The theatre is no place for it

10 December 2017, 01:04 | Updated: 10 December 2017, 01:19


A man has claimed he was punched during the interval of a production at the Old Vic.

It is a theatre of world renown and a favourite of polite society.

These days, getting punched in such an establishment is known as: par for the course.

A theatre producer called Adam Gale says that he noticed a woman in the audience was using her mobile phone throughout the first act of A Christmas Carol.

He asked her to stop and she immediately agreed and apologised for her embarrassing lack of tact.

Just kidding, she egged on the man she was with to haul Mr Gale from his seat and hit him.

This was probably because of the credo of modern manners which is, “It's my right, I can do what I want”.

The couple left during the interval but Mr Gale was left fearful that they would be waiting to attack him outside, which is what you would expect of people that object to being told that using a phone while in the audience of a theatrical production is not the done thing.

Mr Gale said, "Things have escalated from rude audience members to people who assault other people,"

"People are constantly complaining about sitting next to someone horrible, and they say they don't challenge them as they are afraid it will make the situation worse if they ask them to stop."

He's right.

A woman was allegedly assaulted when she took her son to watch Dirty Dancing at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre in September.

The victim, in her 50's, claimed she asked another female audience member to be quiet during the show.

Naturally, she was attacked at the end of the performance and left with facial injuries.

There's road rage and trolley rage and escalator rage but you might have thought that the theatre would be the last place that such idiotic, self-centred and boorish behaviour would reach besides a funeral, but it is everywhere now.

Cast members are often interrupting their own performance to tell the audience to turn their phones off or stop taking pictures.

Shakespeare never encountered such a lack of etiquette. That is because the phone had not been invented. If it had, he most certainly would have.

In his day, stage actors were lucky if they got through the play without being hit by flying fruit. The distracted viewers in the balcony were probably having sex.

Since then, the upper classes have striven to distance themselves from the masses by embracing rules of etiquette to make the lower orders feel unwelcome.

Sitting bolt upright and viewing a show in silence, being one of them.

In some things, the good old days have been vastly improved upon.

Let's not go backwards.

If you must eat and fight and tweet your sexual adventures while out of the house, don't go to the theatre to do it.

Go to the cinema like everyone else.