think they are going through their very own version of Groundhog Day.
Eventually it got to ten o’clock and the box office opened so we could get our tickets. Well, we could pay for our tickets. The computer was broken so they couldn’t print our tickets off, and just had to write our name and our allocated seat number on a piece of paper. This was no good for me as a serial worrier. What if the paper was lost? What if there was some sabotage? Thankfully, a couple of hours later I finally had the tickets in my hand and I could relax and breathe a sign of relief. My experience of dayseating? It’s not for me, I just haven’t got the patience.