Comedy fans queuing at a Wellingborough theatre this morning were told Lee Evans tickets had sold out - before they had even gone on sale to the general public.
The comic is visiting The Castle Theatre as a warm-up for his national Work In Progress tour in May.
Tickets went on sale to Friends of The Castle yesterday, but members of the public started queuing early this morning to try to buy the remaining tickets.
But before they were even due to go on sale at 10am, staff put up signs saying they had sold out.
Castle staff said this was the fastest-ever selling gig at the theatre and that ticketing policies would now be reviewed.
William Irvine from Wellingborough, who joined the queue before 9am, said: “We went to The Castle yesterday to try to become members but they told us initially it would take a week. I don’t think we were given the right information.
“People here are angry because they think that some tickets should have been held back for the general public.
“It seems really unfair.
“There are at least 30 people in the queue and more people are turning up.”
When the box office opened at 10am, people were being allowed to put their names on a waiting list in case there are returns.
Comedy fan Anna Smith was also in the queue. She said: “We are appalled at how The Castle Theatre have sold their tickets.
“Family, friends and workers of the theatre had priority which is understandable but to be sold out before others members of the public had a chance of booking tickets themselves is ridiculous.
“It’s left myself and others very disappointed and not happy!”
A Castle Theatre spokesman said that people could have become members instantly by signing up on the website or visiting the box office, but that tickets had sold out by 8pm yesterday.
The spokesman said: “Yesterday The Castle received record ticket sales for Lee Evans – Work In Progress, which sold out on its first day of priority booking to the Friends of The Castle.
“The Castle’s Friends membership scheme is a paid-for scheme open to everybody to join, which comprises of a number of benefits - one of which is priority booking.
“The Castle’s priority booking policy opens the full capacity of the theatre for Friends of The Castle to purchase before these go on general release.
“Over the years a number of well known comedians, including Kevin Bridges and John Bishop, have gone on sale through priority booking, however a full priority booking sell-out has never happened before.
“The unprecedented demand for Lee Evans priority tickets leading to this sell-out has been recognized by The Castle management, and the priority booking policy will be revisited and reviewed for future events.
“The Castle are delighted to be able to showcase a comedian of the calibre of Lee Evans but do apologise to those customers disappointed not to have had the opportunity to secure tickets. A waiting list will be in operation for any ticket returns we receive and customers wishing to be added to this list can contact the Box Office on 01933 270 007.”