As fights and heckling hit two London shows, are audiences out of control?

The Crucible play (The Crucible play handout)
The Crucible play (The Crucible play handout)

WHAT’S going on in London theatres? Audience members have been reporting another spate of poor behaviour by people in the seats nearby. On Saturday night, police were called to the Dominion Theatre to take four rude punters out of Grease the Musical, delaying the second half. There was a loud cheer when the 20-minute stand-off concluded.

Down the road on Shaftesbury Avenue, there was also a ruckus at the Gielgud Theatre during a performance of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which has transferred from The National. Jeremy Brier KC observed two fights during the show from his seat. “First, a fight breaks out as couple in aisle seats refuse to stand to let people pass them. Later, different fight as people accuse a couple of talking through the play,” he said. Brier was surprised, as he thought the audience for such a high-brow play would be a “thoughtful crowd”. The Gielgud were approached for comment.

In April we reported on violence and vomit in the West End, after police were called to a Manchester musical. One usher told us they had to break up a fight between a man and woman.

Some put the bad behaviour down to pandemic-induced amnesia about good etiquette. But the last lockdown was more than two years ago. Have people just lost their manners?

Sir Keir likes a freebie

Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final (Getty Images)
Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final (Getty Images)

Everyone likes a freebie, but Sir Keir Starmer likes them more than most. A new piece by OpenDemocracy reckons Starmer has taken more gifts than all Labour leaders since 1997 combined, worth nearly £30,000. The Arsenal fan accepted four tickets with hospitality to Tottenham v Arsenal worth £1,600, and also went to Chelsea.

He took a freebie to Doncaster Races worth around £3,000 from Arena Racing, a box at Epsom worth almost £4,000, as well as an Adele gig and two Coldplay concerts. Sir Keir’s salary is roughly £150,000.

Maya’s high-flying Insta boyfriend

Maya Jama holiday snap (Maya Jama Instagram)
Maya Jama holiday snap (Maya Jama Instagram)

Maya Jama has a better Instagram boyfriend than many. The presenter posted some pictures from her trip to Greece, with one of a romantic dinner. And it seems the snapper was rapper Stormzy, with whom she has reunited four years after their split. Fans are excited to see the pair back together. One wrote online: “Tonight, on Love Island... Stormzy makes a surprise entrance back into the villa.”

While many were stuck due to air traffic control chaos, the duo got home via helicopter and private jet. But not everyone was so lucky. Fran Cutler, PR to the stars, posted: “Stuck in Ibiza... anyone with a PJ?”. Anyone?

Costumes out for carnival

Singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock shone at Notting Hill Carnival on Monday. Behind the decks on Sunday were Idris Elba and DJ Toddla, while actor Micheal Ward rode a bus. The brilliant Lily Allen, who is now sober, said she “dipped in”.

Elsewhere, the final festivals of the summer played out. Idris Elba went to All Points East, where a busy weekend saw The Strokes and Haim hit the stage. Before a Sandringham gig, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey planted a tree in the nearby Royal Gardensin an initiative by Heritage Live to move towards a more sustainable way of producing big outdoor events. In Margate, artist and Evening Standard columnist Tracey Emin was joined by a devilishly dressed pal at her Summer Fair near her studios there.