Martin Freeman has laughed off reports of “screaming girls” applauding his every move during Richard III.
The actor denied getting a reaction like The Fonz on the set of Happy Days during Jamie Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed run.
"It was not true," Freeman told today’s (September 17) press conference for the handover between the play and East Is East.
"I think on the very first preview on my very first exit there was a smattering of applause. Maybe 15 people clapped a bit and that was it."
He added: “From that grew this idea it was like The Fonz coming on - that for every entrance there was this big round of applause, which frankly wasn’t true.
"I would love to have engaged in an argument about that if it had been true, but unfortunately it’s an argument based on a non-truth. It didn’t happen."
Freeman added: “I think people put two and two together. The fact there are a lot of female fans knocking around and put that together with ‘they’re in the audience’ that they must be clapping. But it’s just not true.
"I think we’ve had a lot of first-time theatregoers here and people maybe assumed that they would behave in a certain way.
"I have to say that with very few exceptions the under-25s have been exemplary, they’ve been really, really good.
"Yes, there’s been the odd phone going off, but that’s just as much been the 56-year-olds. The young element in this run has continuously been one of my real pleasures.
"It’s genuinely been one of my favourite things about this production, because it feels alive, it feels like the energy is crackling in the room."
Freeman said again of the applause reports: “Unfortunately that was not true! I’d love to be clapped every time. I would have loved that, but alas no.”
Asked if being part of a limited run was frustrating, Freeman said: “Well, this is the longest run I’ve ever done so this feels like ample time to me!
"Also, we’re all knackered, aren’t we? We’re all nicely tired. I’m quite glad it’s not going on for another three months, I’ll be quite honest.
"It is a very, very enjoyable play to do. I love doing it. But no, this doesn’t feel like a short run to me."
Asked if it is something he would like to revisit when he is older, Freeman replied: “I don’t think I could. I honestly don’t think I could.
"Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve been thinking about people like [Ian] McKellen and other people I know who do big Shakespearean roles when they’re a lot older - I have no idea how they do it.
"I don’t know if it’s a combination of being a dad and trying to do normal home stuff, and doing this in the evening, but I couldn’t see myself doing this in 20 years. It’s doing me in now!"
Richard III runs until September 27 at Trafalgar Studios. East Is East runs from October 4, 2014 to January 3, 2015. Tickets are available now.