Theatre Review: Equus

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Last night I was fortunate enough to see ‘Equus’ live on stage at Chapter Arts, Cardiff – and I’m so glad I did!

Without knowing the plot or the characters, I was weary as what to expect.  I had only heard that the reviews from the London shows with Daniel Radcliffe, were brilliant and it was one of those plays that was worth seeing. Saying this, I did know that the main character stripped off, so being a big Harry Potter fan, I’m pleased Mr Radcliffe wasn’t in this production!

Written by Peter Shaffer, this drama is based on a conversation he had with a friend. His friend told him of this young boy who blinded six horses, without a seemingly good reason for doing so. Dr Dysart, a psychiatrist,  begins the play by introducing us to the unusual case of Alan Strang, a young man yet seemingly a child like character from word go.

Alan is clearly a confused and troubled young boy who has had an unusual upbringing. His mother read him stories from the Bible, and his father, an atheist, was strict and worried that he never really understood his son.  Throughout the play we see how Alan’s sexual attraction to these horses has effected his life and has sculpted the person he is and how Dr Dysart tried desperately to help him escape his own mindset.

Six cast members acted as horses, trotting elegantly onto stage, wearing plastic wired horses heads. Their noises and movements were so life like it was easy to look past the human bodies and see 6 magnificent horses standing before us.

The intensity of the play had the audience on the edge of their seats, staring at the drama before us. As Alan revealed more and more of what was in his head, the dramatic atmosphere had grown and grown and the excitement was almost too much to bare. What a drama and what a story.

If you ever get the chance to see it, you should definitely take it. Do not hesitate or worry over the slightly awkward nude/sexual scenes, this story is a powerful one and one not to miss.

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