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To expect people to behave 'properly' at the theatre?

(57 Posts)
kittylester Mon 10-Feb-14 10:12:01

Every six months or so, my three daughters and I have lunch together and go to a musical. Yesterday our first such trip for a while because of a rash of babies, we went to see a matinee performance of 'Dirty Dancing', not particularly my choice but they were all really keen.

We had really good seats, in the middle of the stalls, about 10 rows back. The audience was largely made up of women. The whole thing was ruined, for us, by people who had obviously been lots of times before and persisted in talking loudly to each other, joining in with the songs at the top of their voices, swaying with their arms in the air, standing up and whooping loudly.

After DD2 had shushed a group of four women in front of us and been ignored, DD3 tapped one on the shoulder and very politely asked her to be a little quieter where upon the woman turned and told her to 'shut the f* up'.

The worst offenders for swaying were sitting next to me and, when I asked to get out during the interval, complained that I was an f***ing nuisance as she had to pick her [loads of] shopping bags off the floor.

All this behaviour seemed to be exacerbated by the fact that people were allowed to take drinks to their seats and lots of women were coming back with plastic half pint 'glasses' full of wine.

It was impossible to complain to an usher as we were in the middle of a row.

Sorry for the long complicated post but I am really cross angry

Tegan Mon 10-Feb-14 10:25:16

My daughter and her husband stopped going to the cinema for the same reason. We're lucky at our cinema as they don't sell popcorn or anything like that and people are pretty good at turning their phones off [one of my bugbears is seeing the lights from peoples phones when I'm trying to concentrate on a film]. Somebody did talk slightly into the beginning of the last film we saw, so I can understand how annoyed you were, because I felt myself getting all wound up [he didn't continue, thankfully]. At least you can sway your daughters towards a production where this is less likely to happen next time wink. Perhaps you should write to the theatre and tell them they should call it 'singalongadirtydancing' next time.

margaretm74 Mon 10-Feb-14 10:29:05

No, you are not being unreasonable. Perhaps there should be a ban on alcohol except for a glass during the interval.

Mishap Mon 10-Feb-14 10:31:58

We don't do the cinema for the same reason; but we do sometimes go to Flix in the Stix in the village hall, where the behaviour is civilised.

I would have complained to the manager if I were you kitty and said you would not be back.

kittylester Mon 10-Feb-14 10:39:45

I should have added in my rant that DD1 asked the manager why the advertising hadn't said that it was an audience participation event. grin The manager said that it wasn't, so we complained about their 'policing' of the auditorium but there was no offer of a refund or more tickets. Still angry

I've booked the next one!! In April, we are going to see Sadlers Wells 'West Side Story' in Birmingham. [bliss]

Flowerofthewest Mon 10-Feb-14 10:42:11

I remember being refunded by our local cinema because of disruptive behaviour of other people. A nice gesture. They were also asked to leave.

henetha Mon 10-Feb-14 10:44:04

You are completely right to be cross. Those people were totally out of order and being very selfish.

grannyactivist Mon 10-Feb-14 10:44:47

Write to the theatre and ask for a refund. The theatre has a duty to ensure that shows are 'policed' properly to prevent unruly behaviour. If people start to complain and ask for their money back they'll perhaps get their act in order.

gillybob Mon 10-Feb-14 10:46:31

Maybe we are just extremely civilized here in The North grin but I have never some accross anything like this in either the cinema or the theatre either. I know that there are some productions that attract groups of hens and that after downing a few sherbets everyone thinks they sound "just like the original" when infact they sound like a cow farting through a small tooth comb! I think a little bit of singing along is normal for something like Dirty Dancing, but bad behaviour, rudeness and rowdiness? No way. What a shame your afternoon was spoilt. I can't understand anyone paying good money and then talking through the production.

whenim64 Mon 10-Feb-14 10:49:29

Better to watch the film, kitty as Dirty Dancing is one if those cult shows that people are used to joining in with. The noisiest one is The Rocky Horror Show. I went twice last year - it's magnificent, but most of the script, singing and ad-libbing comes from the stalls! Fine if you know what to expect, but there were two women sitting near me at one of the shows who just didn't enjoy the racket. I loved it!

Tegan Mon 10-Feb-14 11:15:14

Strange how men just love an excuse to dress up as well, isn't it wink. I've never been to TRHS; think it needs to be on my tick list [it's always a sellout].

harrigran Mon 10-Feb-14 11:22:08

If I have bought a ticket to see a show I expect to watch it without another persons rendition of the songs. I absolutely hate it when half the audience stand up and wave their arms in the air, appalling behaviour in a theatre.

whenim64 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:00:29

Audience participation has become a growing phenomenon with shows like Dirty Dancing, Grease, Mama Mia and The Rocky Horror Show but the theatre goers wouldn't sung or heckle in other shows that haven't become cults like these shows have. Rude, disruptive behaviour is never welcome, whether it's an audience articulation show or not, but it is worth reading reviews or finding out what sort of musical you're going to see if you don't like those where the audience joins in.

whenim64 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:01:31

Participation not articulation.........what an inventive iPad I have!!

kittylester Mon 10-Feb-14 12:08:25

The main problem we had when was the talking when they weren't joining in and the swaying into my 'personal' space. And, the rudeness!! shock

soop Mon 10-Feb-14 12:12:03

kitty I'm fuming on your behalf. angry and sad at the same time.

gillybob Mon 10-Feb-14 12:20:01

I am making myself do lines ! blush

Marelli Mon 10-Feb-14 12:23:44

My friend and I went to a production of Bleak House at our local theatre. It was spoiled by continual sniggering and guffawing from teenage school pupils seated a couple of rows behind us. At the interval, I sussed out who the teachers were that were accompanying them and complained about the behaviour (the teachers were seated at the very front of the theatre for some reason), and they said they'd deal with it. They didn't, however, so the next day I wrote to the headmaster (I was so angry angry - not like me, really)! I explained how our evening, along with others' in the theatre, had been spoiled and expected an apology. I got a proper dressing-down from the headmaster, saying that the pupils were there as part of their term's literature/drama classes and that I should have been more tolerant of them hmm. He suggested I attended the performance of a Dickens' play that the pupils were going to be doing later in the year (didn't offer free tickets)! Perhaps I should have gone - and hee-hawed all the way through it, and thrown sweets etc to my pals across the rows, as they had.....grin!

Skylark Mon 10-Feb-14 12:35:46

KittyLester, I am sorry your outing was ruined. I think this warrants a strongly worded letter to the management of the theatre. My mother instilled in us the absolute non-negotiable behaviour expected in theatres and at concerts when I was a small child in the 60s - we shouldn't even cough in a concert - and this I passed onto my three children. I remember taking DS1 to a concert in Notre Dame, Paris, when he was 6, and the people in the row behind talking all the way through. How rude, and what a terrible example to set to DS, who behaved beautifully.

KatyK Mon 10-Feb-14 12:37:25

Been to lots of shows here in Brum over the years and never had a problem.
My DD informs me that our local cinema now serve alcoholic drinks and bring them to your seat as required!

grannyactivist Mon 10-Feb-14 12:38:21

when's right, there are some films that encourage audience participation, but our cinema always advertises them in that vein. So for instance when 'Mamma Mia' was on there were two screenings that were advertised as ones where the audience could join in. My friend went to both and said that people were dancing in the aisles and by their seats, singing along etc. I went with the WM so we went to one of the more sedate showings. smile
Marelli, the headmaster was out of order.

Soutra Mon 10-Feb-14 12:40:22

I totally agree that YANBU - one of my pet hates is the fact that some theatre goers have become more like modern cinema audiences i.e. are patently incapable of going 2 hours without nourishment - noisy wrappings on sweets, crisps (!) drinks etc.Oh and checking thier bl**dy phones too! (and that is not just youngsters!)
It is true that some shows lend themselves more to audience participation - I too was on my feet at Mamma Mia but I much prefer the civilised behaviour one can hope to find at the likes of the RSC or National. Could you imagine audience audience participation at "Coriolanus" at the Donmar or Simon Russell Beale's "Lear"? grin

vegasmags Mon 10-Feb-14 12:48:15

I went recently to see Jude Law in Henry V at a London theatre, and I was really hacked off by the behaviour of some of the 'patrons'. There was talking, loud eating of sweets, checking and texting of phones and to cap it all, the young woman sitting next to me was obviously bored, yawning loudly and then proceeded to tip out her handbag onto her lap for a good old sort out of the contents.

whenim64 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:52:46

Getting into your personal space and being rude are never part of audience participation kitty. One thing such shows needs is oversight by theatre staff to ensure it doesn't get out of hand. I won't go in the upper circle to shows like that as the whole structure can be felt bouncing when everyone is up on their feet, but in the stalls is where all the noisy participants are busy heckling and singing. Good fun, though!

Charleygirl Mon 10-Feb-14 12:59:58

I went to my local cinema many years ago with a friend. I do not tolerate fools gladly so had a few choice words to say to the young group behind us, who were eating popcorn noisily and also giving a translation of the film to one of their friends.

Again, there was nobody that I could see "policing" the place. Never again.