Tuesday 16 January 2018

Melissa Whitworth: If you ring Richard III on Broadway your number could be up ...

About two hours in to Sam Mendes’ production of Richard III on Broadway last night, a mobile phone went off. Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, played by Kevin Spacey with all the fury, venom and warped charm the actor could muster, was interrupted by the dulcet tones of an iPhone ringing. A woman rifled madly through her handbag, and then muttered audibly that she didn’t know how to turn it off. It rang on and on.

A ripple of terror washed over the audience members sitting in row J, and beyond, not because the only thing that can make an otherwise civilised theatre-goer go postal is the interruption of a pivotal scene by the digital rendition of Beethoven’s "Für Elise", but because Spacey will go positively bonkers if he can hear it too.

In Sydney, when the same thing happened during a ten day run of Richard III, Spacey broke character, unravelled from the hunched pose of the Duke of Gloucester as effortlessly as he turns from the deformed “Verbal” into Keyser Söze at the end of The Usual Suspects, and yelled from the stage, "Tell them we're busy!"

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