“Equus” News RoundUp: Broadway Debut Tonight
Sep 26, 2008
As readers will remember, actor Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) will be stepping onto the Broadway stage this evening with his Harry Potter co-star Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon) for the formal opening of the play “Equus.” Preview performances of the Peter Shaffer play began earlier this month at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City, which will house the revival of “Equus” for its limited 22 week engagement. There are now a slew of reports from the play’s opening online. First up, USA Today has a review of the play online, which gives the play three out of four stars. Of the play and the performances by Radcliffe and Griffiths, the paper notes:
It’s a credit to Radcliffe, his estimable co-star Richard Griffiths and director Thea Sharrock that this Equus transcends the more frustrating elements of the text. In less able hands, Dysart and Alan might be written off as another gifted but troubled shrink and his gifted but troubled charge, but Griffiths and Radcliffe give them rich, real inner lives.
The younger actor evinces Alan’s shield of precocity and hostility, then movingly reveals the tender wounds beneath it. Griffiths’ stringent Dysart defies the sentimentality woven into the heavier passages, enhancing the production’s authority and dignity.
The AP has a report online which also notes Mr. Radcliffe’s performance in the play, saying, in part: “The young actor’s voice is strong, and Radcliffe doesn’t shrink from the physicality of the part. That includes doffing all his clothes during the play’s climactic moments. But then, he literally throws himself into the role in a production chock full of startling, imaginative theatrics.”
The report continues, noting the production as a whole, in addition to the rest of the cast. Quoteage:
Director Thea Sharrock, taking a cue from the original staging, has given the play a compelling, arenalike flavor. Some audience members sit in two tiers above the stage and look down on the action. The story is played out on a physically spare set (designed by John Napier) containing a collection of moveable black cubes that serve as furniture. The exquisite lighting, much of it ominous shadows, is by David Hersey.
Far better are the brief scenes between Alan and the young woman who works at the stable. She’s portrayed by the appealing Anna Camp, whose unaffected naturalness is a welcome anecdote to some of the play’s more emotionally florid family confrontations.
Visually, there are some stunning effects. “Equus” celebrates ritual, particularly in its portrayal of the horses. These splendid steeds are mimed by a half-dozen actors wearing horse masks of caged steel and high steel hoofs. They stalk the stage at various points during the action. Their movements, created by Fin Walker, are sinuous, almost erotic in nature.
Additional reviews are also online from the New York Daily news, which gives the play three out of five stars and calls Mr. Radcliffe “terrific and gives a passionate performance.” Reuters and the NY Sun have reviews online now as well.
Prior to tonight’s performance, Dan spoke briefly about the role, and said the following in regards to fans who have remarked to him the differences between this role and Harry Potter: “I wanted to say, ‘See him the way you should always see him, as a character ” just like Alan.’ I hope to play as many characters as I can. I’ll keep coming back to the stage and film for as long as they’ll have me.”
Update: The New York Times now has an extensive theater review online. It begins by saying:
The young wizard has chosen wisely. Making his Broadway debut in Thea Sharrock’s oddly arid revival of Peter Shaffer’s “Equus’ which opened Thursday night at the Broadhurst Theater, the 19-year-old film star Daniel Radcliffe steps into a mothball-preserved, off-the-rack part and wears it like a tailor’s delight ” that is, a natural fit that allows room to stretch. Would that the production around him, first presented in London, showed off Mr. Shaffer’s 1973 psychodrama as flatteringly as it does its stage-virgin star.
The complete review can be read here.