Destinations Magazine

It's a London Thing No.45: Overheard in the London Theatre

By Lwblog @londonwalks
It's a London Thing No.45: Overheard in the London TheatreIt’s a London Thing is our Wednesday series in which we turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.

The virtues of the London theater are well and justly documented. But one of the unsung pleasures, one of the great illicit joys of a theater visit is eavesdropping on interval conversations. The following three examples, collected over the years, are particular favourites of our anonymous correspondent in the stalls…
It's a London Thing No.45: Overheard in the London Theatre
Scene One: The Old Hampstead Theatre at Swiss Cottage
While their wives queue up for ice cream, two older gents share a grumble about the tediousness of the play, the actors, the seats, and the theater in general.

Old Gent #1: I have a friend who just walks out you know. Doesn’t stand for it. He just goes home. He’s even walked out right in the middle of the play if it’s been really bad.
Old Gent #2: Well I have a friend who walks out even if the play’s good.
The two men sit in hushed and awed silence, reflecting on this display of philistine machismo until their wives return with the ice creams. The ice creams are licked in a silence more heavy with anhedonia than a dozen scenes from Chekhov as their wives enthuse about the play, the actors, the seats and the theater in general.

Act Two: Comedy Theatre, Panton Street

A deeply harassed North American theatregoer bursts into theater foyer, seizes an usher by lapels and barks:

“Has my wife been in here?!”
Act Three: The Albery Theatre, St Martin’s Lane

Two theatergoers stand before a large photographic portrait of King Lear in the Circle Bar at The Albery. One is appraising the photograph while the other offers a commentary:

“That’s why Olivier was the greatest actor of all time. Look at him in this picture: he’s transformed so utterly into the role of King Lear that he no longer even looks like Laurence Olivier.”
Unfortunately the reason that Lear doesn’t look like Laurence Olivier is because the two connoisseurs are gazing upon a photograph of the King as played by Ralph Richardson.

To follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, to watch London Walks Films on YouTube, to send us an email or simply to catch up on the latest news from, click on the appropriate icon below…
Email me
Bookmark and Share

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog