Greatest Show for Families: What Utilita Arena had to say about 'rip-off' claims and refund demands

Utilita Arena staff have said they are taking complaints about the "rip off" variety show which left families fuming "very seriously". 'The Greatest Show for Families', at the Newcastle arena on Saturday night, was advertised as a "live concert spectacular" perfect for fans of The Greatest Showman[1] . But those who shelled out nearly GBP30 a ticket say they were confronted with plain black backdrops, minimal choreography and some songs few children knew.

Many asked whether there was any chance of getting their money back. Speaking on Monday, a spokesperson for the arena[2] said: "Utilita Arena would like to take this opportunity to thank those patrons who have been in contact and followed the formal process of contacting the venue's Customer Service and the promoter in relation to their experience at the Greatest Show for Families. "We do our utmost to provide a wide spectrum of live events to the North East and encourage new promotors and content in the industry.

"The Utilita Arena is hired by a promoter to stage their events, as a receiving venue we rely on touring shows as we do not produce shows in venue. "We encourage patrons to address official complaints to the promoter address provided, whilst reminding them that the show is still on tour and the promotor will need time in which to receive and process these complaints. "Utilita Arena wishes to assure guests that we are taking the situation very seriously and are in contact with the promoter in relation to customer feedback, we will be in contact with guests who have contacted us via the Arena's customer service channel in due course following data collection and promoter dialogue."

After we reported on the anger of a number of disappointed families on Sunday, more people got in touch to share their thoughts on the event. Calling it "shambolic", mum Beverly Hughes said: "I spent well over GBP200 buying tickets for me, my daughters, mum and dad, parking, popcorn, etc. there were so many things wrong with this, it's unbelievable." Urging the hosts to "take responsibility" for the event they facilitated, she added: "it was just dreadful and we were left so gutted."

'The Greatest Show For Families' at Utilita Arena

Kelly Hanlon brought her family of five along to the underwhelming show - a treat her daughter had chosen instead of a party for her 13th birthday.

But when she contacted the show production company on Facebook, she claims she was told no refunds would be given.

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The mums' complaints were echoed by readers commenting on our Facebook page. Sarah Laidler said: "It was a terrible show. I booked fully understanding it wasn't just "The Greatest Showman" songs, so that wasn't an issue.

There was absolutely no production. Dance routines were basic and looked completely unprofessional. Costumes were again basic.

"There was no staging whatsoever. Lots of people walked out even before the interval. The holiday "giveaway" was laughable - I hope the person who win does actually get the trip.

For what we paid for tickets it was a complete and utter waste of money."

Greatest Show for Families: What Utilita Arena had to say about 'rip-off' claims and refund demandsThe Utilita Arena Newcastle

Kevin Parnacott called it an "appalling show and quite bizarre". He added: "To be fair there were some good points, but at the arena and price paid, refunds are necessary. It was shocking."

Kylie Knight said it: "[Definitely] was oversold as something it's not. I was expecting more circus themed aerial stunts when in reality the girl did the ropes to one song out of the whole show. Good singers and I enjoyed the songs but I wouldn't have taken my 3 year old had I known there wasn't any 'show' to watch in the show."

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On Sunday, a spokesperson for the show, which was produced and commissioned by International Show Ltd, said: "We are sorry to hear that there has been mixed reviews regarding our show performed last night.

"We tried our very best to create a magical show for a family audience, even giving away a holiday to Disneyland Paris in the process.

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"Some people feel the show wasn't as advertised.

We take all comments on board good and bad, and will use them to work on the content of the show for future productions.

"Anybody who wishes to make a complaint regarding this please reach out to us by writing a letter to international Shows Ltd, Unit 1a, Stanley Road, Back Reeds Road, Blackpool FY1 4QL."

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References

  1. ^ The Greatest Showman (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ arena (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)

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