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Booing The Villian

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Musical-Matt
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Booing The Villian#1
Posted: 5/10/09 at 6:24am
I have just read a similar thread on whats on stage but i was thinking in america they are hot on booing the villian ! the little mermiad when faith prince entered for curtain calls as ursula everyone booed and same at shrek when chris sebier came on as farquad booing ! i didnt boo i always cheer everyone ! what we think ?
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: Booing The Villian#2
Posted: 5/10/09 at 6:30am
It's funny you mention that. I'm from the states, and once in a while I'll hear people boo the villain a bit -- generally in curtain calls, but the other night I saw Carousel here in London and I was taken aback by the loud boos for Jigger in the curtain calls. I was going to say it must be a British custom!
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re: Booing The Villian#2
Posted: 5/10/09 at 6:38am
I thought it was a British custom out of pantos - I've never seen a villain in a panto not get booed at curtain call and I think it has just carried over.

I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on tour and also Mary Poppins recently, and both The Child Catcher and Miss Andrews were both rather enthusiastically booed. It's probably most of a thing to do in these types of children/Disney shows.

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re: Booing The Villian#3
Posted: 5/10/09 at 6:59am
I love an enthusiastic boo!!!! It shows a healthy appreciation of the great baddie that's just been portrayed.
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re: Booing The Villian#4
Posted: 5/10/09 at 7:12am
Duh, of course -- from the pantos. Everyone in Britain boos the villain there!

But matt, I'm curious why you thought this was something they are "mad to do" in America?? I think perhaps you got it backwards.
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re: Booing The Villian#5
Posted: 5/10/09 at 7:43am
well at both shows i saw in us everyone was booing ! except me where as when i see musicals in the uk i dont think i have ever heared people boo apart from at chitty and mary ! because i dont go to pantos i know people boo but i dont see it often at musicals but at the 2 i saw in NY everyone booed at shrek and Lil mermaid ! at 9 to 5 was just cheering !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: Booing The Villian#6
Posted: 5/10/09 at 8:03am
Sykes gets booed at Oliver! curtain call, not sure if just because they're the villain or because they are also a bit crap.
Dont think the other villains get booed.
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re: Booing The Villian#7
Posted: 5/10/09 at 10:14am
A great tradition that has been a part of British theatre for ever.
Long may it continue!

Many decades ago there was something called The Gallery Of First Nighters.
This was a group of theatre mad members of the public who would attend a shows first night and depending on the performances on stage would, either, boo hysterically or cheer madly!
Previews of shows only started in the mid sixties with the premier of Tom Stoppard's 'The Real Inspector Hound'. Micheal Codron, its producer, decide to let the public see the production for a greatly reduced price before the critics did. Prior to this critics actually saw the very first performance in public.
The reaction of The Gallery of First Nighters at those opening nights up until then was seen as quit influential on what appeared in the press the following day.
As more and more producers brought in the reduced price previews policy, The Gallery Of First Nighters started to fade out and by the late 1980s had disappeared all together.

Audience booing performances can still be heard frequently at the London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It is quiet unnerving when they start and you feel most uncomfortable for the performers. These are normally just a few individuals so it must have been pretty scary having a whole gallery of between 200 and 400 screaming at the stage all those years ago!







Updated On: 5/10/09 at 10:14 AM
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re: Booing The Villian#8
Posted: 5/10/09 at 12:12pm
I saw an Opera North production of Wagner's Tannhauser in 1997 that got very angrily booed. Act I begins with the "joys of the senses being celebrated" and the director illustrated this with the cast using inflatable dolls; a non-traditional staging and hence the consequential booing.

I also was aquainted with one of the Gallery First Nighters, who died about 18 months ago. He was always very good company; charming and mischievous to the last.
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re: Booing The Villian#9
Posted: 5/10/09 at 12:28pm
how funny
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: Booing The Villian#10
Posted: 5/10/09 at 12:37pm
Im sure i saw a few shows in the early 80s when these guys were in attendance?
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re: Booing The Villian#11
Posted: 5/10/09 at 2:07pm
I didn't know he was one of them until after his death, so don't have any particular stories. I knew him through the Stephen Sondheim Society and he was good company at those events: always ready for a drink and a snigger in the corner. He must have been in his late 70s/early 80s then and sometimes slightly out of it, but all the more endearing for that!

I did hear another story somewhere else about them taking a caged crow into the theatre on a first night and releasing it if they didn't like the show.