Wednesday 24 January 2018

'Benedict Cumberbatch right to scold theatre-goers', says Gate boss Michael Colgan

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch

Gate Theatre boss Michael Colgan has rallied behind actor Benedict Cumberbatch, saying the Sherlock star was "completely right" to chastise fans for filming him on stage.

Cumberbatch, who is currently starring in the Barbican Theatre's production of Hamlet, pleaded with fans waiting at the stage door to switch their phones off.

The actor said there was nothing worse than seeing a "big red light" from an audience member's camera while delivering a Shakespearean soliloquy at the London theatre.

"Cumberbatch is completely right," Colgan said. "Taking out a smartphone and filming is outrageous.

"If you want to watch a film, go to the cinema, not the theatre.


"It's upsetting and embarrassing for the actors and disrespectful to your fellow audience members."

Colgan has had to deal with several rowdy audience members in the past.

In 1999, he had to escort an inebriated woman out of a production of A Street Car Named Desire when she began harassing the actors.

The woman implored Blanche Dubois, played by Oscar-winning Fargo actress Frances McDormand, to "glass" Stanley Kowalski (played by Liam Cunningham) in the neck.

The shouting continued until Colgan intervened.

"It was like a mother lifting a car to save her child," he said.

"I don't know where the strength came from, but I picked her up and very politely escorted her outside the theatre."

Colgan hopes the artistic director of the Barbican won't have to act in a similar fashion.

Cumberbatch is joined on stage by two well-known Irish actors. Ciaran Hinds takes on the role of Claudius while Jim Norton, best known for playing Bishop Brennan in Father Ted, plays Polonius.

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