Theatrical irritations

By Emma Dawson

Durham theatre-goers share the things they find most annoying when going to see a show.

Harriet-Jade Harrow (2)

“When people go out of character just before they’ve reached the wings.”

– Joe Skelton

“I hate it when pantomimes use exactly the same jokes year after year in the same town. It’s like they think we’re goldfish.”

– Eleanor Gunn

“I saw a stand-up comic in Edinburgh who was really funny, but one guy in the crowd found it even more hi­larious than everyone else watching, to the point where his laughter almost alienated the entire audience.”

– Elgan Alderman

“People who think it is okay to eat things with noisy wrapping. Crisps don’t belong in a theatre!”

– Thea Crawfurd-Svensen

“Updates of Shakespeare that are done purely to be con­troversial. I’ve seen some very good adaptations, such as Hamlet set in a psychiatric ward, but you can tell when directors are doing it for its own sake.”

– Zosia Eyres

“I really hate audience participation as I can’t stop think­ing about who will be picked next and am completely distracted.”

– Connie Bettison

“People who arrive offensively late to the theatre, and then require you to stand and let them into the aisle as they make the loudest, most obnoxious noises and disrupt the play.”

– Kaavya Lakshmanan

“When directors/designers decide to change the setting of the play. If the play has no necessary setting or time period, then shifting the play to a non-period-specific setting is okay. However, sometimes directors decide, for whatever reason, that a play would make more sense in a different location or time, without a good justification (often it comes down to the different costuming being easier!)”

– Eli Huebner

“When the audience at a play give off a very self-con­scious air; they are not here to enjoy the play, but to be seen as artistic.”

– Alexandra Webber-Isaacs

“I dislike it when companies use an inappropriate conceptual idea to try to give a well-known play a fresh angle. For me, a concept should highlight an underly­ing theme of the play, or comment on an aspect of real life (a historical event, religious outlook etc.) through its twinning with the script. Concepts that are tenuous and irrelevant can dominate the play and are detrimental to the performance as a whole.”

– Cressida Peever

“I hate it when the programmes are obscenely expensive.”

– Ralph Weiner

“It annoys me when the company posters promise things and then they just don’t deliver.”

– Lise Lie

“I hate it when people get insulted in the theatre because I whisper too loud. I also hate it when a play doesn’t stop, although we all see where it is going.”

– Stefan Kotz

Illustration: Harriet-Jade Harrow

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