Xenia Gregadorias, Argus reviewer, said: "I remember seeing Festen at Theatre Royal, an intense play about a dysfunctional family and incest.

The dramatic impact was somewhat lessened however by the couple of elderly ladies in front of me who couldn't stomach the violence, bad language and simulated sex on stage, and kept venting their disgust, letting out loud gasps of shock and horror, and making a show of covering their eyes."

Faynia Williams, of George Street, Brighton, said: "I used to go every single week in the Fifties when I was at school.

"I would skive off and queue up for the 'gods' under the Colonnade Bar, often on my own. There was so much creative stuff on which served as an inspiration and now I am an artistic director for West End productions.

"I suffer from vertigo so I had to hold on to the rail very tightly in the 'gods' because it was so high but it was worth it - all part of the adrenaline of going to the theatre.

"One thing which really sticks in my memory was how in the interval there was an incredible lady who came up from the bowels of the earth in full evening dress. No matter what the play was - whether it was something experimental or not - she would come up and play the piano and the organ.