Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey halted his new play on the opening night to snap at an audience member whose mobile phone went off yelling ‘if you don’t answer that I will’.
The House Of Cards actor stars in legal drama Clarence Darrow to celebrate the end of his 10 years as artistic director of The Old Vic theatre in London.
The one-man show sees Darrow, pioneering lawyer of 19th century America, relive some of the experiences which established his reputation as a courtroom giant and civil rights hero.
During a scene in which his character is on trial, defending himself, Spacey was addressing the audience with a passionate plea for his innocence, when a mobile phone began ringing in that section.
The music got louder and louder as the guilty party tried to look innocent, until Spacey finally snapped, in character shouting: ‘If you don’t answer that, I will!’ He received a round of applause.
Following the performance audience members took to Twitter to praise the star for how he handled the interruption.
Mobile phone went off in Old Vic’s Clarence Darrow tonight. Without breaking character Kevin Spacey said: “Either you answer that or I will”
— Nick Clark (@MrNickClark) June 4, 2014
Good to know if you’re an idiot & let your phone ring during a show, the magnificent Kevin Spacey will call you out on it.
— Jessamyne (@jmbriscoe) June 4, 2014
Performing in the round, Spacey had the audience hanging on his every word as he moved between engaging chats and witty anecdotes, to emotional confessions and rousing speeches.
The 54-year-old star’s commanding performance earned him a standing ovation last night.
Spacey has played the character before, on stage in Inherit The Wind and 22 years ago in the PBS film Darrow.
He said: ‘Clarence Darrow was a unique and courageous man. Several of my favourite actors have played Darrow… Henry Fonda, Orson Welles and Spencer Tracy.
‘Wanting to get up on my beloved Old Vic stage in our 10th anniversary season was also important to me. And taking on a play that I feel very close to seems right.
‘Finally, throw in that I’ve never done a one-man play, or performed in the round before, and this production offered me two firsts. Plus, you know I love a challenge.’
The production is directed by Thea Sharrock, who made the Christmas special of Call The Midwife.
Spacey, who has appeared in several Old Vic productions during his decade’s tenure, including Richard III and The Philadelphia Story, is stepping down as artistic director at the end of this year. He will be replaced by Matthew Warchus.