Having seen the 2007 West End revival of Equus, I had to broach London Classic Theatre’s new production with an open mind. Not taking anything away from the fantastic production values of the West End offering, but it could be said that the show was able to hide behind it’s stellar casting of Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths; whereas this current production is much more exposed.
Michael Cabot, the company’s Artistic Director, made a lot of interesting direction choices throughout the performance. The cast were preset onstage five minutes prior to curtain up and demonstrated what seemed like a pre-show warm up - I’m still working out the relevance of this! Furthermore, the entire acting company were present onstage throughout, which at times I felt drew focus over the action. Paul Green’s lighting was minimalist but often confused with regard to locality. Following Cabot’s decision to have the actors remain onstage, I would have liked to see some more backlight to keep those not relevant in silhouette.
The simple multi-purpose set was made interesting by the six horse heads that framed the action. Kerry Bradley’s lightweight structures looked fantastic, especially when worn by the actors. The cast need to be commended, in particular Malcolm James as psychiatrist Martin Dysart and Matthew Pattimore as troubled teen Alan Strang. There were times when I felt the intensity could have been pushed more and occasionally some of the text got lost, but overall a very good effort.