This article originally appeared on London Theatre Direct https://www.londontheatredirect.com/post/812/Matinee-Idle-A-Lazy-Afternoon-At-The-Theatre.aspx
I recently went to see King Lear at Theatre Royal Brighton. I live in South London and couldn’t resist a sunny afternoon trip to the south coast. I’d forgotten how much I love a Saturday matinee and if you thought they were just for the elderly then you are very much mistaken. They are the most welcoming option, if you think theatre is cold and inaccessible you have not gone to a Saturday matinee.
The bar is more civilised too, most people are weird about drinking before 5pm but not me. Once it is 12pm anything goes and there isn’t the mad rush for the bar that you would get in the evening, without having to push any elderly patrons out of the way. Let’s be blunt here, with a matinee you are getting an actor at their best. Come Saturday evening they are done with this. They hate you, they hate the play, they hate themselves and are willing for Sunday to come along for a rest and until they are back on Monday.
Once the play is over it is always a civilised time, even after an Oresteia-style 4-hour epic you know you will get a train home. It is easy to underestimate how exhausting theatre after work can be. I take the attitude that I am already up and about (Wednesday has become a theatre day because there is no EastEnders on) but I never feel as relaxed as I do at a matinee, plus you can combine it with a theatre tour or perhaps more importantly you can go see another play!