Score one for the battle for equality of the sexes, because swooning at the site of a display of sheer unabashed manliness is no longer the sole domain of the fairer sex. According to British gossip machine Page Six (so you know it must be true), a man passed-out cold during the January 29th performance of Arthur Miller’s View From The Bridge, in which Russell Tovey is starring alongside Mark Strong and Phoebe Fox. The show is currently running at the Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End.
Not familiar with Russell Tovey? He’s a British actor who has starred in the HBO drama Looking, and the British drama Being Human for 4 seasons. He is also openly gay (not that it matters, just for context for his faintworthiness), and becoming quite well-known as one of those actors who can cross the great sexual divide with a very unique quality to appeal to audiences of any and all persuasions.
So back to the fainting. Apparently at the theatre, there is some seating onstage, right up close and personal with the actors. Apparently on the night in question, the play was well underway and Tovey, Strong, and Fox were in the middle of an emotionally-charged scene in which Tovey removes his shirt. As you do. I know I like to rip my shirt off at the least emotional provocation.
Apparently the sight of the Tovey washboard abs was a little too much for one of the audience members in the on-stage seating, because not long after Tovey let his nips slip, a man collapsed.
Fearing the worst, the audience members seated around the man immediately stared shouting for a doctor. The show came to what I can only assume would have been a screeching halt, and three doctors who were in the audience made their way to the stage to attend the man. For the record, in a theatre that holds upwards of 2100 people, I’m pretty sure that statistically, there had to be quite a few more than three doctors in the audience, so lets just say that there were three doctors who had the wherewithal to come forward and kindly sort the situation out until help arrived. Then again to be fair, I suppose if you’re a proctologist or a veterinarian or something, you would be sitting there in your seat thinking to yourself, “I mean, yeah, I’m a doctor and all, but really all this is kinda above my pay grade….golly, I sure hope that there will be someone else who….oh, wait…..there. Those three. Thank f*** for that.”
Anyway, to quote yet another play by some famous English guy, Alls Well That Ends Well, because the man was taken to hospital in a timely fashion, and appears to have made a full recovery. According to Page Six, the man does suffer from a heart condition, but did not have a heart attack on the night of the performance.
So take that Russell Tovey. You’re good, but you’re not heart attack good. More like smelling salts good.
The victim of Tovey’s hotness, in a very gracious gesture, took to his Twitter account over the weekend to address his collapse, apologising for “disturbing the performance.”
By all accounts, the play resumed once the man got the help he needed, and the performance allegedly went off without a hitch. To give credit where credit is due, something like that has to be quite jarring for the actors on stage, who are all existing in that acutely-focused state where they not only have to remember their lines, but bring truth to a script and a set of characters that must be front-and-centre for the better part of two hours. I cannot imagine that this is easy to do even without the interruption, so let us all pause for a moment and appreciate the fact that they appear to have pulled it off.
“Bridge” holds us with the tenacity of one of those violent, slow-building quarrels that have surely erupted within your own family, poisoning the atmosphere for weeks before and after.
The entire cast — which also includes Richard Hansell and Thomas Michael Hammond — gives full weight to every emotional nuance, until shades of familial love and hate burst into white-hot flame. The production seems to occur in that stark space in memory reserved for scenes so fraught that they have seared away all contextual detail – The New York Times