A disabled pensioner was allegedly thrown out of a performance of Bat Out of Hell because he was ‘clapping and singing’.
Jim Clelland attended the show at Edinburgh Playhouse on Saturday, February 12, with his daughter Hazel Robertson, but a few minutes after the musical started they heard ushers telling audience members to stop clapping and ‘calm down’.
Robertson, 50, from Bathgate, West Lothian, was told off twice and noticed a group of women being asked to leave the theatre by security.
Returning from the bathroom she was astonished to see her 75-year-old dad being kicked out the venue, without his wheelchair.
She told The Daily Record: “Before the show started, there was a great atmosphere and everyone was ready. The music started and people got excited.
“All the songs started coming on that people knew. I was sitting beside my dad, we were clapping our hands along to the songs - like you do when you’re watching a musical.
“But an usher came along beside me and put his hands out and gestured to calm down. “Then the next minute, they were doing it to other people on the opposite seats from us.
“When Bat Out Of Hell came on, you could tell the whole place wanted to erupt but that wasn’t allowed. The ushers came back up again telling people to sit down and stop dancing in their seats.
“A wee while later, I was just singing along when they came down and told me to ‘please calm down’. They then did it again to another group of people. This went on constantly across the whole audience.
“I went to the bathroom and when I was coming back, these four women were standing out in the foyer area and one of them was crying.
“I could hear them saying ‘you’re chucking us out for singing and dancing in our seats? We weren’t even standing up.’ They were also told it was disruptive behaviour.
“I pointed out that it was a musical and people always sing and clap along. The next minute, I could hear my dad’s voice.”
When she went to the bathroom two security guards went up to her dad and told him he had to leave the premises.
Robertson continued: “They stood in front of my dad and when he told them he was trying to watch the show, they asked him to leave.
“They then frogmarched him out of the theatre without his wheelchair. A security guard then came upto me and said my dad was feeling unwell.
“When the attacks happen, I’m stuck inside myself and no one can control or understand me.
“My dad was trying to calm me down but they had to get my husband to come get me. There was no first aider on site before, there was no ambulance called.
“I didn’t have any of my medication with me because I never ever thought I would need diazepam while I was there.
“I haven’t had a panic attack like that in five years. I still suffer but I’m normally able to get them under control quite quickly.
“The security guy did stay with me while my daughter, who is a nurse, was on the phone, talking to me and trying to get my breathing back to normal.”
She added: “I’m absolutely devastated at what has happened. It’s an absolutely disgraceful way to treat people. It wasn’t like we were all jumping up and down. You were literally singing while sat on your seat.
“It wasn’t even loud because you knew someone was going to give you a row, so you were singing to yourself. I just don’t get the logic behind their decision. They just kept saying ‘disruptive behaviour’.
“Any aggressive behaviour was on their part, not the audience members who they kicked out. They were overzealous and completely out of order.
“My dad was so excited to see the show because he doesn’t get the opportunity to get out often. I have fibromyalgia so I can only take him out when I’m well enough.
“This was supposed to be a special day out for him but it was completely ruined. “
A spokesperson for Edinburgh Playhouse said: “In general where audience members disturb others they are asked to moderate their behaviour.
"They are only asked to leave if they refuse to do so or are rude or aggressive towards our staff.
"The Edinburgh Playhouse and Ambassador Theatre Group has a zero tolerance policy regarding aggression to our staff."
For more information on the Bat Out of Hell musical visit the website.
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