Audience behaviour or, more accurately, audience misbehaviour, is like catnip to us theatre folk. We just love talking about it – the oblivious texter, the noisy crisp cruncher, the get-up-and-go-to-the-loo-every-five-minutes-er.
But the Twitter gods served up a new one last week courtesy of the playwright Barney Norris, who caused excitement on social media when he sought advice for an unusual predicament during his show at Salisbury Playhouse.
“Anyone else ever had to eject an audience member from their show for trying to headbutt a theatre critic?”, he asked. “Cos I have now done that.” Apparently there was even police intervention.
We’re all familiar with the affliction that descends when one too many wines are had at the interval, but the bobbies having to step in? Tabard has to wonder what they wrote.
Before your minds run away with visions of ‘let me show you where you can stick that one star’, Norris went on to provide the gory details and it wasn’t a case of review revenge after all.
He said: “[It was] the old story – alcohol taken by a punter, critic defending elderly audience member from threat of violence, playwright defending critic from threat of violence, police briefly attending, handshakes at close of play.” How very English.
Tabard is The Stage’s resident gossip and diarist. email@example.com