Last night I went to see Noises Off at the Old Vic. I've seen the play before, back in the time long time ago when I used to go to the theatre a lot. I think that it was Cambridge amateur theatre which irrevocably broke my enjoyment of the form, and now I go about once every five years, just to check if I'm missing something.
This revival of Frayn's classic farce has got impressively positive reviews. I suppose it's just the sort of comfort food people want in this uncertain period. It made me smile quite a few times, and even laugh once or twice. This was a profoundly alienating experience given that the people around me were in the almost continuous throes of uncontrollable fits of laughter.
I would be prepared to accept that I'm lacking something about certain sorts of audio-visual entertainment. I can't suspend disbelief in actors. I can't watch them mess about without thinking, is this really a way for an adult to earn a living? I'm very over-sensitive to people who love themselves too much while also needing constant, forceful validation from outside sources (a psychological condition not unknown in academic circles also). I suppose it's an unfair assumption about what actors are like, but I can't quite get past it.
But anyway, in my experience, if you want to laugh out loud watch the episode of New Girl where she decides to have have sex with her boyfriend. If you want to sit in a cramped hot space wondering what you're missing, the theatre as an art form is by no means dead. And why not -- the exploration of alienation and cultural disjunction is a popular theme in modern art. Hurray! (And it beats reading another Chuck Palahniuk novel.)