Stars of the stage who’ve reacted to audience distractions

As comedian Michael McIntyre is interrupted by an audience member on the phone, we check out other actors who've responded to audience interruptions

Comedian Michael McIntyre walked off stage during a gig in Darlington this week, according to a member of the audience, because a lady on the front row couldn’t leave her phone alone.  

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Other fans have apologised to the comedian, saying she was “spoiling” the show.

But Michael isn’t the first to find his performance interrupted by members of the audience. Check out these stars who had more than remembering their lines to deal with…

Patti LuPone

Actress Patti LuPone famously ranted at someone who was taking pictures during a Broadway revival of Gypsy.

Mid-song no less.

“STOP TAKING PICTURES RIGHT NOW! YOU HEARD THE ANNOUNCEMENT! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? HOW DARE YOU? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? GET THEM OUT! I WON’T CONTINUE WITH THIS! GET HIM OUT! THIS IS THE THEATRE AND ALL OF YOU, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, EXCEPT FOR THAT PERSON HAS RESPECT, AND I, AND THE REST OF THIS COMPANY, APPRECIATE IT. THANK YOU.”

Perhaps somewhat ironically, someone recorded all of the audio and uploaded it to YouTube.


Kevin Spacey

“If you don’t answer that, I will,” Spacey told an audience member when their phone went off during his performance of legal drama Clarence Darrow. It was opening night after all. Spacey did it in character, and got a round of applause for his efforts.


James McAvoy

James McAvoy halted a West End performance of Macbeth to stop an audience member filming on their phone. Another audience member told the Telegraph that the culprit looked “very embarrassed” by being caught out by the actor. 


Zach Braff

Actor Zach Braff took to the Broadway stage in Bullets Over Broadway (Woody Allen’s first Broadway musical), but found the front row rather distracting. Particularly when they fell asleep. 

But it’s OK. Braff found a novel way to get around the distraction. He sent a can of energy drink to the audience member in question, in the hope it’d perk her up for the rest of the show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESehtE2Jl5g


Hugh Jackman

While starring in A Steady Rain with Daniel Craig on Broadway, Hugh Jackman was interrupted by a ringing mobile phone. He waved away the interruption asking whether the person on the other end of the phone had a better story to tell. 


Richard Griffiths

The late Richard Griffiths is said to have ordered a women to leave the theatre if she couldn’t switch her phone off during a 2005 West End performance. Then in 2006 the actor re-started a scene when a phone rang more than once during a Broadway performance of History Boys. “I can’t compete with these electronic devices,” he told the audience. “I won’t do it again,” he warned.


Helen Mirren

Last year, Helen Mirren shocked a group of street drummers when she stormed out of the nearby Gielgud Theatre in London dressed as the Queen to tell them to keep it down. They’d interrupted her performance in The Audience, for which she earned an Olivier.

“I’m afraid there were a few ‘thespian’ words used. They got a very stern royal ticking off but I have to say they were very sweet and they stopped immediately,” Dame Helen told the Telegraph.

“I felt rotten but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done.”

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp-Tt0L010c