An Aug. 16 performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden had to be abandoned when a potato caught fire. Ballet enthusiasts expected San Francisco Ballet to provide a show as sizzling as the August heat at the Royal Opera House last night. What they hadn't counted on was that an overcooked potato in a back-stage microwave would set the alarm bells ringing and force patrons to abandon the Opera House for some 20 minutes while grim-faced firemen hunted the source of a potentially serious blaze.
In the end it turned out to be all smoke and no fire, with the culprit a humble baked potato. The ghost of Lilian Baylis, whose Old Vic theatre gave birth not only to the National Theatre but, ultimately, the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet as well, must have had a good chuckle at all the fuss. She was well known for cooking sausages, her favourite snack, in the wings of the Old Vic, during performances. Fortunately for patrons there were no fire sensors in those days: just a delicious smell of sausages wafting across the auditorium.
by Paul Webb Theatrenow