Susan Morrison: Fox's hissy fit was oui bit too like De Gaulle

MAMMA announced that she had a wish to see The Crucible. Game on, tickets purchased and drinks ordered for the interval.
Laurence Fox is currently starring as Charles de Gaulle. Picture: Gareth Cattermole/GettyLaurence Fox is currently starring as Charles de Gaulle. Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty
Laurence Fox is currently starring as Charles de Gaulle. Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty

It was great, but it’s finished now, so no point in me giving it the big thumbs-up and telling you all to hoof along, but thanks to the Lyceum and all who sail in her for a truly enthralling evening.

Theatre is always good fun, and these days there’s the added spice of a possible stage-audience full-on rammy.

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Down in that there London, Laurence Fox is currently appearing as Charles de Gaulle, complete with the strange little moustache, and, for all I know, the air of utter disdain the good general usually managed to emanate like a sort of forcefield around him.

De Gaulle took being in a huff to a whole new level. He never really forgave the French for packing in the war effort fairly early on, the Germans for invading in the first place and us for generally hanging on in there, giving him a spare room to bunk up in and the whole D-day, landing in Normandy, and winning the war with the Yanks and the Soviet Union thing, thus liberating La Belle France from the jackboot and securing her freedom to become a destination for booze cruisers, and people who want to retire to the Loire Valley.

Tom Conti is in it, too. No-one seems to have noticed, which is a shame since he’s a terrific actor.

Young Laurence is by all accounts a wonderful actor and suits a kepi. The audience was rapt. Well, most of it was. By all accounts, someone was not. A man in the front row was heckling.

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Mr Fox was apparently being hissed at. What sort of feeble heckle is that? Laurence Fox snapped and ranted at hissing Sid, used a very bad word and stormed off the stage.

He later apologised for dropping out of character. Actually, I don’t think he did. De Gaulle would have had an apoplectic fit if anyone else had dared to sit in the front row of one of his rallies and hissed. Seriously, ’Ol Charles knew how to throw a Gallic tantrum.

Hecklers don’t get last laugh

Heckling happens in comedy, but less often than you’d think, and is almost never worth the effort. You can see why it happens. Great stand-up comedians engage with audiences, luring people into the action, so it’s hardly surprising that occasionally a drunken hen thinks she’s got the right to get her tuppence worth in.

There is a myth that the heckler is a sort of love child of Eric Morecambe and Mae West, lying in wait in the dark, armed with a razor-sharp wit and an impeccable sense of timing. It isn’t.

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There are two main types. One is the young woman who has consumed her own body weight in Chardonnay. She might actually be called Chardonnay. Hers is a strange screech like a seagull caught in a jet engine.

The second is the cocky lad, gelled hair, lairy looks and the overconfidence of the stupid. They tend to get pile driven into the ground until all you can see is his frozen, still cocky smile and the panicked look in his eyes as he realises that his pals have a new nickname for him, gifted by the comedian he decided to take on, which he’ll hear for the rest of his life.

Perfect TV to trump Morse

The fantastic Mr Fox, of course, is him off the telly who stands next to Kevin Whately, right, in Morse, or is it Endeavour? Or it could it be Lewis?

It’s a marvel to me that they haven’t discovered that Inspector Morse’s mum was a dab hand at the detecting and launched Mother, the story of a stoically miserable but plucky landgirl in the 1940s who solves crimes, crossword puzzles and murders set against a back drop of wartime Yorkshire.

Hang on, we’ve got something there.

No need for your little screen off stage

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Young Laurence even apologised for using The Very Bad Word. They are sensitive in England. Very bad words send strong men into fits of the vapours and ladies start clutching their pearls, but on this occasion Middle England has risen to defend Mr Fox.

People who were actually in the audience have said that the man was making weird interjections all the way through the performance. Others have commented on the sheer rudeness of audience members who talk and then get shirty with staff members who ask them to be quiet.

It’s not just nutters hissing and shouting. It’s people using the full design spec of their mobile phones, from straightforward blabbing, to texting, checking Facebook and through to bloody selfies.

Do we behave better in Edinburgh?

Well, last week at the Lyceum someone seriously took the biscuit when the staff had to ask a punter to turn off his laptop.

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