Actor Melody Thornton has apologised to fans after a performance of the Bodyguard at Manchester’s Palace theatre was forced to end early and police were called to deal with two disruptive audience members.
The last 10 minutes of the musical, in which the former Pussycat Dolls star plays the lead role, were axed on Friday night after several members of the audience refused to remain seated and refrain from loudly singing, leading to them being “forcibly removed”.
Speaking in a video posted to her Instagram story on Friday evening, Thornton said: “I wanted to send a really special message to people in Manchester who came to the show tonight to say thank you so much.
“I respect that you paid your money and I am so grateful to everyone who respects the people on stage who want to give you a beautiful show. For everything that happened tonight, I don’t have all of the details, I just am very, very sorry that we couldn’t finish the show. I fought really hard. It feels awful, and I just hope that we see you again.
Ayden Callaghan, who plays bodyguard Frank Farmer in the musical – a role played by Kevin Costner in the 1992 film of the same name – also posted on social media after the show.
The former Hollyoaks actor tweeted: “Theatre pulled the show at the end tonight because of disgusting behaviour. We wanted to carry on but it had become a major incident. I’m really sorry to what was 99.9% a brilliant audience that a few badly behaved individuals ruined it.”
Theatre pulled the show at the end tonight because of disgusting behaviour. We wanted to carry on but it had become a major incident. I’m really sorry to what was 99.9% a brilliant audience that a few badly behaved individuals ruined it. https://t.co/quemi5Jmt5
— Ayden Callaghan (@AydenCallaghan) April 7, 2023
The incident comes amid growing concern about antisocial audience behaviour at venues around the UK, including a performance of Bat Out of Hell in London’s West End last week.
Mobile phone footage from Manchester Palace theatre published by Manchester Evening News shows a woman shouting over the top of the hit song: I Will Always Love You at the show’s finale, before being removed by security staff from the theatre’s upper circle along with a second woman – a move met with applause from other audience members.
The musical had reportedly already been briefly paused during its first act to evict a handful of people who would not refrain from singing. Then, 10 minutes before the finale of the show, “mini riots” and “fights” broke out among several people.
Theatregoers have since taken to social media claiming the show had to be stopped early after audience members began “trying to sing over the cast”. Pictures shared on Twitter show several police vehicles outside the Palace theatre.
Some attenders described what happened as “a riot”, including one who said: “Cannot believe what I’ve just witnessed at the palace theatre watching the Bodyguard. A mini riot after the show was stopped because audience members were trying to sing over the cast. Police riot vans been called in. Chaos.”
Greater Manchester police said: “Officers were called to the Palace Theatre last night after staff reported a number of people in the audience causing a disturbance.
“Two people removed by security staff were spoken to by police and a decision about any further action will be made once the evidence has been reviewed.”
A spokesperson for the theatre confirmed that despite the disruption on Friday, scheduled performances of the show will take place as normal until 15 April.
A statement said: “We are disappointed that the last 10 minutes of the show needed to be cancelled due to disruptive customers refusing to stay seated and spoiling the performance for others.
“We are grateful to our venue teams for dealing with these difficult circumstances in a professional and calm way, and to Greater Manchester police for their assistance.
“Future performances will continue as planned and we ask that customers are considerate towards the cast, fellow audience members and theatre team so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful entertainment on stage.”