Kevin Spacey is receiving critical acclaim for more than just his scripted performance in the Sam Mendes production of Shakespeare's Richard III. The Oscar-winning actor has received praise for aggressively dealing with misbehaving audience members -- while staying in character.
Several incidents have occurred at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney where Spacey has sought out unruly audience members, but rather than halt the production, Spacey thought it best to deal with the interruptions in character. As the ring of a mobile phone swept through the theatre, Spacey screamed, "Tell them we're busy!" The audience filled with support for Spacey's figurative finger-waving.
The following night, a group was overheard rustling and whispering in the audience, to which Spacey responded by pulling out a laser pointer and singling out the disruptive theatre-goers.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, "Spacey, quick as you like, [he] dipped into his tunic and withdrew a green laser light, pointing it at the offending audience members who, we are told, were suitably chastised as the point - SHUT UP - was wordlessly made."
Spacey has long-made his stance on unwanted audience participation clear. In his role as the artistic director of the Old Vic, which produced this iteration of Richard III, Spacey spoke out against noisy candy wrappers and stated that the theatre is a "phone-free zone."
Not everyone has been pleased with the actor's presence. Critic Bob Carr left at intermission, prior to the fourth wall breaking down, stating: "If you like Shakespeare, don't see this. If you liked Kevin Spacey in American Beauty (1999) don't see this." However, other critics have called his performance "complex and multi-layered..." Whatever your opinion of Spacey's take on Richard III, you have to admire his panache to keep the audience in line.
View a promotional trailer for Richard III below.