Last week's story of Laurence Fox's outburst at an audience member made me think 'good on him'. There have been times when my fellow audience members have not behaved brilliantly and if it wasn't for disturbing the actors further I'd have a go myself.
Here are three of the worst I have experienced:
The noisy headphones
Yes, someone sat near me at the Lyttleton was either listening to music through headphones or hadn't turned their mp3 player off. No one could quite work out where the singing and music was coming from audible during the (many) quieter scenes. There were a lot of quizzical looks passing among those of us who could hear the irritating noise. In the end several people complained to the usher at the interval who made an announcement in the general direction of where the noise was coming from and the music was gone during the second half.
The giggling teenagers
Trafalgar Studios 2 is one of those tiny theatres where the actors are often within touching distance. It was a Dickens themed double bill (Dickens With a Difference) and for the second show James Swanton took on all the characters, contorting himself into each in what was a skilled and gripping performance. Unfortunately the two teenage girls sat in the middle of the front row, virtually under his nose, weren't as gripped and decided to giggle, snort and whisper their way through the entire thing. Swanton soldiered on waiting until the curtain call to say: "Thank you all for coming tonight, I've made two of you laugh at least but for everyone else I hope it didn't spoil your enjoyment." I'm still surprised they made it out of the theatre in once piece.
Park Theatre, scene of Laurence Fox's outburst, has also been the scene of not one but three irritating audience incidents during just one play (Jonah and Otto). First was the woman with child-laughing ring tone who decided to up and leave to answer the call. Then someone wandered into the auditorium obviously having gone through a wrong door said 'sorry' loudly and left. And finally a woman with a bad cold decided that coughing and sneezing wasn't quite enough disturbance for everyone but so proceeded to sigh and mutter as well. Think she was ejected at the interval.
Photo by Flying DJI on Flickr and used under a creative commons license