Theatre bans comedian after Jewish ‘threat’ row

A London theatre says a comedian whose gig left Jewish audience members feeling “unsafe” and “threatened” will not be invited to perform again.

The Soho Theatre said Jewish attendees were “subjected to verbal abuse” following the end of a comedy gig by Paul Currie on Saturday night.

A Jewish attendee told the BBC that Mr Currie displayed a Palestinian flag and yelled “get out” at a man who objected.

Mr Currie has been approached for comment by BBC News.

In a statement, Soho Theatre said Mr Currie “aggressively demanded” Jewish members of the audience leave his show.

“Such appalling actions are unacceptable and have no place on our stages, now or ever,” it said.

“We will not be inviting Paul Currie back to perform at our venue.”

Jewish theatregoers felt ‘unsafe’ at comedy show
A Jewish man who attended the show with his wife and friends told the BBC on Monday that the incident happened around five minutes from the end of Mr Currie’s performance, after the comedian had unveiled both a Ukrainian and Palestinian flag.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed Mr Currie “encouraged a standing ovation” before questioning why one man had remained seated.

The audience member reportedly said he had enjoyed the show until the Palestinian flag had been displayed.

Mr Currie then “erupted” and told him to “get out”, the man added.

The man and several other people left the show before it finished.

Another audience member who attended Saturday’s show, who also did not wish to be named, told the BBC the incident was “shocking” but that his impression was Mr Currie was making a “political point” about the conflict in Gaza.

He said that to his recollection, Mr Currie did not use the words “Jewish”, “Judaism” or “Zionism”.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday it was aware of the incident and enquiries were ongoing.

Mr Currie’s show Shtoom is described on the theatre website as a “unique, surrealist, dada punk-clown, non-verbal experience”.

The Belfast comedian does not speak in the hour-long show until the very end, instead relying on mime, music and audience participation.

Saturday was the final performance of the three-night run in Soho. He had unveiled the Ukrainian and Palestinian flags at the conclusion of the show on at least one of the previous nights, also encouraging the audience to shout “Free Palestine” on that occasion.

Mr Currie has yet to respond to requests for comment by the BBC. In a post on his Instagram story since Soho Theatre’s latest statement, he shared a photo of a heart in the colours of the Palestinian flag with the caption “Happy Palestine Day”.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which has been assisting Jewish audience members, said the theatre had engaged “positively and swiftly” with the group, and it was “clear that the venue was caught by surprise” as the show was “supposed to be non-verbal”.

“We will be arranging for senior representatives of the theatre to meet with Jewish members of the audience to talk about what happened,” the spokesperson added.

“We are continuing to review legal options in respect of Mr Currie and are discussing the matter with members of the audience.”

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