THREE Five star reviews; Armitage may need some tea and honey


“Richard Armitage, though sounding a bit vocally strained, admirably conveys Proctor’s mix of muscularity and guilt  . . .” From the Guardian’s review of The Crucible.

Like so many of you, I was following Servetus’ posts last night, Press Night for “The Crucible,” reading Tweets and feeling both eager and anxious about any forthcoming reviews from the papers. I knew Richard would be good in this role before hearing word one from any audience members during the previews; I have this sort of child-like belief in him, in his acting prowess and his determination to always bring his best to a performance.  And I saw how much intensity he was projecting even in the still photos from rehearsals.

Still, it was with tremendous relief and a great deal of pride that I read glowing reviews from two of the publications that, shall we say, matter (sorry, Daily Mail, you aren’t one of them). To see Richard get praise for his performance and Farber’s production awarded five stars by both the Times and the Telegraph was—well, it was as exhilarating as RA’s performance was to one of the critics!

But now I am a bit worried about those vocal cords.  Dearest Richard, please take care of yourself and that honeyed voice of yours. Hot tea with lemon and honey, perhaps? Restrict yourself to a whisper when you are off-stage? You have many more performances to give, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on your powerful, passionate portrayal of Proctor . . .  now, more virtual ((((hugs)))) from me, your ardent admirer from Alabama! XXOOXXOOXXOOproctorrighteousanger22completebellow2cropbwedit


30 responses »

  1. I have been sitting here reading all these reviews as they appear and I can’t wipe the grin off my face. I’m so very proud of Richard, he deserves every accolade that comes his way, and I’m rapt for all concerned with the production that it is proving such a success after all the hard work they obviously put into it.
    “Sounding a bit vocally strained…” has me a bit worried too – his voice really gets a workout. I hope he looks after himself.

    • I know!! Last night I was on a heady sort of high, reading the positive tweets and then when the reviews started rolling in, it was “YESS! He did it! They did it!” I know everyone involved put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making this production a reality and am pleased that, for the most part anyway, audience members are receptive of what’s taking place in the Old Vic this summer. Of course, you are *never* going to please them all. And that’s ok. Yep, the mother hen in me wants to make him a nice cuppa and wrap a flannel around his throat and give him some TLC. He deserves it!

  2. Hey, as I told Helen in an email earlier today- I’m convinced that Mr. A keeps a spare set of vocal chords pickled in honey in his dressing room and he puts them in every night, (like other people put their contacts in hehe) before he goes out to meet the fans at the stage door!! 😀

    • He will need that spare set, judging by what I’ve read about his intense vocal performance! Those who have met him often comment on how softly spoken he is, so maybe that is one way he preserves his voice off stage. 🙂

      • His voice IS honey off stage, so soothing, so kind, so warm. He was a bit hoarse on Fri- but absolutely perfectly fine on Sat (and that after 2 performances!!!) and then again on Mon.

        • He’s a honey *sigh*

          I wish I could give you a hug and tell you how happy I am that you got to meet him but this -> (((Judit))) will have to suffice!

        • Hi, were you there for all 4 performances Judit ? After the very first night I was worried he had roared,screamed and cried himself hoarse and wondered how on earth he could uphold such electrifying performances over and over. It would be reassuring if you were speaking from experience.

          • I shall be going again on Monday night so I’ll report back on the state of those precioussss vocal chords Tue morning my (BST) time. I suggested to Angie earlier I might take him a jar of honey (honey for the honey…?) or maybe just a catering-sized carton of throat lozenges.

            How *will* he keep this up until Sep??

            • I have an overwhelming desire to see him hugging a Pooh bear and a big jar of honey. Adorable, yes? That’s what I keep thinking, Wydville, he’s still got the rest of July, all of August and a chunk of September to go . . . take care, darling Richard. Nothing against your understudy, I am certain, judging by the comments on the performances overall, he’s a very competent fellow—but I really think some folks will be sorely disappointed if the one and only time they get to see this play you can’t perform. *sniff* I would be if I were lucky enough to be able to go!!

            • That’s a brilliant idea, wydville. 🙂 I’m sure he’d appreciate the gesture -just like he appreciated the survival pack/kit/whatever he got from a German (?) fan when he was shooting RH in the scorching Hungarian Summer all those years ago!!!

          • She speaks from experience, Feline Female. She has seen the play three times, including the second performance of the day, so she knows first-hand what he sounded like each night.

            • I was really surprised when I talked to him at the stage door on Sat night, I didn’t expect him to have any voice left at all after 8 hours of screaming shouting crying croaking etc. – but he sounded lovely!

  3. I neglected to say that I too am so overwhelmingly proud; it’s as if we are all stakeholders in his success and by all accounts this is a triumph.
    And I’m really really happy that the critics are giving it the thumbs up; I was worried that however objective I was trying to be, my subjectivity was taking over and saying it was brill cos that’s what I wanted it to be.

    • I think it would be hard not to worry that your affection for the actor and desire to see him do well could affect your own reaction and possibly cloud your judgment. That’s perfectly understandable. One of my reactions last night after the positive tweets and then the reviews from the big papers came in was the sense of vindication—look, all you who think us addled Armitage fangurlz purely besotted with his good looks and charisma, the man has real substance, talent, passion for his craft and we aren’t the only ones who find him so!!

      • Spot on, Angie. “Vindication” was deffo a word that came to my mind earlier. That’s what I meant earlier about us all being stakeholders: it’s a triumph for him but also a celebration for all of us who have supported him over the months and years.

  4. I feel like I should write out my recipe for what I call my “witches’ brew”–concocted back in the years when I would have laryngitis for weeks at a time, and in use again when I began getting bronchitis and pneumonia several times a year. And yes, some of those years i was singing professionally, and I was actually able to go on with laryngitis so bad I could hardly speak.

    • Does it involve generous quantities of strong spirits mixed in with honey and lemon?? A highlight of The Brats’ year when younger was my unhappily punctual annual dose of the lurgy when I would completely lose my voice for 48 hours. Husband would make me a “hot toddy”, lethal enough to put a cart horse out of action for a week – but, boy, it set the old vocal chords to rights!

  5. Stephanie, I have had chronic issues with laryngitis and bronchitis in the past myself. The funny thing is, there have been times when I could barely speak, and yet I could sing and sound pretty much normal . . . I wondered if it was a difference in how I was using my voice. ??? Maybe you should give Wydville your recipe and she can deliver it to Richard with his honey Monday night! 😀

  6. If rock singers can do work their vocal chords to the utmost every night, I have faith RA can too. After all, he *is* a rock star.

  7. I’m sure he’s taking care of his voice; I’ve read elsewhere, as well, that it is common for stage actors not to speak at all on the day the theater is dark. Silent Sunday?

    • I am sure you are right, Serv, in spite of the fact of having no chilluns, I am at heart a mother hen (just ask Benny and our pets LOL). I would think a day of vocal rest would definitely be in order for stage actors, especially ones who have to scream, bellow, yell, project even whispers to the galleries and so forth throughout the week. This also reminds me of TCM, who features Silent Sundays on Sunday nights with silent features. It’s actually gotten me into watching more silent films . . .

  8. HI Angie; I wish Stephanie WOULD share her recipe here?? Please? I am asking professionally. I still do some voiceover work, and allergy season makes things rough. Could her recipe be: strong spirits, slippery elm, osha (U.S.) , lemon, honey, something else? A combo.?

    When i heard about RA’s vocalizing in this show, I became VERY concerned, and wondered a.) how he could possibly continue that level of vocalizing 8 times a week – even well-supported, and b.) if I possilby was able to book a ticket round Sept. 11,12 or 13 (in my dreams), would he even still have pipes left at that point? I’m not just being cynical — I saw David Tennant do Hamlet at Stratford in ’08 – thankfully as it turned out, as he had to have back surgery when it transferred to London. (slipped disc.) So, it happens ….

    I am SOOOO HAPPY that all of the reviews are glowing and he (and we) have been vindicated. Have even made small, quiet, professional queries at encouraging a DVD-production. For now, it doesn’t appear to be happening, but hope….. Another hope: A transfer to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) as Patrick Stewart did with Macbeth. Even asked the question on the Old vic’s FB page. No answer. But as RA now lives in NY… Fingers crossed!!! 😉 Would you go?

  9. RA is a force to be reckoned with, in the nicest way. I am so glad the reviews were wonderful. He certainly deserves them. Rave on, Richard.

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