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‘Drunk audience member’ convicted of assaulting Othello actor

The London Theatre in New Cross, south London
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An audience member has been convicted of assaulting an actor during a fringe production of Othello last year.

Mike Fox, a comedy promoter, was sentenced to 50 hours community service and told to pay a £200 fine to the actor in question, Jo Sharifi, at a sentencing at Bexley magistrates’ court on March 21.

According to the Times, Fox was drunk and slurring his speech during a performance of Othello by an all-female cast at the 36-seat London Theatre in New Cross, south London last October.

It was heard how he had began blocking actors’ entrance and exit ways to the stage, and had later engaged in a confrontation with the director, who asked him to leave the theatre. Fox then pushed Sharifi, who was playing Montano in the production, into a row of empty chairs.

The police were called and the theatre evacuated as a result of the incident, while the following night’s performance, which was due to be the last in the run, was also cancelled.

In court, Fox denied being disruptive and said he had tried to leave the auditorium to go to the toilet during the show, after which he had been “blockaded by four or five people”.

“I did not know what was going to kick off when somebody lunged towards me and I instinctively put my hands up and they fell over these chairs,” Fox said.

Audience etiquette: what is acceptable behaviour in a theatre?

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