The West End revival of Equus - in which Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, makes his West End debut – is confirmed to finish on 9 June 2007, at the end of its limited season at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Radcliffe and co-star Richard Griffiths, who plays the young wizard’s vile uncle in the Harry Potter films, have agreed to reprise their performances for a Broadway transfer planned for summer 2008, which will be followed by an Australian production. In the meantime, back in the UK, the production will embark on a UK tour, with Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman taking over from Radcliffe as Alan Strang, the disturbed 17-year-old who blinds horses.

In an interview in the Daily Mail, show producer David Pugh explained why he and his business partner Dafydd Rogers had decided against a West End extension: “We could have replaced Dan and Richard, but the thought of having to do a half-cocked production into the summer didn’t thrill us.”

Equus opened to strong reviews (See Review Round-up, 18 Feb 2007), particularly for Radcliffe’s inaugural stage efforts, on 27 February 2007 (previews from 16 February), but attracted less favourable headlines in the days after the first night when an unwell Richard Griffiths missed several performances and his, reportedly, under-rehearsed understudy Colin Haigh went on in his stead (See News, 6 Mar 2007).

In Peter Shaffer’s play, psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Griffiths) tries to solve the problem of why a quiet 17-year-old with a routine life and loving family would suddenly blind six horses with a hoof pick. What drove Alan Strang (Radcliffe) to such an act of violence? Equus was originally presented by the National Theatre at the Old Vic in 1973, directed by John Dexter, and starring Alec McCowen as the psychiatrist and Peter Firth as the patient.

This new production, the play’s first West End revival, is directed by Thea Sharrock - formerly artistic director of west London’s Gate Theatre, who previously directed Griffiths in the West End in Heroes - and designed by the play’s original designer John Napier, who was lured out of semi-retirement for the job. The cast also features Will Kemp, Jenny Agutter, Gabrielle Ready, Jonathan Cullen and newcomer Joanna Christie.

No further productions have yet been announced for the Gielgud.

- by Terri Paddock