Singer and actress Melody Thornton has apologised to fans after a performance of The Bodyguard at the Palace Theatre in Manchester was forced to end early and police spoke two disruptive audience members.
The last 10 minutes of the musical, in which the former Pussycat Dolls star plays the lead role, were axed on Friday night after some members of the audience refused to remain seated and refrain from loudly singing.
Speaking in a video posted to her Instagram story on Friday evening, Thornton said: “I wanted to send a really special message to people in Manchester who came to the show tonight to say thank you so much.
“I respect that you paid your money and I am so grateful to everyone who respects the people on stage who want to give you a beautiful show. For everything that happened tonight, I don’t have all of the details, I just am very, very sorry that we couldn’t finish the show. I fought really hard. It feels awful, and I just hope that we see you again.
“The Bodyguard is a great show. It’s a wonderful story and love story. And I know people were out to see just a really beautiful show. I thank everyone who was respectful of the performers, and I’m very sorry for those who weren’t. I hope that we see you soon. That’s it. Thank you love you.”
Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers were called to the Palace Theatre last night (April 7 2023) after staff reported a number of people in the audience causing a disturbance.
“Two people removed by security staff were spoken to by police and a decision about any further action will be made once the evidence has been reviewed.”
Tash Kenyon, a 27-year-old payroll clerk from the Wirral, told the PA news agency that she and her mother Jan Kenyon, a nurse, had gone to see the show for Jan’s 65th birthday.
Tash said: “Before the performance the stewards were walking up and down the aisles with signs saying ‘please refrain from singing along’ – they were incredibly hard to miss. Two announcements were made as well saying ‘please don’t sing’ and that the audience would have a chance to join in in the finale.
“Someone shouted ‘Does this mean we can start singing now?’ Which set the audience off laughing, and that’s when the singing started over the top of the lead’s vocals.
“The show stopped a minute later, the lights went on, and I couldn’t see from my seat but I could hear the commotion from the 2nd tier of seats, and people were looking up shocked.
“I’m pretty sure some women were being forcibly removed. We had to catch the train home, so we decided to just leave, and when we got to the foyer we were told the show had been cancelled and everyone had to leave anyway.
“There was already a police van outside, then two more showed up, one very nearly hitting me and my mum as we tried to cross the road.”
A 60-year-old audience member told PA that following the shouts of ‘can we sing now’ “security intervened and a scuffle broke out and police were called – one police van and two police cars”.
A spokesperson for The Palace Theatre confirmed that despite the disruption on Friday, scheduled performances of the show will take place as normal.
A statement said: “The performance of The Bodyguard at The Palace Theatre, Manchester, was stopped at 9.40pm last night and not continued.
“We are disappointed that the last 10 minutes of the show needed to be cancelled due to disruptive customers refusing to stay seated and spoiling the performance for others.
“We are grateful to our venue teams for dealing with these difficult circumstances in a professional and calm way, and to Greater Manchester Police for their assistance.
“Future performances will continue as planned and we ask that customers are considerate towards the cast, fellow audience members and theatre team so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful entertainment on stage.”
Thornton plays Rachel Marron in the touring theatre production, which follows Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard Frank Farmer as he is hired to protect superstar Rachel from an unknown stalker.