Several leading newspapers have reported that the audience at Jamie Lloyd’s Richard III at Trafalgar Studios are spoiling the enjoyment for theatregoers. A criticism that Lloyd has vigorously denied.
The Daily Mail’s Chris Hastings and Peter Henn report: “All eyes may be on Martin Freeman when he brings Shakespeare’s Machiavellian Richard III to life on stage – but for traditional theatregoers, the very worst villains are in the audience. Fans of the Hobbit star have been accused of breaching ‘theatre etiquette’ by cheering the actor’s very first scene, during which he delivers the soliloquy starting ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’. Conventionally, audiences break into applause only at the beginning of the interval and at the final curtain.”
While the Telegraph writes: “Theatre-goers have voiced their frustration that overenthusiastic Hobbit fans are ruining Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Richard III by cheering and clapping at inappropriate times during the performance.”
The Evening Standard: “Hobbit fans ‘ruin’ Martin Freeman’s West End return by screaming throughout Richard III ”
Further articles appear elsewhere online, and while there was some support for the ‘purists’ view of applauding at ‘the right moment’, the overwhelming response to the articles was along the lines of; “if people clap and cheer, it is probably closer to a genuine Shakespeare performance as is possible. This is just how the plays would have been originally performed, not in an unnatural silence!”, and “young first time theatregoers, that is the point, it may be irritating, but if they turn into regular theatre goers job done.
Jamie Lloyd responded via Twitter refuting the claims made in the press articles. “The stories going around about young Martin Freeman fans clapping and cheering at inappropriate moments in #RichardIII are totally UNTRUE…
A few people clapped after the first scene during the first preview. It is not unusual for an audience to clap during scene changes…
It has never happened since and has been completely overblown. Ridiculous. The standing ovations have been instant & from young & old alike.
So great to welcome so many young people & new theatregoers to @TrafTransformed. They’re very respectful of the actors. A patronising story! – Now @EveningStandard is accusing young theatregoers of “screaming throughout” #RichardIII. This is a lie. It just isn’t happening.”
Follow Jamie Lloyd on Twitter @lloydjamie
It seems to be a case of not what you read but where you read it!
If you can get a ticket then get along to see Richard III for yourself, and make your own judgement as to when to applaud…
Monday 7th July 2014