However, when what was essentially the same production was on in Plymouth last Christmas, top-price tickets were £42.50 – little more than a sixth of that amount – showing that it’s not just houses that people have to pay much more for in London.
It was only a few months ago that London’s most expensive theatre ticket broke through the £200 barrier. The Guardian reported in June that premium seats to see The Book of Mormon were being sold for £202.25 each on the theatre’s own ticketing website, while Elf, which opens at the Dominion Theatre on 24 October, was charging up to £214 a ticket.
However, the producers of Elf have now introduced a more expensive premium ticket price band on certain dates: £240 a seat, which includes a £15 per ticket fee for online and phone bookings.
A family of four opting for the “very best” seats in the central blocks of the stalls at the matinee or evening performance on 19 or 21 December, for example, would face a bill just £40 shy of £1, 000.
The show’s website says it is recommended for those over the age of four, but there is no mention of any cheaper tickets for children.
What will raise eyebrows in some quarters is the fact that it is essentially the same show that played in Plymouth in December 2014 – the Dominion’s website acknowledges this by stating that it is a “a Theatre Royal Plymouth production” – with largely the same cast (the London version adds Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh), yet the pricing is in a different league.
In Plymouth, tickets were priced from £15 to £42.50, with cheaper tickets for under-16s on some nights, whereas in London the cheapest seats are £51.80, with premium tickets starting at £97.40.
The producers of Elf told the Guardian: “Ticket prices are set according to the commercial terms and budgets for the show. These prices, like all things, will fluctuate depending on supply and demand.
“If tickets are not selling for a particular performance, shows tend to discount through the various outlets and box office, but if demand is high and supply is limited – as in the case of Elf – then inevitably prices will remain constant or, indeed, increase. This of course also allows the show to reduce prices where supply is greater than the demand in order to maximise the audience numbers of each performance – for example, we have reduced ticket prices for schools and for groups.”
They added: “Elf is a large-budget show with only a 10-week run in the West End, and we have been delighted with the interest shown in this London premiere run.”