Bridge Theatre

896 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2020

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Reasons for trip

As well as not being able to travel because of Covid-19, I’ve also missed my regular visits to the London theatres. So, when I spotted in the Sunday Times that the “Bridge Theatre”: (probably London’s newest) was opening with twelve of Alan Bennet’s one-person plays, Talking Heads, I immediately checked out the website. I was delighted to find that opening the series was one of my favourite actors, Ralph Fiennes, in a new 50-minute long, Covid-19 related play, Beat the Devil.

To ensure visitor safety, capacity is limited to 250 people performance and booking a single seat wasn’t easy as they were in socially isolated blocks of 1, 2 or 3 to avoid leaving odd seats. However, after a bit of searching I found a single seat in the gallery running around the stalls. Although ticket prices ranged from £10 to £30, I had to pay top price.

A text the day before confirmed my visit, provided a QR code to the ticket, told me to arrive between 4.30pm and 4.45pm and suggested ordering drinks in advance.

On arrival, there was a short orderly queue, but I’d quickly had my ticket checked, sanitised my hands and had my temperature taken.

Although on previous visits, the bar was open to the public and therefore usually packed, it was now ticket holders only and very quiet.

The main stalls were amazing with every other row removed and some seats taken out to create the blocks of 1, 2 or 3 seats. This meant leg room was extensive and there was no having to push past people on the row. On the gallery around the stalls, some seats had been removed, but mine was in the middle of a block of three which I had to myself.

Face coverings had to be worn and just before the metaphorical ‘curtain up’, I spotted people being reminded that they needed to cover mouth and nose.

Ralph was on good form and the monologue dealt with his character’s experience of dealing with Covid-19, which apparently meant that everything he ate or drank tasted like sewage. There were the inevitable digs at the Government and President Trump’s handling of the crisis and as it was thought provoking, sad and wry at the same time, it was over all too soon.

I had expected to be marshalled out in order, but possibly because of the limited numbers, we simply all filed out in an adult manner via the bowels of the theatre.

This was my first experience back in the theatre and there are changes: 50-minute one person plays, no bag searches, programmes or interval ice creams. However, I’m full of admiration for how the theatre has adapted to ensure everyone’s safety and as Ralph is now sold out, I hope that this means it will recoup some of its inevitable lockdown losses.

Sadly, Ralph is now sold out, despite some of the rather negative press reviews!

Helen Jackson

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