I took my mum to see The Lion King for her birthday.
The Alhambra is a well situated venue in the heart of Bradford City Centre easily walkable from the Bradford Interchange or Forster Square stations and in the vicinity of Centenary Square with well-known and affordable bars and restaurants. There are a few public and private car parks nearby, the best one is on Randall Well Street and free after 6pm but for this reason it gets full very quickly! We parked at Wilton Street car park which wasn't free but reasonably priced and in a good location. The venue looks lovely lit up at night. Inside it's clean and well maintained. I'd describe the decor as quite grand whilst still being down-to-earth. There were desks where you could buy programs and memoribilia. There were kiosks to buy snacks and I understand there's a bar and restaurant although I can't comment on these facilities as we didn't use them.
Our seats were on row J which is 3rd down from the back of the upper circle seats. They cost £32.50 each. When I booked I was after cheap seats and the cheapest were £25 so I went for these ones because they were still cheap but I was also hoping they'd be a bit better than the cheapest, I wish I'd thought this through! I've sat in upper circle seats before at various venues and been absolutely fine but because the seats at The Alhambra are on a really steep incline and I'm scared of heights I felt very anxious getting to/from my seat as did my mum who is also scared of heights. Nevertheless this subsided as we settled in to watching the performance and we noticed that the steep incline helps you to be able to see what's happening in the show despite sitting far up and back away from the stage. The sound production was fantastic so despite sitting in these seats I felt we still had the same experience of the music and performances as other members of the audience in better seats.
There were some disappointments with our visit which could have been avoided. I was told on booking the tickets that the performance would finish at 10pm so we payed for parking until 10:18pm. The interval was 20-25 minutes long and my mum and I spent all of this time queuing for the toilets; I understand the interval was actually lengthened because of the queues. In the toilet block we queued for there were 3 out of 4 cubicles available for use with 1 out of order. There appeared to be one toilet block per floor (for each sex); the seats in the audience seemed to be fully booked so the availability of toilets was not adequate. The show didn't end up finishing until 10:15pm so I had to leave before the end in order to avoid getting a parking ticket. When an usher saw me leaving before the end she asked if I was ok and I explained the situation, she didn't even acknowledge what I'd said let alone offer any apologies.
We really enjoyed the show and the atmosphere of the Alhambra. The things that could be improved would be better toilet facilties/adequate availability and/or more accurate information about the show's finish time and/or a dedicated free car park for customers - with any one of these changes I wouldn't have had to miss the end of the show which was disappointing.
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