- Fighting between audience members;
- A male audience member walking to the side of the stage and urinating;
- A woman caught 'pleasuring' her partner in the stalls;
- Unrequested audience participation;
- Not only phones going off, but people answering them and having conversations;
- Audience members walking to the front of the stage to take photos on their mobile phones;
- Incoherent shouting and abuse; and
- House staff being verbally and physically abused.
As a rule, I do try to suppress the snob inside me, but at times he gets the better of me, and he definitely did on reading this article! (actually, I don't really think I'm being a snob in expecting people to have some manners and behave courteously).... The theatre used to be nice quaint (and quiet!) way for people to enjoy an evening out didn't it? Nothing was more cultured than popping down to the West End and getting engrossed in a gripping thriller, or perhaps a rare old farce (with the obligatory eight quid ice cream at half time of course!). But it looks as though the great unwashed are putting paid to that pastime for us. They have already ruined the cinema experience... I no longer go, as the last few times I did, I came out seething with anger at the ignorant cretins enclosed within, and their inane, constant chatter, mobile phones, noisy bags etc, and now they are turning their attention to the theatre. But hold on, didn't an evening of 'thespian-ism' used to be classed as "boring" to these types?? Well yes, indeed it did, but have you checked out the 'what's on in London' guides lately? Just like our TV, theatre is being 'dumbed down' before our very eyes. See if you can find more than a couple of powerful, thought provoking plays these days. You'll still find the thinking man (and woman)'s plays out on the fringes, but they have all but been removed from the West End now in favour of dozens of low rent, cheesy musicals.
Shite, disposable Saturday evening talent shows have a lot to answer for. Unfortunately, the type of people who can be entertained by and persuaded to vote for a new 'Joseph', 'Maria' or ' Sandy and Danny', are also the same people who will go see the resulting performance. The lure of easy money for putting on 'lowest common denominator' shows, has created the by-product of a new, low-rent punter, for whom going to the theatre is an alien experience. Oddly they don't seem to know how to behave, and therefore start the evening in much the same way as any other of their nights out (i.e. excess alcohol), thus ensuring half the audience is half cut before the curtain even rises. It would also seem that these people are also unaware of the finer protocols of theatre-going.... such as not wanking or pissing during the performance for example..
So well done theatres of London, I for one have little sympathy for your current plight, it's no good moaning about it now. I saw it coming a mile off, and you should have too. What is that line about reaping what you sow??
(Grumpy Old) Piley