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Diary: Eat, drink and be merry – just not in the theatre

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It doesn’t take a genius to work out what irritates theatregoers the most, but, fortunately for us, website Super Break has carried out research just to make sure we’re all on the same page.

It asked 2,000 people about theatre bugbears and found that 81% find the use of mobile phones or other electronic devices the most irritating. It’s good to know we’re in the majority. Also, 77% cite chair-kicking as among their most annoying experiences, just above talking during a show, at 76%.

Other nuisances are loud eating and drinking, as well as inebriated audiences, with 59% irritated by people who are visibly drunk. Of course, if you go and see a show like Dirty Dancing everyone is drunk – because it’s the only way you’re likely to enjoy that one. And you can’t be irritated by drunk audience members when you’re drunk yourself, now, can you?

Another bugbear was audience members who show their affection for one another publicly. Around a third found this annoying. Let’s be honest, that’s probably people who don’t have anyone to share their affection with. And that’s commonly called jealousy.

Still, Tabard is glad Super Break took the time to carry out such a revealing survey. And do remember: try not to use your phone in the theatre when your mouth is full of food, you’re drunk and telling your partner you love them. No one will appreciate that.

tabard@thestage.co.uk

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