News that Umoja has (temporarily) canceled its planned Friday matinees at the Queen's Theatre could be seen as part of a trend in the West End, given that We Will Rock You also canceled its Friday matinees, and Madonna doesn't "do" matinees at Wyndham's, where she is starring in Up For Grabs.
Matinees used to be a good money-spinner for producers, appealing as they did to older audiences with the time and money to see afternoon performances. The added advantage for this older age group was that they could be safely home by the evening.
Depending on the day of the week, matinees also offered other actors and theatre workers the chance to see what was going on in other West End theatres.
Presumably a South African show with throbbing drums, a rock-and-roll spectacular and a play about a female American art dealer who indulges in a little lesbianism to further her ambitions are not exactly pensioners' cup of tea.
All these shows are strong, highly theatrical and enjoyable, so presumably the producers are hoping to concentrate on selling the evening shows and Saturday matinees.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow