LES MISERABLES: Do You Hear The People Sing? Yes, And I Wish I Couldn't
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by Carrie Dunn
I like to think of myself as a savvy theatre- and cinema-goer. I can spot an annoying audience member at fifty paces. If he's a sweet-rustler - if she's a loud whisperer - if they're likely to keep their phones on - yeah, I've got you sussed before the lights go down.
And so it proved yesterday when I went to see Les Miserables on the day of general release. I opted for the early afternoon showing at my local cinema, as I assumed it would be less busy with kids still at school. I took my seat, and a group of middle-aged people plus one elderly lady promptly sat behind me.
I subtly peered round. Oh, these were singalongers. No question. I knew already that as soon as the familiar tunes kicked in, this mob would be joining in with gusto.
Getting away from this sort takes skill. Obviously we're British - we can't just get up and walk away, because then they might know that it's them that's forcing us to move. As soon as the lights dimmed, I grabbed my bag and coat and swiftly strode to the other side of the auditorium - it may not be a practical solution in the West End, but it sure as hell works in sprawling suburban multiplexes on a Friday afternoon.
I was right as well. I could hear them singing along merrily every so often - mostly when the vocals on film were quiet and intimate and they hadn't bothered to adjust their volume along with the actors. But it was much less annoying than it would have been had they been singing in my ear for three hours.
So tell me - am I the only one? Have you had the singalongers in your Les Mis showings? How do you handle it? Should we make like Javert and confront them?