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And as Sadler's Wells has been mentioned - there was a very unpleasant scene at the Alvin Ailey Saturday matinée. In the Stalls was a family group - 3 year old child (at most) with mum, auntie and granny. The child ate crisps ALL the way through Act 1, sang along and talked loudly. The poor chap in from of them turned round after about 20 mins and really nicely and calmly asked the adults if they could keep the child quiet. Mum burst out laughing and passed his request on loudly to her family, then, to punish him I guess, got her own bag of crisps out of her bag and with maximum noise of crunching and rustling ate those for the rest of Lazarus Act 1, washing them down with cans of coke that were popped open and shared around. The man kept his cool, but when the interval came all the women started shouting at him, accusing him of disrespect, lack of understanding of children, and finally of racism. (He was white, they were black). The usher tried her best to calm the situation, but it was all very ugly. When I went into the foyer, he and the family had surrounded the House Manager, and he was definitely coming off worse.... Because we had seen and suffered almost as much as he had (we were in the Side Stalls just above the fracas) I said my bit to the Manager, and the poor chap, who was shaking by now, nearly burst into tears at having his story corroborated. There are lots of morals to be drawn from this, and in many respects it was an interesting episode (!) as it showed up so many of the ways in which lines can be stepped over and afternoons spoiled. I hope he was ok later - he either left or was re-seated, while the family continued to enjoy the ballet in their own way...

Edited by simonbfisher
punctuation!
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Oh dear that's really unfortunate. I just think that these days some people cannot seem to distinguish between going to a cinema performance and a live theatre performance....not that I'm advocating bad behaviour in the cinema either! 

The irony is that to throw at this man that he didn't understand children is ridiculous as the child was far too young probably to have been at this particular programme in the first place.....and the family should have taken the trouble to find this out.  Under 5's are going to get very fidgety one way or the other if they are not interested/ cannot understand what is going on. However there  may have been a reason why such a young child had to be there that day but  if you understand young children you would know not to give them something as noisy as crisps to eat at least!! They probably knew they had a problem and just expected everybody else to put up with it as well. 

Or may have been part of this assumption by an increasing number of families it seems that public places are just like ones lounge at home!! 

To accuse somebody of racism because they wanted to enjoy the programme without all the noise going on is inexcusable but an easy card to play unfortunately. 

I hope he managed to get re seated but after such an incidence it's hard to get ones concentration back I'm sure. 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, simonbfisher said:

And as Sadler's Wells has been mentioned - there was a very unpleasant scene at the Alvin Ailey Saturday matinée. In the Stalls was a family group - 3 year old child (at most) with mum, auntie and granny. The child ate crisps ALL the way through Act 1, sang along and talked loudly. The poor chap in from of them turned round after about 20 mins and really nicely and calmly asked the adults if they could keep the child quiet. Mum burst out laughing and passed his request on loudly to her family, then, to punish him I guess, got her own bag of crisps out of her bag and with maximum noise of crunching and rustling ate those for the rest of Lazarus Act 1, washing them down with cans of coke that were popped open and shared around. The man kept his cool, but when the interval came all the women started shouting at him, accusing him of disrespect, lack of understanding of children, and finally of racism. (He was white, they were black). The usher tried her best to calm the situation, but it was all very ugly. When I went into the foyer, he and the family had surrounded the House Manager, and he was definitely coming off worse.... Because we had seen and suffered almost as much as he had (we were in the Side Stalls just above the fracas) I said my bit to the Manager, and the poor chap, who was shaking by now, nearly burst into tears at having his story corroborated. There are lots of morals to be drawn from this, and in many respects it was an interesting episode (!) as it showed up so many of the ways in which lines can be stepped over and afternoons spoiled. I hope he was ok later - he either left or was re-seated, while the family continued to enjoy the ballet in their own way...

 

How horrible. I actually think SW/theatres shouldn't allow in children that young anyway; and it sounds as if the adults had no more idea of how to behave than the child did. (Well how would the child know if the adults don't?). That poor man must have had his afternoon ruined.

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3 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

How horrible. I actually think SW/theatres shouldn't allow in children that young anyway; and it sounds as if the adults had no more idea of how to behave than the child did. (Well how would the child know if the adults don't?). That poor man must have had his afternoon ruined.

 

I've seen a number of theatres who "suggest" no children under 5 over the years (unless it's a production aimed at younger children).

 

I can appreciated the issue if you are desperate to see something and can't arrange child care but I think people should still consider other audience members.

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That is awful, I feel for the poor man. The performance would have been ruined for him. And left an unpleasant taste for those who witnessed the whole thing. I hope SW at least gave him a part or full refund, or at the very least vouchers, though after that experience I doubt he will ever return to SW (or at least not to a matinee). 

 

Children that young don’t belong in theatres (with the exception of perhaps pantos or productions aimed at children) and shame on the patents/guardians - not the child’s fault as they don’t know any better. No one should be eating in theatres, let alone crisps. And no one should be abused in this way. And I hate that they pulled a race card when if a white or Asian or whoever person was behaving in that way the situation is the same. 

 

But despite the appalling family, my blame is put on SW. Ushers should be monitoring during a performance to stop this sort of behaviour and be a neutral arbiter so audience members don’t need to get involved and potentially face personal attacks. Where were SW staff? And the fact they (seemingly) allowed this behaviour to continue after complaints made is absolutely shocking. I would have wanted stern words with the family and threats of ejection/permanent bans if the behaviour continued. 

 

This certainly puts me off SW and confirms my last few experiences there. Not to the extent where I wouldn’t go because sometimes I do really want to see things there, but I remember paying for expensive (to me, although not ROH prices of course) stalls seats to see Bourne’s Swan Lake. Whilst not the level of this family, I was surrounded by people drinking fizzy and alcoholic drinks, snacking throughout. Now when I go to SW I will only go for the cheap seats so at least I can feel slightly better in putting up with these sorts of behaviours if I have only paid £10-20 for a ticket. (In fairness this doesn’t occur all the time but more often than not anywhere other than ROH now it seems due to theatres desperate needs to try and increase revenue through food and drinks, pretty much anywhere will let you take this stuff in). 

 

SW really need to step up their standards and not pander to these behaviours, as do other theatres. I really do think food/drink needs to be banned from theatres again, or at the very least train staff to spot and deal with these scenarios and give audience members (seemingly obvious) guidance and reminders around behaviours and respecting other guests. 

 

 

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I stopped going to SW when they started allowing food & drink into the auditorium! I did write to them about it but got an unsatisfactory reply. Don't understand why people can't abstain from eating for, at most, a couple of hours!

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11 hours ago, JNC said:

Ushers should be monitoring during a performance to stop this sort of behaviour and be a neutral arbiter so audience members don’t need to get involved and potentially face personal attacks.

 

This, times a thousand!

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Poor man.  I am really disappointed in how SW handled this. That family should have been chucked out.  They probably bothered many other people too, and their behaviour towards the one person who dared to say anything explains why no-one else did. And to use the old racism chestnut was pitiful.  What those people clearly didn’t understand is that you don’t behave that way in a theatre. It doesn’t matter what colour you are.  Shame on SW for allowing them to remain, and continue disturbing people.  They were probably too terrified to do anything for fear of a social media backlash.  

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I was about 5 rows back in the stalls in the Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday evening.  The rake isn't wonderful but the seats are usually OK. The lady in front of me had her hair piled on the top of her head...

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At one time theatre programmes used to ask ladies to remove their hats. Maybe a similar notice needs to appear requesting ladies,not to wear extreme hair styles!

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In the current ROH magazine there is a nice little interview with Salvatore Scalzo, the front of house manager.  He mentions people giving birth in the foyer, wanting to bring into the auditorium an 'emotional support' rabbit and storing a roast chicken under their seat!

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At last night’s Manon something I haven’t seen before. 

 

Someone takes their phone out at the beginning of the swamp act, takes a picture, and puts it away. I couldn’t believe it! On one level it was actually less disruptive than someone flashing a bright phone screen as the camera screen meant the screen was dark. But the sheer audacity, disrespect to people behind/around for removing the ‘atmosphere’...I really hope this isn’t going to catch on. It would be difficult for ushers to prevent this due to it happening so quickly and also getting to someone sat in the middle. 

 

Another annoyance (more minor) - the lady behind me in high heels had decided to cross her legs. Theatre seats aren’t really designed for this so it meant that every so often the pointy tip of her shoe was in my back!

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4 hours ago, JNC said:

At last night’s Manon something I haven’t seen before. 

 

Someone takes their phone out at the beginning of the swamp act, takes a picture, and puts it away. I couldn’t believe it!


Somebody in the rear stalls lit the entire house up by taking a flash photo just as the curtain was descending at the end, too.

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2 hours ago, RuthE said:


Somebody in the rear stalls lit the entire house up by taking a flash photo just as the curtain was descending at the end, too.

 

Ugh if people are going to do this (which they shouldn’t anyway) at least switch your flash setting OFF in advance (because you’re clearly planning to do this, camera ready!). 

 

I still cant get over someone taking a photo in the *middle* of an act though!!

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I don't hold Bolle responsible for this in any way, but some dancers seem to attract followers who apparently view them as a celebrity first, a dancer second.

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8 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

I don't hold Bolle responsible for this in any way, but some dancers seem to attract followers who apparently view them as a celebrity first, a dancer second.

It isn't so bad when they are worth it (as Bolle is) but I can think of at least one other example where the 'celebrity' followers are having a very adverse effect :(

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Possibly because I've been trying different areas of the house over the past couple of weeks, I have encountered some new, unwelcome 'features'.

I do realise that many people come to the ROH straight from work, but there were some very unpleasant smells coming from 3 sides of me last night. It's not high summer on the tube after all.......! And, with the amount of rain we've had recently, there is clearly no water shortage.

Near me, also, was a someone' who moved into an unofficial standing position to get a better view every time Osipova was involved in the action. When she wasn't, this person didn't watch the stage at all.

I have previously seen little groups of "only clapping Osipova" patrons but I think that I was seated amongst some of them last night - one minute springing into excited action, the next sitting on their hands with disinterested body language. Each to his/her own, of course,  but its feels weird. 

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4 hours ago, capybara said:

... there were some very unpleasant smells coming from 3 sides of me last night....

Oh how appalling!  A few performances ago the people next to me smelled very strongly of garlic, so that I had to put my nose inside the neck of my blouse to get a whiff of Chanel instead every now and then.  In the interval they were discussing the lovely meal they'd had in the Hamlyn bar beforehand, so I guess ROH catering was the culprit here :D  However BO is inexcusable and I'm not sure I could've stayed watching.  Poor you.

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I think strong smells in general are a no no. 

 

This includes overpowering perfume. It could be lovely to them but utterly offputting to me (they make me want to sneeze) - or even if it is lovely sometimes it’s just far far too strong and can be a bit oppressive to anyone sensitive to these types of things. 

 

( @maryrosesatonapin - if you have to be that close to smell yours I’m sure it’s not overpowering so this wasn’t intended for you!)

 

I do try and be understanding though - those who aware they smell bad are probably terribly embarrassed and those who are garlicky/over perfumed etc probably aren’t aware. 

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I’m generally a pretty non allergic person so very lucky however I do have to be careful with some perfumes and (more in Dance changing rooms) some spray type body deodorants ... I never use sprays myself..  as they close my throat up and I can’t breathe!! I think it’s more when being freshly applied though when as severe as this ...but really  strong perfume still can make me feel nauseous. I still use perfume but the softer toilette water versions. 
Going  back  a few years now I once took my German penfriend to the ballet and she had just been to the German shop ( used to be in Knightsbridge not sure if there is one now) and bought some VERY smelly cheese. I was very embarrassed about it but didn’t say a thing as I’m not sure she noticed it but pretty sure anyone within a 10 foot radius probably did. 
A lesson in depositing  any such shopping in the  cloakrooms before the performance! 

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39 minutes ago, LinMM said:


Going  back  a few years now I once took my German penfriend to the ballet and she had just been to the German shop ( used to be in Knightsbridge not sure if there is one now) and bought some VERY smelly cheese. I was very embarrassed about it but didn’t say a thing as I’m not sure she noticed it but pretty sure anyone within a 10 foot radius probably did. 
A lesson in depositing  any such shopping in the  cloakrooms before the performance! 

 

I bet the cloakroom staff will love you for that!  lol

Seriously though, sealed and double wrapped a must surely, before depositing such stuff either in the cloakroom or under your seat in the auditorium. 

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On 18/09/2019 at 04:12, SusanR said:

I stopped going to SW when they started allowing food & drink into the auditorium! I did write to them about it but got an unsatisfactory reply. Don't understand why people can't abstain from eating for, at most, a couple of hours!

 

Seriously? Oh dear. Sign of the times, as the “serious” performing arts try to draw in bigger audiences. Here in Washington, I’ve seen food & drink allowed only at annual WB performances of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theater.

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An example of good audience behaviour  - last night during Manon when Steven McRae went off injured  the whole ROH auditorium seemed  properly concerned and sympathetic, patient whilst matters were sorted, and tremendously appreciative of the dancers (plus the stage manageress, the Director of Ballet, and the orchestra)  in being able, so quickly, to carry the ballet on to its conclusion - only about 25 minutes late in finishing. It was great to hear the applause as the curtain went up on resumption, and as posted elsewhere, there was a standing ovation at the end. 

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16 hours ago, JNC said:

I think strong smells in general are a no no. 

 

This includes overpowering perfume. It could be lovely to them but utterly offputting to me (they make me want to sneeze) - or even if it is lovely sometimes it’s just far far too strong and can be a bit oppressive to anyone sensitive to these types of things. 

 

I usually only apply a small amount of perfume when theatregoing but a few months ago I found myself sat next to someone who smelt fairly unpleasant - and it was a pretty cool day in April - so the only way I could get through the performance was to spray fairly copious amounts of perfume on myself before each act to try to drown it out. (Goodness knows what anyone I was near to for the rest of the day thought of me reeking of rose scent!) I've spotted said person at a number of performances since so they must be a regular attendee & I can only hope that I don't end up sat next to them again in the future.

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4 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I usually only apply a small amount of perfume when theatregoing but a few months ago I found myself sat next to someone who smelt fairly unpleasant - and it was a pretty cool day in April - so the only way I could get through the performance was to spray fairly copious amounts of perfume on myself before each act to try to drown it out. (Goodness knows what anyone I was near to for the rest of the day thought of me reeking of rose scent!) I've spotted said person at a number of performances since so they must be a regular attendee & I can only hope that I don't end up sat next to them again in the future.

 

In these circumstances perfectly understandable!

 

Oh dear. If it’s a regular you almost want to have a word but I suppose there’s no polite way of doing it..! I would maybe go for the odd look and pinching my nose but then it gets a bit too pantomime! If they smell that bad regularly you’d hope a friend or colleague would have a word! 

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56 minutes ago, JNC said:

 

In these circumstances perfectly understandable!

 

Oh dear. If it’s a regular you almost want to have a word but I suppose there’s no polite way of doing it..! I would maybe go for the odd look and pinching my nose but then it gets a bit too pantomime! If they smell that bad regularly you’d hope a friend or colleague would have a word! 

Sounds to me like a problem to hand to the Usher's!!!  

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4 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

Sounds to me like a problem to hand to the Usher's!!!  

 

I feel the ushers would feel a bit uncomfortable with this. It’s one thing to tell someone to stop making noise or taking pictures, another to comment on someone’s personal hygiene which could be taken very badly. The others have simple solutions (just stop doing x), the latter can’t be fixed at that point in time anyway, subject to actually asking the person to leave. 

 

I think it isn’t unreasonable to have certain expectations but I feel it would put the ushers in an awkward position! 

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