THEATREGOERS are being subjected to an increased number of bootleg plays and pirated performances, it has emerged.
According to police data, as many as half the shows in London’s West End are poor quality fakes performed by people pretending to be actors pretending to be characters.
Police Chief Stephen Malley said: “Although people may suspect they’re viewing a knock off copy of a show, they’re unlikely to report it in case it’s legitimate awful theatre that they were just too stupid to understand.
“Theatre pirates are capitalizing on this fear.”
With such a vast range of performances on offer, the theatre pirates can be difficult to turn down.
Theatre fan Wayne Hayes said: “I was on a pub fruit machine when a guy approached me offering Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard and Mamma Mia. I was about to tell him where to go but noticed he was also doing Juno and the Paycock so I bought in.
“The performers were speaking in what sounded like badly-dubbed German, the make-up was grainy and there was no interval. It was terrible.”
Almost all aspects of the theatrical experience are thought to be vulnerable to piracy, including the venues themselves.
Teacher Emma Bradford said: “I was at a matinee of Faust once where the lighting made it impossible to see what was happening and there was no third act. I complained to an usher who turned out to be a cardboard cut-out. We couldn’t even leave in disgust because the exits were fake.
“Even the snacks were counterfeit. I bought my son Darren a Magnum which didn’t even have a stick. It came in a push up tube and tasted of orange.
“What a sick joke.”