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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Donkeys' YearsI booked two tickets yesterday for 'Donkeys' Years', a play by Michael Frayn which is coming to the Theatre Royal in Brighton next week. It stars Norman Pace out of Hale & Pace, Pike out of Dad's Army, and the woman who said "Lovely" in the Philadelphia ads. Now, obviously I'm willing to pay top dollar to see actors of that calibre performing in my home town, but by the time I'd entered my credit card details and clicked 'Pay', I did feel like I'd been the victim of some kind of mugging.

For a start, the ticket price is £25. If you want to sit at the back, half a mile from the stage, behind a couple of pillars, then they're willing to knock two quid off that, but otherwise you're stuck with it. The Thursday matinee is cheaper, but firstly some of us have to work for a living (not me, obviously, but some of us), and secondly it's already booked up.

So I grudgingly slapped down my metaphorical cash, only to be told that there's also a booking fee of £2 per ticket. Putting the price up to £27. Fair enough you might think (although if you do, I'd like a word with you), but having contributed an extra £4 to cover the cost of 'booking', and pay for a couple of drinks at the staff Christmas party, I was then informed that there's also a 'restoration levy' of £1. Per ticket. And it's compulsory. Oh yes, we're now expected to pay for the theatre to be redecorated.

So faced with a charge of £28 each for my £25 tickets, I finally entered my name, address and credit card details whilst mentally composing a letter of complaint to my old mate Julien Boast and contemplating the possibility of slashing a few seats when I get there, just to get my money's worth out of the restoration levy. At which point this came up: "Extra - Web Transaction Charge - £2.50".

So on top of paying for the tickets, covering the cost of booking, and funding the complete renovation of the toilets, I also have to pay extra for booking online. WHY??? Surely that saves them money? Unless they're paying their ticket office staff so little that it actually costs more to run a computer. I wouldn't mind, but I've now got no money left for an interval ice cream.