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Scary Theatregoers

June 4, 2014

Following on from the encounter of a couple of weeks ago, I thought about it some more.


Being honest, as a middle aged single bloke, it’s pretty easy. I just turn up and take my seat beside almost anyone else who isn’t… and I see that “look.” Figuring out whether I’m a threat or not. Usually, like planet Earth, I get rated “mostly harmless,” but seats are often pointedly changed at the interval, unless striking up a conversation downgrades my “harmlessness” rating even further.

I regard the whole thing as an “amusing occupational hazard,” because the fact is, theatregoing is my job, and I’m actually “at work” when all this happens. Unlike them, I’ve often not paid to get in, and am always being paid to sit there anyway. So, no worries!


Still, in an idle moment it got me thinking about other things that scare theatregoers about each other.

So, in no particular order:


1) Arrive drunk. Actually, in any particular order, that has to be number 1. If it isn’t the lack of decorum – the possibility of shouting out / passing out or projectile vomiting, it’s the sheer smell wafting 10 rows either way. And the pain of watching some aspiring young musical theatre star, doing a spot of light ushering, having to deal with it.


2) Arrive with kids. Two or a whole school coachload. The younger the better to frighten you all with, my dear. And you’ll be watched until it’s decided whether you are a “good parent / teacher or a bad parent / teacher,” my pretties.


3) You are fat. Yup, hands up on that one. “Hope the lardbucket isn’t sitting next to me,” goes through the minds of all in those narrow theatre seats. Admit it, go on, you know you have.


4) Sorry, but another easy target. The Quarterback. 6ft each way. In the stalls, the “human wall” is the end of your evening, alas…


5) Less obvious, as it could apply to anyone. Megaphone voice. That whisper makes Brian Blessed sound like a trappist monk on a silence kick. And you can’t predict who has the faulty voicebox until it happens.


6) The brown paper bag. Containing anything from crisps to Maccy D – and those tuna salads in a plastic box are just as bad for pongs too. Crisps have to be one of the worst for noise, though; forget the “leaving the EU” debate – actual legislation to ban Pringles from rooms seating more than 4 people should be enacted, pronto.


7) Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s Superfan. The T-shirt is the giveaway, and the voicebox is a surgical implant (see point 5, above). Worse, they know far less than they think either.


8) And finally, the great unwashed. Literally. Seriously people, as my old gran used to say, “soap costs nothing (because Boots staff can’t see that shelf from the checkout desk).” Theatres could help by providing a sheep-dip, though, for the forgetful…


There’s probably more, but it’s not Halloween yet, and I can’t think of them. Still, a scary enough list to be going on with, I think!


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