Sunday, January 09, 2011

Much Ado About Delfont Mackintosh

“If I were in charge everyone who was interested in a ticket would be made to submit the number of plays they’d seen in the last year, along with the number of Shakespeare productions they’d seen in this period, this would be put into some complex algorithm and would result in people getting tickets in an orderly and fair manner. Under this we’d have got our tickets at 9:00am THIS MORNING”.

It’s not, I confess, the most equal access of theatre policies but, some times – like when you’re trying to get a ticket for PunchDrunk (no, I haven’t got over the fact that I – Duchess of Malfi obsessive – could not get a ticket to their version) – it would make it all seem a lot fairer.

When the event in question is David Tennant starring in Much Ado About Nothing it would make both everything fairer and stop me having an aneurism.

Initial excitement (The rumours are true! DT on stage! Playing Benedick! [Those of you who were paying attention back in 2005 will know I started this blog on a computer named Benedick so, obviously, this is glorious in many ways]) quickly gave way to OH MY FUCKING GOD, IF I SEE THAT DELFONT MANCKINTOSH “THIS WEBSITE IS DOWN” SCREEN AGAIN I WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS.

Because, let me not over state this, my day largely consisted of THAT SCREEN. Most likely I will never again be able to book anything from Delfont Mackintosh website lest I am overcome with the memories and forced to bash my head repeatedly against the nearest sharp object whilst sobbing “BUT YOU TOLD ME I HAD SEATS. YOU TOLD ME. FIFTEEN TIMES. AND I BELIEVED YOU. EVERY SINGLE TIME”.

CAN YOU HEAR ME CAMERON MACKINTOSH? Invest in some better servers. And a ‘choose your own seats seating plan’. IT’S 2011.

And you know what made this worse? When one of the DT feeds I follow on twitter (Oi, do not laugh, I am serious and professional and theatrey, but I follow feeds that tell me things like when I can watch the 76th repeat of The Satan Pit because we all have quirks and this is [one of] mine) said things like “Oh, you’re all getting through now”. Because you know what? I WAS NOT GETTING THROUGH. Neither was Val who, in our co-ordinated and well honed attack, had spent the day looking at that screen and being cut off by Delfont Mackintosh phone lines.

Thus it is 5:47pm, there are still no tickets and I am marching down the South Bank TALKING ABOUT FAIRNESS ALGORITHMS.

[If, as a side note, you’re wondering about the frequency of capital letters around here today I can only say – THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO CONVEY MY DAY. TODAY HAS BEEN A NO VOLUME CONTROL, CAPS LOCK DAY]

But, and it’s a nice but, I did that most retro of things, walked to the Wyndhams Box Office, stood in line for about 30 seconds, spoke to a REAL LIVE HELPFUL BOX OFFICE PERSON who checked availability and was funny and sympathetic and not at all phased by the level of crazy she must have encountered during the day (not least from me) and then, a couple of hundred pounds lighter and after the payment system went down just once more for old time’s sake, I came out with these:



Val said...

Jesus, what a day it was. My new car paled into insignificance! I have such a huge grin on my face from seeing that photo. I may also write about it. Dear David and Shakespeare, what you do put us through!

Glen said...

It was a bad couple of days for Shakespeare and the interweb. The previous day I had spend a good chunk of the day watching the RSC's website slowly smoulder and generally creak to a halt.
Just as I had vowed never to book another Bard show online I spend most of Saturday trying to convince the Del Mack servers that I did in fact have a valid credit card. It also took some convincing that, no I didn't require the 5 sets of seats it had added to my basket through repeated crashes.
Finally I got to the dreaded checkout screen and hurrah got a different message but that joy soon lived as I was asked to phone the box office.
At that point I resorted to something I should have done earlier in the day and emailed a friend who works for Del Mack and within 10 mins all sorted!

I do agree with your ticket allocation process however - especially after sitting surrounded by screaming girlies at Hamlet at the Courtyard a couple of years back!

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised to read about people such as yourself, who've lingered hours in front of the website or waited over the phone for so many hours. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because I only suffered one phone hang up, and 30 minutes of frustration over the website before I got my ticket.

All in all, I'm glad you finally have your tickets!!