Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Equus - PCB's review

I should start by saying my reason for going had nothing to do with Daniel Radcliffe. If anything, the thought of seeing someone who has been famous since they were 11 in the nude was enough to put me off. But I love the play and was interested to see it properly staged, Richard Griffith is always good value for money and Will Kemp is yummy.

Ultimately, I would have to say this is a gorgeous production of a fascinating play that has been dampened by some average performances. The dancers playing the horses were all riveting to watch, especially Kemp. In his dual role as the horseman whose horse gives six year old Alan Strang his first taste of equine excitement, I was truly impressed how he could run round the stage with 11 stone of teenager on his back and only be mildly out of breath at the end of it. The climactic blinding scene was, quite frankly, astonishing. Jenny Agutter was interestingly stiff and uptight as the magistrate who has tried Strang's case. Joanna Christie was impressive as the stable girl whose innocent attempted seduction of Strang ends so disastrously. Jonathan Cullen and Gabrielle Ready's performances as Strang's parents were utterly horrible though. Horrible.

Daniel Radcliffe has grown up in public. His performances in the Potter movies have steadily improved so I was hopeful that his first appearance on stage proper (I don't really count a cameo in The Play What I Wrote) in such a complex and meaty role, would show up the fact that he has really grown into his talent. Unfortunately, it just showed up that without the artifice of film to hide behind, he ultimately isn't very talented. His Alan Strang was disappointingly one-note and lacking in nuance. I wasn't sat there thinking "fucking hell you're awful" or anything and I wouldn't go as far as saying he embarrassed himself, he just wasn't all that great. What did help was the chemistry he has with Griffith, who was great in a role that he is technically not really right for.

And for the record, my inner Mary Whitehouse was far more appalled to see Harry Potter smoke a cigarette than she was to see him naked. Go figure.


Eric said...

When did PCB become such a prude? :-)

dicky greenleaf said...

Well, we're agreed on the parents! Like you, I thought Griffiths' performance was great. He has an 'ordinariness' which gives an added sensitivity to his reading of the lines. The chemistry between him and Radcliffe was wonderful. I thought Radcliffe's performance was terrific; he brought great vulnerability to Strang's character which at times was incredibly moving. Gorgeous production. And Kemp is, indeed, a very imposing presence with or without the horse head.

chris said...

Still jealous. Cause I'm a perv.