Laura Carmichael, the star of Downton Abbey, was heckled on the opening night of her new play by Sir Peter Hall, the renowned director.
It was one of the West End's most eagerly awaited debuts.
Laura Carmichael had left behind her familiar role as Lady Edith in Downton Abbey to appear in a new production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre.
But as the 25-year-old delivered the play's final words on its opening night it became clear that one member of the audience was less than impressed.
"Stop, stop, stop," a mystery voice boomed from the stalls. "It doesn't work and you don't work. It is not good enough. I could be at home watching television."
Carmichael soldiered on through the disturbance and managed to get her lines out, as audience members turned to see who had interrupted the performance to deliver such a devastating critique. They were stunned to discover that the culprit was none other than Sir Peter Hall, former director of the National Theatre and a colossus of the theatre world.
The 82-year-old made a swift exit at the end of Lindsay Posner's production, on Friday night, before other members of the audience had left their seats and his coup de théâtre appeared to have escaped the attention of even some of the critics.One wrote that an individual was responsible for "some disturbance in the auditorium" in his review, and added that it "all but ruined the final moments".