Equus – Intense, dark and forbidding
The award-winning director Ned Bennett has created an awe-inspiring revival of Peter Shaffer's 1973 play, Equus. It's on at the Trafalgar Studios for a limited 9 week season, and it's about to burst onto the West End scene with a vengeance. This is dark drama at its very best.
What's the story? Six horses have been mutilated with a metal spike. We know who did it, but why? Psychiatrist Dr Martin Dysart is tasked with finding out the reasons behind 17 year old Alan Strang's hateful, cruel actions, and he ends up playing the role of a detective. He discovers more about Alan's world than he wants to, a place of warped sexuality and off-key religious worship. Eventually he starts to doubt himself, and even question his own motivations. What, after all, does it actually mean to be 'normal'?
It's a truly shocking plot, and this production has already gathered a host of 5 star reviews on tour. It looks a lot like this one's going to be big in the West End, a joy for lovers of serious theatre.
The cast that created the Stratford East show reprises the Trafalgar Studios transfer, and that means you're in for a real treat. Ethan Kai, who stole the show in Goats at the Royal Court Theatre, plays the troubled teen Alan Strang. Zubin Varla, of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyceum Theatre fame, plays the equally troubled shrink Martin Dysart. Ira Mandela Siobhan, who made short work of Feast at The Young Vic, portrays the Young Horseman and Nugget, and the talented Keith Gilmore, who wowed audiences in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe, plays Harry Dalton, the Nurse, and a Horse. Norah Lopez Holden is Jill Mason and a Horse, and we also have the brilliant Robert Fitc, Ruth Lass, and Syreeta Kumar on board.
These days Peter Shaffer is a 'Sir', a popular award-winning playwright who has crafted a raft of highly successful plays including the magical Amadeus, which won both a Tony Award and an Evening Standard Drama Award for Best Play, followed by a top scoring movie of the same name. It won the 1985 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Director Ned Bennett's revival of Equus is just the latest in a string of successes. Trained as a director at the Royal Court, LAMDA and National Theatre, he has been involved in a number of award-winners including Yen, the Bruntwood Prize-winning play that amazed audiences at the Manchester Royal Exchange, and Octoroon, an Evening Standard Award winner. He's also responsible for the remarkable multiple award-winning Pomona.
Walk this way for a theatrical experience to remember.
Who is this show for?
This show is perfect for people aged 14 or more.
What to expect:Acting
Recommended for:Anyone (0%)
Dating from a time when psychology was thought to hold the secrets to the human mind and to be capable of solving all aberrant behaviour, Equus can seem a little clumsy and simplistic at times, like a psychological Six-Million Dollar Man ("Gen'lmen, we can rebuild him!"), but it is staged with such brio and passion that you can forgive its rather dated script. It's heady stuff even now, so must have been very shocking in its day (whether or not the nudity featured). Certainly unique and challenging, with very strong lead actors and imaginative design and lighting.
Reviewed on 08 March 2019 by Andrew, London, United Kingdom