The Sherlock actor stunned the audience at London’s Barbican theatre when he swore after losing concentration when a carpet jammed in a door on stage.
However the star’s patience was already tested midway through his recital ofShakespeare’s infamous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy – in which a dejected Prince Hamlet contemplates death and suicide – when an accompanying audio track failed and he was forced to restart the speech from the beginning.
After the performance, the 39-year-old actor felt compelled to vent his frustrations to fans outside the theatre , and also asked them to resist filming or taking pictures during the performances in future as he found it distracting.
He said: “It’s been a hell of a week – one damn thing after another.
“The play’s the thing. Not your mobile phone. I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. We started again tonight. I can see a red light in the third row on the right, it’s mortifying.
“There’s nothing less supportive for me to be on stage experiencing that, and I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance you will remember.”
Benedict insisted he wasn’t ‘blaming’ fans, but wanted them to pass on the message to others planning to attend the production.
He added: “This isn’t me blaming you, this is me asking you to ripple it out there.”