The programme for The Mikado had a page dedicated to Theatre Regulations which started off with:
‘Would you please try to restrain coughing until the normal breaks in the performance?‘
I only wished that the guy sitting behind us yesterday had noted this for he couldn’t stop coughing during the first half and coughed loudly, he did – in fact so much so that I found it difficult to follow the songs and/or the dialogue on stage. His cough also sounded foul so I found myself leaning forward in my seat, protecting myself from his germs.
People who suffer from chest infections/ bad colds/ bad coughs really shouldn’t come to the theatre. But if they have to because they aren’t able to return and get a refund for their tickets, then at least have the common decency to suck cough sweets and sip water throughout the performance. And if the coughing remains persistent, then please leave the theatre.
Coughing is far more of a nuisance in the theatre than the chiming of digital watches or text message beeps. At most theatres, just before the the curtain goes up, audiences are reminded to switch off their mobile phones. Perhaps they should be also be reminded of what to do when they have the urge to cough.