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London theater at a discount

Theatergoers buy discount tickets in London's Leicester Square. Theatergoers buy discount tickets in London's Leicester Square. (MARTY BASCH FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)
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January 14, 2007

LONDON -- Here you are in one of the theater capitals of the world and your own capital is running out. Well, join the queue . . . at the Society of London Theatre ticket booth for half-price tickets to West End productions.

In the clock tower building in Leicester Square's southwest corner, the TKTS kiosk offers discounted tickets for many of that afternoon's and evening's plays and musicals for roughly a $5 service charge per ticket.

Available shows are posted on notice boards outside the cashier windows , most of them half off, a handful reduced 25 percent, and some full price. Your choice of seat is from those the society has to sell that day.

The line forms well before TKTS's 10 a.m. opening, but then moves fairly quickly in the square dominated by the bright neon of movie theaters, clubs, and cafes.

Look up, and a fountain topped with a statue of Shakespeare dominates the square's center , with figures of other notables, including Charlie Chaplin and William Hogarth, nearby. Look down, and preserved in the sidewalk are handprints of Charlton Heston and Billy Crystal.

A second TKTS kiosk is open in the city's Docklands area, on platforms 4/5 at Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Station, with the same menu of shows and discounts.

Society of London Theatre TKTS booths, tkts.co.uk. Leicester Square Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday noon-3 . Canary Wharf Monday-Saturday 10-3:30, Sunday closed.

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