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Review of “Equus” on Broadway

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Equus Playbill
Equus Playbill

Just a heads-up: the below link to the book is an affiliate link. In other words, if you buy the book, I receive a compensation. If you would prefer to purchase the book elsewhere – or not buy it at all — that’s fine, too.


“Extremity is the point.”

So, says Richard Griffith’s psychiatrist character about his new patient, a young man remanded to the custody of a mental hospital after a disturbing attack on horses.

Dr. Dysart utters the line twice in the beginning of the play. But you don’t hear it again after intermission, as he finds himself mired deep into the complex case of his newest client young Alan Strang.

All of the buzz surrounding the original London production of Equus would make the casual observer think that extremity is the point. The lurid crime. The animal abuse. The sexuality. The child perpetrator. The nude scene that wouldn’t look out of place on tubev.sex. And, in the case of this production, the “Harry Potter Naked” news that has propelled it forwards into the general mainstream, with Daniel Radcliffe’s performance making headlines.

But that’s only on the surface. “Extremity” is what makes us look.

Equus Rides Again on Broadway

By Posted on 6 Comments 2 min read 397 views
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Equus stars Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths

It’s not “Harry Potter Meets My Little Pony,” by any stretch of the imagination.

Not only is there a highly-publicized nude scene, but Peter Shaffer’s play “Equus” is a dark, edgy drama.

If you have a vivid imagination and a tendency to be squeamish, you might not want to click on this link about the play.

And if you don’t think you can handle the synopsis but you’re still wondering what the play’s about, here’s a one-line summation.

“Equus” is about psychotherapy sessions with a mentally ill young man who has blinded six horses with a hoofpick.

So, not only is Harry Potter Naked, he plays a troubled character who’s done some shocking things.

So, why do I have tickets? Prurient interest, perhaps?

Honestly, I may have passed because of the fanfare and hysteria over the nudity. But preparing this article gave me an insight that I might get to see a something special.

No – not that something.

I love to watch great drama. Plus, I live a short train ride from New York.

Reviews about the London production have noted that Radcliffe has the acting chops to deliver such a demanding role. The supporting cast in New York also includes stage and screen veteran Kate Mulgrew.

I figure that, if I don’t need at least a glass of pinot noir after the play to soothe my rattled nerves, then I haven’t gotten my money’s worth. I’ll let you know what I think after I see it.

Because great drama is supposed to engage the emotions. Serious drama and fiction have spelunked into the depths of human emotion and behavior for eons.

Playwright Peter Shaffer has said that the play, first produced in 1973, was inspired by a real incident. Scholars have noted deep mythological, psychological and sociological references woven into the play.

My tickets are for late October. And, no, I won’t be taking binoculars for a better view from my seat up in the mezzanine.