Andrew Scott forced to halt Hamlet after spotting audience member on his laptop

To flee or not to flee – that is probably the question a stunned audience member asked himself when he noticed actor Andrew Scott glaring at him during a performance of Hamlet.

Scott, 47, who was cast in the title role in Robert Icke’s production of the Shakespearean tragedy, recalled his shock when he noticed an audience member using his laptop during the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy.

Performing at the Almeida Theatre in 2017, Scott held up the performance until the errant theatre-goer put away his laptop, the award-winning actor revealed during a recent interview.

“When I was playing Hamlet, a guy took out his laptop – not his phone, his laptop – while I was in the middle of ‘to be or not to f***ing be’,” the Fleabag star told the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

“I was pausing and [the stage team] were like, ‘Get on with it’ and I was like, ‘There’s no way’. And he didn’t realise, I stopped for ages,” he added.

Scott said it wasn’t until the woman accompanying the laptop user nudged him that he put his computer away.

The actor was recently recognised for his critically acclaimed one-man performance in Vanya, playwright Simon Stephens’s version of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, during a six-week run at the Duke of York’s theatre in London.

The role earned Scott the Best Actor gong at the 67th Evening Standard Theatre Awards during a star-studded ceremony at the Claridge’s Hotel in central London on 19 November 2023.

Scott told the newspaper he was “really, genuinely thrilled, shocked and surprised” to win the award for the play, adding that it was “really surprising” so many people came to watch it.

“Our producers Wessex Grove decided that they would put something that is a little bit mad and not necessarily commercial into a West End Theatre,” he explained.

“And it was really surprising that so many people came to watch it because it is an unusual idea and it does require an awful lot of hard work from the audience. But we had people saying they’d come from Venezuela and New Zealand to see it.”

Scott co-stars with fellow Irish actor Paul Mescal in Andrew Haigh’s tender queer romance All of Us Strangers, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last August.

The film, based on the 1987 Japanese novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada, earned a staggering 94 per cent critics’ score on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes – meaning that an overwhelming majority of critics’s reviews have been positive.