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Diary: Orwellian torture raises a titter on Broadway

Tom Sturridge in 1984. Photo: Julieta Cervantes Tom Sturridge and Reed Birney in 1984. Photo: Julieta Cervantes
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Ah, the world of bad audience behaviour. There were the mobile phones, the e-cigarettes, even the McDonalds’ chicken McNuggets.

Now, venues hosting Gary Barlow’s Take That musical have followed suit with a notice that says “Please refrain from demonstrating your singing abilities unless otherwise directed”.

And throughout these ordeals, Tabard has been there on the front line to report it all to you, dear reader.

But if you thought the atrocious goings-on were confined to these shores, Tabard has been hearing reports that the pandemic has spread across the Atlantic.

A piece in the New York Post this week reported that during performances of 1984 on Broadway a group of theatregoers kept giggling at the chief torturer, played by Reed Birney.

“They were probably millennials,” Birney grumbled in the Post. “You can take a bucket of Champagne to your seat. We [would] hear the glasses rolling down the aisles. Sometimes I think we’re one step away from dinner theater.”

They are easy targets of blame, but in Tabard’s experience the millennials aren’t the problem, particularly when it comes to mobile phones. The real culprits are the older audience members who can’t remember which button turns their phone off.

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk

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