Bat Out of Hell musical stopped due to disruptive audience member

·2-min read

A performance of the musical Bat Out of Hell in London’s West End was halted for several minutes on Thursday evening due to a disruptive audience member who eventually left the venue before the show continued.

One theatregoer told the Guardian that “it got a bit heated” and that swearing in the audience could be heard over the music. An argument occurred in the stalls after several people had been singing along with the actors. The show came to a stop, the houselights were brought up and the cast left the stage as security staff dealt with the incident and other audience members chanted “out, out, out”.

The disruption at the Peacock theatre comes amid growing concerns about antisocial audience behaviour. A new survey from the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre union (Bectu) shows that almost 90% of theatre staff have experienced or witnessed problematic audience behaviour, with more than 70% stating that it had worsened since the Covid pandemic.

Related: ‘I’ve been spat at’: half of UK theatre staff consider quitting over audience behaviour

A statement from Bat Out of Hell: The Musical said that an audience member had been “talking loudly throughout the performance and [was] being quite disruptive”. When the noise began to affect those around him, he was asked to stop talking several times. “They asked the man to leave but he refused to move for several minutes. Eventually he agreed to leave and the show was able to continue.”

The statement added that it was a particularly disappointing incident as the show is reaching the end of its run. Bat Out of Hell, a rock musical which features Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits, plays its final performance on Saturday night.

More than 1,500 theatre staff took part in Bectu’s survey, with 45% saying that bad audience behaviour had made them consider quitting the industry. This week Bectu called for UK venues to sign up to its new charter to help protect workers.