It was a nice weekend…
I travelled up north to spend some time with my family – both my mother and I have birthdays in a few weeks so we had a joint celebration without our boyfriends and husband in tow.
As is the case whenever I go up to Manchester, it was cold, dark and rained solidly for the entirety of my visit, but that didn’t stop us from getting dressed up. Unfortunately, gridlocked traffic and the return of the Frankfurt market meant that we were extremely late getting to the restaurant, making my sister look like she had been stood up on a date, bless her, but we soon settled into the usual banter that often takes up the majority of our conversations.
As a treat for my mum, we went to see Guys and Dolls at the Palace Theatre after the meal. It’s her favourite musical and I know she had been very much looking forward to it. In getting to our seats we discovered that we had very little room and were completely squished like sardines, but it was a nice atmosphere and the set looked incredible.
It turned out to be an eventful few hours…
I always have a little smile to myself when I think about the unwritten rules of theatre and classical concert etiquette – people get dressed up, sit in silence in their seats (unless it’s the Rocky Horror Show), and then clap and give the occasional cheer at certain points. However, this audience proved to be unaware of these rules…
To be fair, the show was quite slow at the beginning and it took a little while to get into it. There wasn’t an issue with the quality of the acting (from some well known actors I might add), and the singing was pleasant, if a bit pitchy at times, but it was lacking that… something.
It turned out that other members of the audience must have agreed with what I was thinking, and about twenty minutes into the show a clearly irate woman stood up a few rows behind us, screamed “don’t give up your day job!” and made a huge fuss of walking out. I then noticed more people leaving as the first half went on.
After the interval had finished and everybody returned to their seats, I looked round to find that about a third of the audience in the area where we were sitting had not bothered to come back for the second half. Consequently, we moved ourselves along so we would have a bit more room, and others did the same.
The second half was much better than the first, and the actor who played Skye Masterson, Jamie Parker, was absolutely incredible… However, that didn’t stop people from constantly getting up to go to the toilet (one woman went four times) and a seemingly drunken man quickly rushed out half way through the second half, falling up the stairs in an attempt to do so. There were people openly talking and had to be repeatedly shushed by angry members of the audience around them. Two women in front of us were constantly rustling sweet wrappers and having a chat, which clearly irritated the people in front of them.
It was some of the worst audience behaviour I had ever seen, and I was disappointed that it happened in Manchester, my home city. While I’m proud that northerners are known for speaking their mind, on Saturday night they presented themselves as just being rude and obnoxious.
I just hope the cast didn’t notice!
What about you guys? Have you ever had to deal with bad audience behaviour?
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