chew up the scenery

chew up the scenery

To be exaggeratedly or flamboyantly melodramatic or overly emotional while acting a role, as for television, theater, or film. I hated working with him on that play—every night he'd go out and chew up the scenery so much that he was the only one the audience noticed! I love watching hammy actors chew up the scenery in bad movies.
See also: chew, scenery, up
References in periodicals archive ?
A Man for All Seasons (1966; 8 nominations, 6 wins) Watching Robert Shaw chew up the scenery as Henry VIII, you can't help but think he would have made a fine ``Jaws.
Sizemore may not exactly chew up the scenery, but he certainly enjoys nibbling at it in earnest.