Bouncers Set for West End Debut???

No, we’re not referring to the John Godber play. It seems that some West End producers are taking drastic action to control rowdy audiences. According to the Sunday Times, bouncers could soon be a regular fixture at top London shows such as Thriller – Live, Mamma Mia! and Dirty Dancing in order to keep “intoxicated patrons” in check.

Producer Nica Burns, whose stable of theatres includes the Lyric where Thriller – Live is currently playing, told the paper that she is looking at the introduction of permanent front-of-house security to “keep the right balance of fun and order”.

The revelation comes in the wake of a plethora of anecdotal evidence that suggests London theatre audiences are growing increasingly riotous. Back in 2004 a performance of Hurricane, about alcoholic snooker star Alex Higgins, was stopped so that the actor playing Higgins could forcibly evict a drunkard from the audience (See The Goss, 9 Feb 2004).

And, speaking to the Sunday Times, Hannah Waddingham reports that during the recent run of A Little Night Music at the Garrick, an audience member “urinated next to the stage” during one performance (she was singing “Every Day a Little Death” at the time); and an anonymous producer claimed that his patrons have occasionally had to be asked to “stop indulging in overly intimate moments in the stalls”.

But putting the situation in perspective is Brian Conley, who recently took over from Michael Ball as Edna in Hairspray. He told Whatsonstage.com today that, following his years on the comedy circuit, it takes a lot to shake him: “I used to regularly have to call the bouncers in – I once saw them carry a man out still sitting in his chair” he revealed.