Classic Agatha Christie with lots of gripping plot twists in a unique venue with step free access
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid
Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution is staged in the magnificent Council Chamber of County Hall, the former home of the County Council and later the Greater London Council. The back row of the stalls is step free.
Transport & Parking
County Hall is on London's Southbank next to the London Eye. The entrance of Witness for the Prosecution is located on Belvedere Road. The nearest tube or train station is Waterloo. Waterloo tube has some step free access but it depends which line and entrance you use. The Jubilee Line at Waterloo via Waterloo Hall entrance is step free with lift access between street and platform. And the Bakerloo Line via York Road entrance also. For all other options please check with TFL (Transport for London) website. Westminster tube station is also close by and has step free access on Circle and District Lines. Both Westminster and Waterloo Bridges are wheelchair accessible, as are the Golden Jubilee Bridges, connecting the South Bank with Victoria Embankment on the north side. There are a few buses routes that stop a couple of minutes walk from County Hall.
The entrance to the theatre is on Belvedere Road and there is NO access from the River Thames side of County Hall. From the Belvedere Road entrance there are 6 steps up to the entrance and there is no hand rail. Just to the left of the entrance is a platform lift with a bell and intercom. I access via the steps and arrived in the entrance hall which has a staircase directly in front. I don't notice a sign to the lift to the 1st floor but when I asked I was immediately escorted to the lift and taken upstairs. The lift is in a separate area and there is a code to access the lift which is operated by the member of staff who escorts you. The main staircase to the 1st floor has a "strange" build in handrail on both sides, as you are unable to grab round it to help to pull you up, it is more there for decoration and there is no hand rail for the few couple of stairs. Please see the photo as it is difficult to describe. In the foyer area there is a bar but it is only accessible by 7 steps and there is no handrail. The foyer on the 1st floor, outside the stalls, has limited seating, on low level window stills. There are some stools but there is a note on them saying not to sit down on them and I later found out that they are part of the set. The back row of the stalls is step free and all other rows of seats in the stalls can only be accessed via steps, again see photo. The Gallery seating is only accessible via stairs. In the interval there is a person selling ice creams on the 1st floor foyer at the top of the stairs, so there is step free access to this.
There is a disabled accessible toilet with grab rails located within the main toilets. It is clean and very spacious. The doors to the toilets and the individual toilet cubicle are standard, manual doors.
Brilliant. They were welcoming, friendly and very helpful. They always took me to the lift immediately and chatted to me as they took me there. I also saw a member of staff assisting a man with a walking stick down the stairs.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
This is a classic Agatha Christie story gripping with lots of twists and turn. This is also Agatha's favourite of all the plays she wrote. Agatha originally wrote this as a short story and later adapted it into a play and both stories have different endings so even as a Christie fan you won't know how it ends until you see it. The play is mainly set in a court room and the Council Chamber is the perfect location. The building is impressive and grand. The room itself has very comfortable, wide, leather seating (in the stalls were I was sitting) and as it is not a large theatre it feels intimate especially as I was sitting next to the stage and the stairs were the actors enter and exit, it makes it feel very immersive. The production is excellent, wonderful acting, costumes and the setting unique and for a historic building has great step free access. At the time of writing this the play is scheduled to run at County Hall until 31 March 2018, however it deserves to have an extended run.