Equus – February 2008


By: Peter Shaffer

Directed by: Thea Sharrock

Venue: Chichester Festival Theatre

Date: Thursday 7th February 2008

It’s strange that I found the previous performance of Equus in London more enjoyable than this one, yet I prefer this performance space – I felt it suited this production more – and the performances were as good, if not better. I think this is an example of the surprise factor. I had a greater sense of wonder and awe the first time round as I hadn’t seen the horse designs before. This time, they were still good, but not such a lift to my system. Some of the magic had gone. Ah well.

Simon Callow played the psychiatrist this time, and Alfie Allen the young man. Simon Callow’s portrayal was much more uptight, and I got a greater sense of someone wrestling with their own demons, never mind someone else’s. He seemed on the verge of a breakdown, and although I didn’t entirely relate to the imagery of the horse’s head, I got the sense of something powerful which he had to come to terms with. Alfie Allen’s performance was very good, and this time I felt that even if the sex had happened in a less stressful place, he might not have got over his obsession. With the more open performance space, I had a greater sense of all the contributing factors to his fixation.

Apart from the cast changes, the only other change I noticed was that when Alan went to blind the horses, the lights went out together, instead of one by one, as they did in the West End. A very enjoyable reprise for a very good production.

© 2008 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me