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“Awful Place For The Symphony” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall
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London by Night Independent Sightseeing Tour with Private Driver
Ranked #265 of 1,568 things to do in London
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Kyoto, Japan
Level Contributor
161 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 309 helpful votes
“Awful Place For The Symphony”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2012

I had been really looking forward to seeing the London Philharmonic Orchestra here and it was a huge let-down. I should have known better when the tickets were so cheap. I even asked the woman on the phone why it was so inexpensive to see a symphony in the best seats and she laughed and assured me that it was top notch. I paid only about 150 Pounds for 3 seats in the best box over-looking the violins. She had suggested that specific box for the Mozart symphony. I would not get one ticket for that price in Japan but I trusted the woman because she had been very friendly and helpful.

Walking into that place was shocking. It was a warm evening in March so there were crowds of people everywhere. It seemed like we were walking into a cheesy multiplex cinema within a low-grade shopping mall with throngs of people. There were people sitting all over the floors with notebooks/ laptops in order to get free wifi, I assume. That made it seem like an airport terminal.

The people attending the symphony were dressed for picnics in the park. Not at all a classy crowd. Jeans and T-shirts are okay so if you want a cheap night out and then be able to say that you saw the symphony when you were in London then this is the place for you. You can also drink from plastic cups during the intermission and munch on potato chips/crisps from a bag.

During the symphony, we heard dishes crash in the distance. The sound was muffled but it was still there. My friends and I looked at each other and almost started laughing out loud. Shortly after that, we heard laughing from the outside as well. We heard outbursts of laughter three times. Perhaps the ushers hang out just beyond the doors? Or there is a catering service of some sort that has people hustling trays of food back there. Maybe for the mall-like food court?

It was a pretty disappointing evening symphony-wise but my friends and I had fun with every surprise. If you are used to world-class venues with world-class symphonies then you should skip seeing the LPO at Festival Hall. I am hoping that the London Symphony Orchestra has a better place to perform. This does not come close to where the Chicago Symphony can be seen. It cannot compare to the Warsaw Symphony in Poland. Smetana Hall in Prague would also put this place to shame. Even the Hyogo PAC Orchestra in Nishinomiya, Japan would embarrass this poor excuse of a performing arts center.

There are many other venues around the world much better than Royal Festival Hall so if you actually know something about them, do not even bother going here unless you know what to expect.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank kobekeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Oswestry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Wonderful surprise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 March 2012

Decided on the spur of the moment to see if there were seats for a concert on the night of our arrival in London and found that the Philharmonia Orchestra were performing two favourite Beethoven symphonies [ Nos 1 and 3 ] and a modern violin concerto, unknown to us, by Unsuk Chin. What a thrilling evening we had. The violin concerto was brilliantly played by Viviane Hagner, taking us on a magical journey and despite the huge variety of percussion and 7 percussionists, it was a delicate and moving piece. Later, conductor Esa Pekka Salonen's enthusiasm leadership breathed new life into the Eroica. An excellent venue with a superb resident orchestra.

Visited March 2012
Thank iwlace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey, England
Level Contributor
138 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Super venue”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 January 2012

A brilliant venue with great facilities both inside and outside.

Thank Ecosse Claire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Slava Snow Show...or for some: No Show”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2012

We went to the Slava Snow Show last night. We bought mid range (£37.50) tickets in the rear stalls.
Having read good reviews and anticipating an exciting and rich show it was a shame to be let down.
Its fair to say that at 30min for Part 1 and the same for Part 2 the show is criminally short for the money you pay to see it (be aware a top price ticket is £47.50).
The action and "clowning" is minimal, Sure there are some pretty looking visuals but that is all. No thread of a story and "set piece" scenes are too short and dare I say lazy.
If you have a top price seat in the centre section of the lower stalls you will have a great time as pretty much all the action / interaction focuses on this area. For everyone else you are pretty much left out and are spectators.
In fact the most entertaining parts (only 2) are where you the audience either pass an enormous web over your heads or bounce numerous balls about...all while the paid peformers have left the stage...or stand aound waiting for you to twig that its the end of the show and its time to leave. And that again only applies if you are sat in certain parts of the auditorium.
I should point out that my partner and I are seasoned theatre industry professionals and are well aware of what is required to stage a show like Slava. And it is with that background as well as seeing the show that I would say avoid it. Its nigh on robbery if you are not in the aforementioned best seats.
Pay the same and go and see a good musical or something. If you have kids go find other childrens theatre to see. You are less likely to part with £100-200 for 60mins of poor to average entertainment.
Its a real shame as the Festival Hall is usually a venue where you can expect good solid performances of any nature that dont leave you feeling as if you have just been robbed and slightly insulted.

Visited January 2012
34 Thank patarafan65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sevenoaks, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
151 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“The South Bank was in full swing with Slava!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 December 2011

Last week we came up to the Christmas Market which was wonderful, very pretty, lots of interesting and unusual things on sale. The Christmas lighting was lovely. The food market was good too. We had a coffee in Eat and then ice skated under the London Eye. I hadn't been to the Southbank in years and was amazed at how vibrant it seemed, the new Hungerford Bridge is lovely and there are now so many places to eat and shop. Today we have been up to see the magical Slava's Snow Show which was as wonderful as the first time I saw it 4 years ago. Everyone should see this show! Also had my Mum in her wheelchair - very easy especially due to the service from Southeastern Trains who showed up with ramps at all the pre-booked moments. Great day.

Visited December 2011
3 Thank Diesel1Dog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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