Swathes of central London have been plunged into darkness, giving Black Friday a whole new meaning in the capital.
A power cut brought chaos to a large part of Soho and Picaddily in central London, leading to theatre performances being cancelled and shops shut down. According to UK Power Networks, a total of 2,300 properties were hit by the blackout which started at around 5pm, just as Soho was springing to life with theatregoers and people trying to enjoy its nightlife after finishing work.
Disappointed people who had tickets for Aladdin the Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre and Thriller at the Lyric Theatre have now been told that they will get their money back for the tickets after the shows were forced to cancel. However, with many having travelled to London and paid for hotel stays, lots of people will remain out of pocket.
Other major West End shows, including Jersey Boys, Les Miserables and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time were also called off. However, some performances did manage to go ahead, albeit late, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, after power was restored. One theatregoer, Sarah Ellacott, said the audience gave what she described as a “rapturous applause” when the electricity went back on.
Kurt Pollington, 56, who works on Bond Street nearby said there was a “weird atmosphere” in Soho. There was also trafic chaos because the power outage caused traffic lights to fail at major junctions. However, the electricity failure did not affect London’s Tube system.
While Soho is usually busy with drinkers and visitors, many of its most hectic streets were affected, including Old Compton Street, Wardour Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.
UK Power Networks explained: “An underground electricity cable has faulted on our high voltage network causing an area wide power cut.”