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Victorian theatre named after the great David Garrick
Named after the legendary stage actor David Garrick (who died a good 110 years before it was built), the Grade II-listed Garrick Theatre is a little on the shabby side these days but, nonethless, one of London’s most storied and versatile theatres. Playwright W.S. Gilbert, of 'and Sullivan' fame, used the proceeds from his wildly successful comic operas to put up the money for this playhouse in 1889. It didn't have the easiest start to life, after an underground river was discovered wending its way through the chosen site. But once it finally opened, it made Victorian audiences chortle with comedies like Arthur Wing Pinero’s now-forgotten 1895 hit ‘The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith’.
During the 20th century, the Garrick Theatre survived two attempts to demolish it: first in 1934, when architects schemed to rebuild it as a 'Super Cinema', and then in 1968, when a campaign by Save London Theatres kept it in use. And it's a good thing they did. After spending the war years in the doldrums, the Garrick hosted hits galore, including Joan Littlewood's seminal satirical musical ‘Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be’ and Brian Rix's bawdy farces in the '60s and long-running comedy 'No Sex Please, We're British' in the '80s. Today, it mostly hosts musicals, including the likes of 'Let it Be' and 'Young Frankenstein'.
Garrick Theatre's interior is a well-preserved example of late Victorian theatre design, with its elegant curved balconies decorated in white with delicate gilt Classical-inspired friezes. It's got 718 seats on three levels, meaning you'll get a better view of the action than at most West End venues.
Charing Cross Road
|Transport:||Rail/Tube: Charing Cross; Tube: Leicester Square/Embankment|
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