A ticket agency has recently issued a press release containing much spurious information in an attempt to spin the story that, rather than concentrating on top ticket prices, it might make more sense to look at the cheapest.

Realistically, with the cost-of-living crisis still going strong, even if inflation is rising at a slower rate, many prospective theatregoers will not be able to afford £70–£100 per ticket for a night out, let alone the extortionate sums charged for premium tickets to the biggest shows and those with the biggest stars.

Ironically, isn’t just TV favourites who are raking in the cash. According to this survey, the most expensive cheap seats in town will buy you the pleasure of bopping to ABBA holograms!

Judging by some of the information shared, a going to the West End on the cheap strategy may backfire as well. To start with, if you’re buying the worst seats in the house, then expect a bad experience. There is a fair possibility that your view might be impeded by pillars, the proscenium arch or other blockages.

Even if you escape those impediments, a pair of powerful binoculars may be a necessity to see what is going on, although theatrical architecture means that sound often travels wonderfully and even up in the gods it should be possible to hear what is being said. However, given the propensity for mumbling on stage these days, that is not guaranteed either.

Finally, especially in some of those glorious Victorian theatres, the balcony might be a low-cost option but could be desperately uncomfortable. Some barely have leg space to seat a child in comfort, let alone a fully grown man or woman.

Assuming you are willing to accept all of these limitations, then it is possible to buy tickets that will give access to that desirable play or musical at a fraction of the cost of the very best.

Even so, this survey makes much of the fact that it is possible to get available tickets for Frozen for a paltry £39 a pop. You don’t need to be an accountant to work out that, ignoring booking fees (and you probably can’t ignore booking fees), taking a couple of adults plus a couple of kids to the show will set you back £156, before programmes, food and drink, transport and merchandise that is specifically marketed with the intention of enticing children to blackmail adults.

Periodically, there may be special offers that provide an opportunity to get tickets a little cheaper, but for many, a family trip to the theatre is still going to be an unnecessary or just plain unaffordable extravagance at the moment.

With government and local council funding at a premium, charities struggling and rich benefactors hard to come by, there is no obvious solution, since theatres are already cutting costs to the bone and need every pound that they can bring in.

There is one cost-effective alternative though. That is to patronise local theatres, where tickets are cheaper, transport costs can be reduced or eliminated and you can eat at home before or after the performance.