City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Equus Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 19 February 2008

Show Details
King's Theatre
David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers and Theatre Royal Bath Productions
Thea Sharrock, Director; Rachel Russell, Associate Director; John Napier, Designer; Morgan Large, Associate Designer; David Hersey, Lighting Designer; Rob Halliday, Associate Lighting Designer; Fin Walker, Movement; Gregory Clarke, South Designer; Marcus Christensen, Associate Sound Designer; Rob Gale, Production Manager; Pamela Bosanquet, Costume Supervisor; Ian Moulds, Productions Electrician and Tour Relights; Sarah Bird, Casting Director; Joel Corpuz, Assistant Choreography; Neil White, Company and State Manager; Claire D'Angelo Smith, Deputy Stage Manager; John Trindle, Nouska Hanly, Assistant Stage Managers; Lesl;ey Huckstepp, Wardrobe Mistress
Simon Callow, Martin Dysart; Fiz Marcus, Nurse; Linda Thorson, Hesther Salamon; Alfie Allen, Alan Strang; Colin Hurley, Frank Strang; Helen Anderson, Dora Strang; Michael Taibi, Horseman/Nugget; Andrew McDonald, Harry Dalton; Laura O'Toole, Jill Mason; Alex Cowie, Julius Agustin Ebreo, Robert Eugene, Nounska Hanly, John Trindle, Horses
Running time: 

Peter Shaffer's play Equus is an exploration of the isolation many adolescents experience during this turbulent period of sexual awakening. Inspired by a true story, Equus (Latin for horse) revolves around the tale of a very disturbed 17 year-old boy who inexplicably horrendously blinds six horses with a metal rod. Shaffer's imagination then takes off and we are immersed in a psychological drama as the boy is bundled off to a child psychiatrist, a friend of the concerned magistrate who is keen for the boy to avoid a custodial sentence.

First performed to critical acclaim in 1973, the content of the play is still riveting as we become immersed in the actions, and analysis, of both the child psychiatrist Martin Dysart - a strong performance by the renowned British actor Simon Callow - and the disturbed boy Alan Strang, sensitively played by Alfie Allen.

But for the full impact of the play to be felt, much praise must go to director Thea Sharrock and designer John Napier. With a miminalistic set, a vital aspect of Equus is that the audiences' imagination is captured by what John Napier would call the essence of the Swiss sculptor Giacometti's ‘gravitas and ... energy which is central to the horse.' To achieve this end, Napier - using original designs from the 1973 production, has created powerful, lifelike metal horse heads which the actors use to resemble the realistic, graceful movements of these animals.

This powerful production, with an erudite script, takes us on Alan Strange's agonising adolescent journey where his parents could be blamed for his deeply disturbing actions - his parents are polarised on religion, the father an atheist, the mother a strong believer - both convincingly portrayed by Alfie Allen and Helen Anderson. As the child psychiatrist gradually manipulates the boy into disclosing his secret we begin to appreciate not only the individuality of this awakening character, but also how Dysart is immersed in a discontented existence.

Times: 7.30pm, til 23 February