play to the gallery

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Related to playing to the gallery: play havoc, play both ends against the middle

play to the gallery

To act, behave, or perform in such a way as to receive as much approval from an audience or spectators as one can get, especially the lowest common denominator among them. I wish the band played more of their new material and didn't just play to the gallery with their greatest hits the whole night. Rather than acting in a way that best suits the role and the play as a whole, he prefers to play to the gallery and soak up the spotlight when he can. She's a great basketball player, but she spends more time playing to the gallery than playing to win the game.
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

 and play to the crowd
to perform in a manner that will get the strong approval of the audience; to perform in a manner that will get the approval of the lower elements in the audience. John is a competent actor, but he has a tendency to play to the crowd. When he made the rude remark, he was just playing to the gallery.
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

Appeal to spectators for maximum approval, as in He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery . In this term gallery refers to the cheapest seats in a British theater and hence the least sophisticated audience. [Late 1800s]
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

If someone such as a politician plays to the gallery, they say things to impress the public and make themselves popular, instead of dealing seriously with important matters. Others were reluctant to allow TV cameras into the House of Commons, because they feared that some members would play to the gallery. Her refusal to play to the gallery eventually won her the respect of her people. Note: The gallery in a theatre is a raised area like a large balcony, that usually contains the cheapest seats. In the past, the poorest and least educated people sat there. Actors and other performers found it easier to get applause from them than from the other members of the audience.
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

act in an exaggerated or histrionic manner, especially in order to appeal to popular taste.
From the mid 17th century the highest seating in a theatre was called the gallery, and it was here that the cheapest seats—and the least refined members of the audience—were to be found. This figurative expression dates from the late 19th century.
See also: gallery, play

play to the ˈgallery

behave in an exaggerated way to attract ordinary people’s attention: The most popular and successful politicians in our history have always known how to play to the gallery.
In a theatre, the gallery is the highest level where the cheapest seats are.
See also: gallery, play
References in periodicals archive ?
In liberal discussions on television talk shows, Gohar Ayub Khan and his like-minded politicians are playing to the gallery on the issue of the new province.
In a way it is full of typical Welsh storylines - miserable, playing to the gallery about the exploited working class (which they weren't), romantic about the rise of the trades unions and a moral tale about the dangers of unionism, in that the tragic hero, Iestyn Mortymer, is killed as an escaping prisoner on the way to jail at Monmouth, leaving a wife and child to starve.
Big Mac is a crowdpleaser who loves nothing more than playing to the gallery.
THERE is a nasty whiff of Judge John Rogers playing to the gallery over his decision not to jail the paedophile downloader Derek Williams.
Dr Scobie says: "If you're always playing to the gallery, acting the fool or whatever, you'll eventually start questioning who you really are.
Captain Amarinder Singh is playing to the gallery rather seriously focusing on his much- hyped mass contact programme, which has been shoddily eroded due to people's unflinching faith and confidence in the policies of the SAD- BJP alliance,"the CM said.
His inclination of playing to the gallery has no parallel despite its negative fall out, he observed.
Review PLAYING To The Gallery by Grayson Perry: Helping Contemporary Art In Its Struggle To Be Understood is published in hardback by Particular Books, priced PS14.
BY PAT NOLAN JACKIE TYRRELL insists that Kilkenny won't be playing to the gallery as the Sky Sports cameras descend on Nowlan Park this evening.
IT may smack of playing to the gallery (well, at least half of it) in these parts.
And the former Sheffield United chief runs the risk of being accused of playing to the gallery by revealing he plans to rename Murray Park either the Moses McNeil or Davie Cooper Academy.
City council leader Nick Forbes, playing to the gallery, tells the Labour Conference that the country's dire circumstances are all the fault of the coalition government and its spending cuts (Evening Chronicle, September 29).
He said in the recent debate in the National Assembly some members of the former ruling party were playing to the gallery as they could have built the dam while they were in power.
ALEX Salmond is playing to the gallery once again with regard to holding a referendum on independence.