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David Porter » Reviews » Equus

Equus

London Classic Theatre at
Playhouse Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 22 September 2011

As much psychological study as play, Equus is a powerful, yet sensitive insight into a repressed and awkward teenager, facing his development and relationships, hiding in a world of TV commercials.

Locked in a tight, semi-circle of light and minimal blocks, contrasting with the dark openness of the Playhouse stage, psychiatrist (Malcolm James) narrated the case: why a 17 year old youth blinded six horses.

Conflict and tension came from the doctor teasing information from each character, asking, provoking. ‘When you’re in the adjustment business, you’re never short of customers’.

All-seeing eyes and the mother’s (Anna Kirke) Biblical equine images affected everyone. Symbolic horse heads hung in the shadows. Scenes flowed from psychiatrist’s study to stable to the boy’s home. His parents emerged with little glory.

Believing he‘d been given a truth drug, the boy (Matthew Pattimore), retold the attempted lovemaking with the girl (Helen Phillips) and why he blinded the horses. Their nudity reinforced the boy’s vulnerability.

London Classic Theatre brought this horrific, compelling and thought-provoking work to a packed house including many informed and appreciative students, which speaks well for the future of serious drama in the region.

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