The most dramatic Ukip policy isn't anything to do with immigration

It's to do with what people should wear to the theatre

Share

It has been impossible to escape Nigel Farage this week. But in all the coverage and debate of his policies on Europe, immigration et al, no one has mentioned the one Ukip policy of pressing concern to readers of this page — should we dress up for the theatre?

As Farage and Ukip celebrate their European and council election successes, and start to think about drawing up their manifesto for next year’s general election, it is only right to remind them of a clear commitment in their 2010 manifesto to make dressing up for the theatre compulsory. Will that clause surface again in the new Ukip programme?

The issue rumbles on. Mr Farage was asked about it in a recent interview, refusing to comment about dressing up — a sure sign that it is a matter of extreme controversy.

And in The Spectator, Charles Moore, biographer of Margaret Thatcher and former editor of both The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph, weighed in supporting the idea.

He wrote: “It is now almost compulsory NOT to dress up for the theatre, even in the West End. This has had the predictable result that theatre-goers pay less attention, eat and send texts all through the performance.

Although ‘audience participation’ has been theatre orthodoxy for 40 years now, the simplest way for an audience to participate in a production is to dress up. By doing so, they recognise they are part of the performance.”

It’s unclear what Messrs Farage and Moore mean when they say dressing up. Is it suit and tie for men and smart frock for women? Or is it evening wear, bow tie, jewellery and the full Glyndebourne regalia?

Whatever they mean, it clearly isn’t going to happen, unless we are to see the weirdest passage of legislation through the House of Commons, followed by theatre bouncers to turn away the underdressed.

The more reasonable idea of encouragement rather than compulsion is also wrong-headed. It’s not that one can’t thoroughly enjoy dressing up. It can be fun, as has been realised by the organisers of such successful schemes as Secret Cinema, with its young patrons more than keen to put on their glad rags. But what one wears has no effect on one’s involvement in a performance.

Most theatre, like most cinema, should not be an occasion, nor an irregular and glamorous treat, but a constant part of our lives which we take for granted, wearing whatever we feel comfortable in.

Wrong-headed or not, I actually applaud Ukip for wanting to address the issue, and rather hope they keep it in their manifesto. It means that Farage’s party sees theatre as worthy of being considered alongside the big issues of the day. How many of the other parties will have the word "theatre" anywhere in their manifesto?

*********************************************************************************************************************

Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin stormed off stage in Nottingham this week when his pizza-themed parody band was booed and pelted with beer. Culkin’s band The Pizza Underground changes lyrics of Velvet Underground songs to celebrate pizzas. And so “Perfect Day” becomes “Pizza Day”, “Walk on the Wild Side” becomes “Bite of the Wild Slice.”

Hilarious. The audience, having clearly got the “joke”, caused Culkin to bring the gig to an end after just 15 minutes, which sounds about 12 minutes on the generous side to me. It’s a shame that they didn’t enter into the spirit of the themed evening, hold on to their beer, and hurl a few slices of pizza at the stage.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Matthew Warchus has been named as the person to succeed Kevin Spacey as artistic director of The Old Vic in London. The announcement does not mention that Warchus was once, very, very briefly, artistic director of the Old Vic, prior to Spacey taking over more than a decade ago.

Warchus himself didn’t mention this either. Even The Stage newspaper, the theatre bible, only said coyly that there were “reports” back then that Warchus had become artistic director. But all those years ago, I sat next to Matthew Warchus at a lunch and he told me that he was just about to start as artistic director of The Old Vic.

A couple of weeks later it was as if the appointment had never been made. It, and indeed my  lunch, have been written out of history. It’s a mystery, and I’m sure there’s a play in it somewhere, one that the new artistic director of The Old Vic could stage.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform