'It's bigger than Harry Potter': fans queue for Jerusalem's curtain call


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The Independent Culture

Theatre lovers have camped outside the Apollo theatre in London for up to 36 hours to secure the last tickets to the most acclaimed play in the West End.

Jerusalem, which features Mark Rylance's Olivier Award-winning turn as an eccentric, drug-taking wastrel, ends its run tonight.

The ten campers present at 11am yesterday gave themselves the Twitter hashtag of #occupyJerusalem as a jocular reference to the St Pauls protest, but rather than eating food served from a makeshift canteen, they bought bottles of champagne to get them through the night.

In the past few days, disappointed customers have been turned away as queues numbering 100 people stretched along Shaftesbury Avenue.

Student Nigel Asije, 24, arrived at 10pm on Thursday to ensure he was first in line for tickets, which go on sale at 10am today.

"It'll be my ninth time seeing it, and I've already seen it three times this week. Just thinking about it is emotional," he said.

"All these 5-star reviews, they're underselling it. I'm tempted to get a Rooster tattoo like Mark has, I know it's slightly insane but so what."

It's by no means the first time Londoners have braved the elements to get tickets to a must-see event. Video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and the premiere of the last Harry Potter film drew overnight crowds.

But Asije said: "How dare anyone compare it to Harry Potter, you may as well compare it to Twilight."

Actor Elliot Moriart, 27, flew in from Dublin on Saturday morning to get hold of the sought-after tickets, which are going for more than £350 per pair on eBay. "It's interesting to see people queuing for theatre, rather than the new iPhone," he said.

Katie Wignall, 22, said: "I arrived here at 4.30 this morning and thought I'd be first, but no. But I always queue for Wimbledon for nothing. These guys had champagne last night so they haven't exactly been slumming it."

Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem began its life at the Royal Court in 2009 before moving on to the West End in 2010 and Broadway last year.