Do people die of thirst in the theatre these days? Do the bars pre-show and at interval not cater to their desires?
When I was a kid, an outing to the theatre was a big deal. I don't think they even had bars waaaaaay back then? If they did, you certainly didn't take a drink into the auditorium.
Now, you get packaged sandwiches, coffee and a selection of spirits! We've also seen the introduction of flashing martini glasses at nearly every musical. I first came across those at Priscilla. There they were at Wicked with a green substance and even a Disney musical – Mary Poppins albeit with a blue concoction. Go to enough musicals and you have a set for home!
Is it not possible for people to forgo a drink while watching a performance? We are not at the movies. Crunching packets of chips, nuts, passing along chocolates or whatever is extremely irritating. You can bet your bottom dollar someone will tip it over or there'll be a crash if you're in the bleachers. I have water tucked in my bag in case of a coughing attack, but I can actually go for an hour – even the whole show – without having a Coca-cola.
When I worked front of house for the Adelaide Fringe, patrons were allowed to take in alcohol in plastic cups! So, while tearing their ticket they were informed of this rule, and they either sculled what they had, or went back to the bar for the transfer. We even had a stack of plastic glasses at the ready. Champagne in a plastic glass. Mmmmmm. Classy! There's also the frequent coming out of the performance for a top up. I guess the comedians don't mind.
Spare a thought for the poor FOH people who have to clean up the mess. It's amazing what you find under the seats during the 10 minute clean up turn around until the next act. What people sneak in can be astonishing, no matter how much we policed them in the foyer. Note to FOH workers – wear gloves. Some of the items picked up from the floor are quite baffling? This also leads to spillage and sticky seats or floor for the next lot. Mind you, Fringe dwellers probably don't care as they are three sheets to the wind before even entering the auditorium.
I was astonished when, in Drury Lane, people were eating sandwiches! Then there was the selling of ice-creams at interval. I was in London. This was the West End! You don't do this! How on earth did people sit in those seats in ballgowns? I digress …
Broadway doesn't allow drinks in the auditorium. That's why there is a bar. I haven't been for a while, so stand corrected if this is not true nowadays.
The Regent theatre in Melbourne has a special booth at interval, dispensing ice creams, chocolate bars and drinks.
A popular Adelaide theatre allows hot coffee in the auditorium. Imagine copping third degree burns to the neck from patrons trying to squeeze past you to take their seat.
The foyers of big arena spectaculars turn into cafeterias when patrons who have paid huge amounts of money arrive early to ensure a nearby park and purchase food and refreshments from the countless booths and stake their picnic spaces on the carpet. Even the Vic Arts Centre has takeaway food stalls, but the quality on offer is better.
So, all I'm asking is eat drink and be merry by all means. But, please leave it in the foyer.