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The "new" Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


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I had to go and try these loos after reading all this..and entirely agree with the points above- just poor design. But, they were clean and maintained and there are a lot of them. Still better than most theatres...

 

It was disconcerting to find the bench seating in the  amphi bar already full with a big party encamped with bags etc when we came out of the performance (Solomon)  in the interval this evening. I was hoping this wasn't going to happen. It does seem a bit unfair on people who have bought tickets.

Downstairs on the ground floor in 'Big Benugos' was an absolute orgy of picnicking on M&S snacks and people even had their own bottles of wine ( no wonder with the ROH prices now) so perhaps ROH are not selling as many sandwiches as they had hoped. For some reason the atmosphere was far from festive and in fact  a bit depressing.

Lack of bag checks is also having the effect that people are bringing enormous amounts of stuff into the auditorium- a bit odd after all the fuss so recently about not being allowed to bring anything at all!

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Mary said:

I had to go and try these loos after reading all this..and entirely agree with the points above- just poor design. But, they were clean and maintained and there are a lot of them. Still better than most theatres...

 

Have I moaned about the total lack of plugs for the washbasins?  I know it's trendy and all, but occasionally you do want to be able to put a plug in a washbasin and run some water into it.  Your only option here, it seems, is to block the drainage slot with towels!

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11 hours ago, Mary said:

Downstairs on the ground floor in 'Big Benugos' was an absolute orgy of picnicking on M&S snacks and people even had their own bottles of wine ( no wonder with the ROH prices now) so perhaps ROH are not selling as many sandwiches as they had hoped. For some reason the atmosphere was far from festive and in fact  a bit depressing.

 

 

Not having visited the "new" ROH yet, I am utterly baffled by this. How on earth are people being allowed to bring their own food and drinks into a cafe?  

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

 

Not having visited the "new" ROH yet, I am utterly baffled by this. How on earth are people being allowed to bring their own food and drinks into a cafe?  

Well noone seems to be stopping them at the moment.....It isn't really a cafe, it's actually- had almost forgotten- the new foyer of the Opera House. The space downstairs has a cafe bar selling drinks and snacks, but people are able to come in and sit there any time, without having to buy anything.

 

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Well, it seems the Open Up campaign has succeeded in providing a free picnic area for anybody who happens to be passing.  How nice of the ROH to do that, very thoughtful of them.  Presumably people can access the toilets as well?  Useful to know where free public toilets can be located while you are out and about.

 

I often meet people in the various places at the South Bank  Both the Festival Hall and the National Theatre are very convenient for after work get togethers. Occasionally, I have very discreetly eaten my own sandwich.  But I don't think I have never seen anybody openly drinking their own alcohol.  

 

 

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I think anyone could have told the ROH that it would just become a picnic area, although I must admit I haven't seen such blatant misuse at the National. Considering there are strict restrictions on eating food purchased elsewhere printed in the programme it seems as though it's another example of 'let's encourage newcomers and penalise our regular audience'.

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13 hours ago, alison said:

 

Have I moaned about the total lack of plugs for the washbasins?  I know it's trendy and all, but occasionally you do want to be able to put a plug in a washbasin and run some water into it.  Your only option here, it seems, is to block the drainage slot with towels!

 

A friend who, years ago, used to spend a lot of time in Eastern Europe, once told me that she always made sure to have a 50 pence piece with her as it served very well as a plug in the many plug less basins there. 

 

Edited to add that I think it’s possible our current 50p coins are marginally smaller than they were then. Still might work though!

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Can anyone advise of the bag situation in the cloakroom? I know this is stretching the concept of 'bag' a little but my dd is travelling to London this weekend and cannot get to where she is staying before the evening performance of Mayerling. We are wondering what to do with her small suitcase? I don't want her wandering around CG either before or especially after the performance to find a luggage storage service  as this is her first time completely independently in London. Also is there still concierge service who could pre book her a taxi? TIA! 

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12 minutes ago, mimi'smom said:

Can anyone advise of the bag situation in the cloakroom? I know this is stretching the concept of 'bag' a little but my dd is travelling to London this weekend and cannot get to where she is staying before the evening performance of Mayerling. We are wondering what to do with her small suitcase? I don't want her wandering around CG either before or especially after the performance to find a luggage storage service  as this is her first time completely independently in London. Also is there still concierge service who could pre book her a taxi? TIA! 

Ringing is probably a good idea.

What I have done in this situation is not take a suitcase but divide my things between 2 moderate sized bags and leave one in the cloakroom.

It works well, assuming it's just a short trip....The amphi cloakroom last night was not being much used- perhaps many don't yet realise it's there  yet- so heading straight there rather than to  the downstairs one might also be a good idea, and asking nicely I am sure they will help a young person.

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I have received the following via e-mail from a friend:

Last night was my first visit since the first Ring cycle, but yesterday was chaos downstairs with the doors to the stalls and stalls circle still closed at 7.20.  Only one lift up to the amphi was working and the lights in the ladies on the stairs leading to the lower slips weren't working. There were just a couple near the basins. The cubicles were in darkness.

 

The first interval was at about 8.30 and the amphi bar was already pretty full when the audience arrived.

Still no bag checks. I arrive at ROH via a bus across Waterloo Bridge and pass the Aldwych. Duchess and Novello Theatres. All have lengthy queues outside as bags are checked. I don't think the terrorist threat has gone away."

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In answer to Minismom I've e often just left my wheely case and back pack in the cloakroom with my coat at the ROH with no problems so far.....as have often been in the same situation having to go straight to the ROH on arrival in London 

However although I,ve been to one event since open up I only had my handbag with me then so didn't need to cloakroom.

I am assuming there is still a largish cloakroom downstairs as well as the Amphi one but not sure.

Ive never been with a really big case before ( two week holiday size etc) but my wheely is a larger than usual one ( American) and it's never so far been objected to.

As it seems that just at present there seems to be very little bags checks going on anyway at the ROH I'm sure your DD will be okay.

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I wonder whether the ROH's new-found laxness about people bringing their own food and drink is due to the negative press reaction that ENO have had about issuing a blanket ban on the practice. ROH wouldn't want to spoil the "Open Up" messaging by then telling people they're only welcome if they buy from the clearly overpriced in-house places: the PR people really wouldn't be happy!

 

Having sneaked in the odd furtive sandwich myself over the years (and never been challenged) I can see both sides, but there is a balance to be struck for patrons: personally speaking, my boundary is that I won't occupy a table if I haven't bought anything. If those bringing food in aren't even attending a performance, that's another matter altogether.

 

The absence of bag checks worries me.

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6 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

...personally speaking, my boundary is that I won't occupy a table if I haven't bought anything...

 

That's my rule as well Lizbie. I extend it by not buying anything if I can't get a table :). I usually get some sandwiches and a cuppa before a performance and I'll be interested to see how busy it is tomorrow, first proper visit since open-up.

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I think this strategy re food and drink is going to misfire horribly.  I have brought in sandwiches and eaten them discreetly up on the terrace but have usually bought a coffee or drink.  At Manon this year a friend and I were attempting to balance our drinks and crisps on a table in the Hall but were elbowed off by a couple who proceed to unwrap three tupperware boxes, each containing salads and a large piece of extremely stinky Gorgonzola.  They washed this down by taking alternate swigs from a large bottle of elderflower they'd brought in.  Frankly, I think this is taking the mickey and I have no problem objecting.  If that makes me 'elitist,' then bring it on.

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3 hours ago, Colman said:

Why is everyone so worried about bag checks? I'd assume that the ROH have done appropriate risk analysis and decided they can manage the risks in other ways.

The only way would be through practicing positive discrimination which the Open-up Project drives a coach and horses through. 

 

Even at times of heightened security, ROH has never been particularly stringent with its checks but I felt comforted to see them in place and would prefer they were re-instated.  I remember attending Carmen the night after the Paris atrocity and people were very nervous.  It was a lousy production (Kaufmann didn't show) and I found myself planning how I would escape if gun-men burst in and I left at the interval.

I have always presumed that the venue was practicing positive discrimination via CCTV, i.e. not that many patrons carrying rucksacks and all the other parameters most usually associated with terrorist attacks.  The open up project surely makes the venue much more vulnerable, yet they have chosen to lessen security.  A curious decision.  With nobody now having any idea who is in the building and, crucially, taken away the right to challenge admission, ROH are surely playing a dangerous game.  In their desire to be seen as inclusive and right-on, I wonder if they have remembered that they have a duty of care to patrons?

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I suppose they might have extremely sophisticated CCTV, but I've seen no evidence of it and I doubt that it would be monitored enough to cope with full houses and people wandering in off the street. There aren't even any Security personnel - the National has these near the entrances, so you get the feeling someone is keeping an eye on things. No complaint about their staff, they are friendly and pleasant, but still not entirely happy about security.

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I had a conversation with an usher about all the imported food and drink  and she mentioned that it was obvious from bag checks that people had always been bringing substantial picnics in with them.

There used to be a notice (on the cast sheets?) to the effect that "only food and drink purchased on the premises may be consumed here" but that has always been flouted. Before there was a charge for plastic bags and M&S was open nearby, there were literally dozens of bright green bags to be seen on tables on rehearsal days.

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13 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

I think this strategy re food and drink is going to misfire horribly.  I have brought in sandwiches and eaten them discreetly up on the terrace but have usually bought a coffee or drink.  

 

Me too.  They may decide to turn a blind eye to people bringing in a small amount of food, and I always have my own water bottle to counteract the coughing fit I always seem to get mid performance, but alcoholic drinks are another matter.  Especially if the outcome is that the prices are shoved up for those who do purchase something from the bar.  

 

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16 hours ago, Colman said:

Why is everyone so worried about bag checks? I'd assume that the ROH have done appropriate risk analysis and decided they can manage the risks in other ways.

I would be very interested to know what these other ways are.

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5 hours ago, Sim said:

I would be very interested to know what these other ways are.

Sim, it's the positive discrimination I referred, the type they are absolutely not allowed to practise at airports.  You know the drill - little old granny heading to Palma Nova gets the same going-over as bloke with rucksack, recently shaved beard and no return ticket!

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Well, I had a very beige evening tonight, punctuated by spots of red mist.

Offered our bags to the doorman who 'd looked askance when I preferred my ticket.  He waived me on and I hit the downstairs cloakroom which wasn't there.(Loo'

s atrocious - paper all over the floors and washbasins overflowing,

Eventually found cloakroom upstairs in airport departure lounge filled with pine tables and chairs (?) occupied by desultory groups of individuals looking about as excited as their relentlessly beige surroundings

So, upstairs for a drink before dinner.  Terrace is nice but is the bar open or closed?  All we saw was rows of glasses so I had to go inside to purchase, then negotiate my way back through non automatic doors, with my two glasses of champagne - that'll be £30 please.

If you want to eat inside a beige sand pit utterly devoid of personality, look no further than the Ampitheatre (sorry, Level something) Restaurant.  I am happy to report that my pork chop and my friends Sea Bass were excellent, as were all the staff despite being a new team.  But the decor - half local authority, other half airport lounge for those who can't afford Club.  This is an Arts Centre for God's sake.  A temple of creativity it is not.

More tomorrow, too depressed to write more.  ROH has always been my special place and I feel I have lost a friend.

Edited by penelopesimpson
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