Shows and Star Performances.
Posted 11 March 2007 - 08:48 AM
Maybe that's a way to try - speak directly to the manager, they tend to be very helpful as long as you're friendly and polite.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 12:52 PM
Producers sell tickets on the basis of star names. The stars in question are paid highly for that very reason, which the understudy is not.
Therefore the public has cause to be miffed, if the star does not appear. The sickness of a cast member is not the audience's problem. It's the producer's problem.
It's debatable whether the sale of goods act does not apply in this situation. As far as I'm aware, the wording does not exclude it. But most audience members are not willing to take up legal proceedings over a £50 ticket, and producers know this. The "get outs" printed on the back of a ticket, do not affect statutory rights.
Audiences shouldn't be apathetic but stand their ground on this issue. Offers of alternative dates or compensation come out of public pressure and rightly so.
Ensemble pieces and other shows that are not sold on a star advertising basis, are a different matter.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 01:46 PM
The Sale of Goods Act absolutely does not apply. You do not have any right to see "the star", statutory or otherwise.
When you book to see a show nobody is making any representation that you will see a particular cast, so if you fail to see the cast you want you have no legal right to compensation. If you assume that because the star features in the publicity then the star cannot possibly be off sick or that there's a guarantee that you will see the star, then that's your lookout. The law knows that people get sick, and the law doesn't require the production to achieve the impossible no matter how much the star figures in the promotion. They could paint the name of the star across the Moon in letters a thousand kilometres tall and you'd still have precisely zero rights to see the star. The best you can hope for is that the producers take pity on you and offer you an exchange.
Unless you were specifically promised that you would see a particular cast you have no right to see the star. The contract gives you a right to see the show, and nothing else. The law gives you a right to what is actually in the contract, not what you assumed was in the contract, and no amount of insinuating that the productions are involved in dodgy business practices will change that. If you enter into a contract without knowing what is in that contract you've nobody to blame but yourself. Even if a million other people make the same mistake it's still a mistake, and it remains a mistake no matter how much you whine about it.
This is not a matter of opinion. It's the law.
Furthermore, I should point out that your legal position should you try to take a production to court would be very dodgy indeed. The defence could argue that you know about the existence of understudies, you know about the reason for understudies, and you know there's a chance you'll get the understudies, so if you've been standing in court claiming you thought it was implied that you were going to see the star then you were lying in an attempt to deceive the court. And that's you out of the way for a while.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 03:35 PM
The buzz (rather than the critics)
Difficult to say which is most important at any one time
Posted 12 March 2007 - 05:24 PM
.... so if you've been standing in court claiming you thought it was implied that you were going to see the star then you were lying in an attempt to deceive the court. And that's you out of the way for a while.
Matthew, no-one is lying. No-one is standing up in a court. No-one is "out of the way for a while". This is a discussion forum.
You really should read posts properly. I didn't say anyone had a RIGHT to see a star. I said that the situation is DEBATABLE. The reason is because legal precedents are open to challenge. The law is subject to interpretation. In other words, because producers have got away with it, does not mean it can't or won't be tested.
The higher the ticket price; the greater the advertising is based on a star name; and the more often producers fail to fulfil that selling point - the less likely the public will tolerate this situation. The law does not exclude producers from legal challenge in this area. The cult of celebrity on the West End which even involves Hollywood names, has reached an extent where in some circumstances it is debatable how far the star name is being sold, as opposed to the show itself. That's the spin. In that instance, it's very much up for challenge. Then we have the new West End phenomenon of reality tv, "voted in celebrity", even more so.
It's not about whether the star is sick or whether he or she is guaranteed to appear. It's about whether the public gets the option of a refund or other alternative, in that unforeseen situation.
There are occasions when producers do offer refunds or other options, rather than face a protesting public. I think that pressure will increase, especially if ticket prices follow the ever upward trend.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 05:39 PM
Just playing devils advocate here, but could it also be argued that at the Palladium in particular, that you knew refunds or exchanges have been given this week (in Connies absence), that David Ian stated on TV that refunds were given for non-show of the star, and therefore you should expect either a refund or exchange irrespective of the existance of understudies.
And if that is true for the Palladium ..........
And who could see that the road would twist
Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:29 AM
But my point is that the situation is not debatable. The Sale of Goods Act cannot be used to challenge the producers. Sales regulations are designed to protect the public from unscrupulous traders, not to make sure life is perfect for fans. It's all to do with what a "reasonable person" can expect in meeting the terms of a contract.
You talk about how the producers "have got away with it", but they're not getting away with anything. They're required to deliver what a reasonable person would expect. A reasonable person would expect a performance of competent professionalism. After "How Do You Solve..." a reasonable person would expect that Connie Fisher would be cast as Maria and not third nun from the left. But - and this is the vital point so I'll emphasise it - a reasonable person would not expect the star to appear at every performance. A reasonable person knows that actors and actresses get sick. A reasonable person knows that understudies go on. A reasonable person knows that no matter how much a star figures in the publicity there's no guarantee that the star will be able to appear every time. A reasonable person knows that it is unreasonable to expect otherwise.
And trading standards laws are based around the reasonable person.
You keep talking as if the producers were acting immorally, but they aren't. How can they be challenged when they are fully within the law and the law says that they are in the right? The best you can hope for is that they're feeling charitable and will offer you the chance to exchange tickets. If you try to get legal with them they will crush you.
Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:03 AM
I'm not debating this from an anti producer standpoint. Theatre has to compete against other media attractions for people's cash at the box office, and producers face an increasingly difficult challenge to get their products high profile attention. They take every way possible to get the media to play ball with their project and run with it.
However, the goal posts are arguably moving. Your hypothetical court, might consider the question of what exactly is being sold? That is the debatable issue. It's not about whether buyers are fans. It's not a question of whether it's reasonable for a star to get sick. (Although I can think of more than one producer who does not expect mere mortal excuses in return for superstar money.) It's about how far celebrity constitutes the product that's being sold.
Take for example, "Equus". The public has read a lot about it. Is the emphasis on selling a quite cerebral Shaffer revival? Or are tickets being sold primarily to see Harry Potter on the London stage? Even better, he happens to play a scene naked. That's what it shows on the tin, and everyone's seen it! Would Joe Bloggs the understudy out of drama school with no movie stardom behind him, be an acceptable replacement? Possibly yes, for those of us more interested in seeing Shaffer's play. Not for the tabloid reading, ticket buying public. It's debatable that they've been sold Dan Radcliffe above Shaffer.
"The Sound Of Music" managed to be promoted on reality tv with barely a mention of R&H or details of the show. Instead the public was sold the question "Who will be Maria?" People bought a share in Connie. Now that's what they expect, and it might be more acceptable to substitute the musical, rather than the leading lady. Now we move on to the next round of reality tv casting. It almost doesn't matter which show is involved, the aim is to get the public hooked on its self made star and sell tickets to see them.
It's almost comparable with movies that are sold on big names. If you open your dvd and find James Bond is played by a stand in, that would be ridiculous because everyone has seen and read the star hype. The more the West End goes in that direction, the more debatable this issue becomes. It may not be avoidable that an understudy has to go on, but it IS avoidable that the public doesn't lose money when they don't get the big name product they were sold.
Posted 14 March 2007 - 11:49 AM
I don't think that "arguably" comes into it. The goalposts in this celebrity-led culture are on castors! Particularly so in the cases where the "public" have "chosen" the star. 'How Do You Solve ....' paid scant attention to SoM, to the acting abilities, or - for much of the time - to musical theatre. People paid to vote on an unknown actress singing a pop song. For many Connie IS the show.
It could well make a "reality" drama worth watching if group action were ever to make it to court to obtain a refund for the non-appearance of the stars. "The people vs the producers" serialised over 12 weeks. VOTE now on 0875 000 000** to register YOUR verdict.
** is a premium rate service. All profits will disappear into a hole of the TV company's choosing.
And who could see that the road would twist
Posted 14 March 2007 - 04:22 PM
Martine McClutcheon - NOT IN SHOW
Amanda Holden - NOT IN SHOW
Connie Fisher and Lesley Garret - NOT IN SHOW
These are the only 3 West End Productions I have managed to save for and afford, so I do agree that people may begin to vote with their feet! Faith in seeing the stars does need building - especially with such expensive ticket prices! Or how about a few more openings out of the West End - such as Mary Poppins opening at Bristol BEFORE the West End run a few years back withfull West End opening cast! That's fair - theatre really should be for EVERYONE not just those with the bucks to get to the West End, and this allowed me the exciting opportunity of taking the family to our local theatre for a real treat!
All of that said, delighted with the generosity of a return visit to SOM - but I'm not so naive to think this is a guaranteed chance to see Connie. She may be ill again, and to be honest, it wouldn't really matter to me this time as Sophie was BRILLIANT !
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