Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Another career development

Having appointed myself the Premier League haircut reviewer (of which more soon), I decided not to stop there and give myself another reviewing job. My new beat? London (mostly) theatre audiences.

So much attention is paid to the play and the players but what about the payers?

Why not give them a review of their own? Marks out of ten, even.

And so to the Young Vic, the other night. The play? Something about a Dane, if I remember right. Couldn't make up his mind. Had problems with his dad. His mum, too. Oh, and his uncle.

Anyway, it was the end, more or less. I hope I'm not giving the game away when I tell you the Dane was dying. It's that kind of play. He was dying in the arms of his pal and his pal wasn't taking it well.

When, suddenly, there was the most terrible sound. The kind of thing you might expect an actorly actor to emote at the moment of death. Only it wasn't. It was a member of the audience.

He'd nodded off and now, at the final moment of the play, he'd started snoring. Well, not just snoring. The biggest, loudest, frighteningest noise. Like he was dying. His head fell back. The noise got louder. The actors paused. I was looking straight at them. They felt like laughing but knew they didn't dare so much as entertain the thought. They paused some more, in a kind of rictus of not-laughing. Then they wondered if he might be dying and, being actors, they thought: how will that play?

While they were considering an entry in their memoirs, I was wondering how quickly I could get it on to my blog. Or should I tweet it. Then I remembered Stephen Fry was in the audience and he'd probably tweeted it already.

The snorer's companion jiggered his arm. He kept snoring, ever louder. She shook him hard. His head fell forward. For a flash, the audience decided he was dead and waited for the shout: is there a doctor in the house? Or perhaps: is there a funeral director?

More terrible noises, fluttering arms movements and, eventually, a return to something like conscious - without, it seemed, his having any idea at all of what had just happened. He might not have died but his female companion looked mortified.

The actors took it up again. They didn't corpse. But one of them quickly became one. They both knew, though, that however good they'd been that night, the audience would not remember them but the man who almost snored himself to death.

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