As a playwright who has premièred plays on both sides of the Atlantic, Christopher Shinn was puzzled as to the different attitudes from the cast, the directors and the audience:
I wonder if Londoners simply like the theatre more than New Yorkers. Consider: Transitions between scenes that never once felt problematic in London seen as agonisingly long, boring, momentum-stopping crises in New York; plays that felt brisk at 100 minutes in London feeling five minutes too long at 95 in New York; monologues that were full of drama in London feeling strangely inert here. It might be argued that British culture has always viewed theatre as central in a way American culture does not; the British (and I say this as an American) are more literate and verbal and appreciate the emphasis on spoken language in the theatre in a way that Americans, a visually-oriented people, do not. Are the British even less critical because they are paying less?
Generalisations all, but perhaps with a grain of truth. Maybe, too, American actors and directors know that their theatregoers are impatient. They sense a reluctance to give themselves over to someone else’s self-expression – whereas in London, the greater ease at being a part of a group means the actors and director assume a generous audience, not an always-potentially-dissatisfied one.