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TDS Staffer's Equus Review & Pics

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Our Content Manager, Diana, had the chance to see Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley) in a performance of Equus at the Broadhurst Theater in New York City and was kind enough to write up the following amazing review! Diana also snapped some photos of the theatre and of the playbill, which you can see here and here!

Just click "Read More" to read her review of Equus.

So first and foremost let me state that I am not a writer, I am far from it, so this review will not quite be something you would read in the New York Times. It will loosely follow the notes I jotted down after I got back to my room at 2am but I will do my best to paint a picture of one of the most amazing theatrical performances I have ever seen…Equus.

So let me set the stage for you. The Broadhurst Theater is small and intimate and I do not believe that there is one bad seat in the house (minus the very far sides and back). In the center of the stage are 4 boxes on top of an elevated section. Surrounding the main focus of the stage are 6 pillars that have doors resembling pens for horses. About 8 feet above the stage is the exclusive seating which blend into the stage so that all you see are people’s heads and arms, as most were leaning forward to rest on the banister. As the play progressed I couldn’t stop thinking that these seats really are not all-that exclusive as the play is directed at the main audience and the only extra thing these people get to see is Daniel Radcliffe as he faces away from the audience “sleeping”. (I myself had wonderful seating in the 5th row center.) Everything is painted a dark grey and frankly looks a bit blah. But all this changes as the play begins.

Now first let me hit what I will call the atmosphere of the play, which without a detailed set essentially includes the lighting and which I have to say was breathtaking. I know…lighting. But honestly, the way that the show was lit, the ideas and techniques used to animate the stage were jaw dropping. For instance, having the lights come from below the stage through grating, or the pinpoint lights on the horses heads while in their pens. That right there brought the horses to life and you could honestly mistake them for real by actually having those large dark eyes that horses have. My favorite was the simplest of all. At one point in the show Alan (i.e. Daniel) is describing an experience in a movie theater. And from behind him and Jill (his female companion) comes a spotlight with smoke moving in front that gives the illusions of moving pictures in front of the light like you would see coming from a projector at the back of a theater. From this bleak stage came this amazing display that made you forget that the settings never changed.

When it comes to the actors each person had their strengths. I’ll start with the smaller parts (not that any part was small in that manner) and work my way up to the ones that I know most people reading this care about. Anna Camp, who plays Jill Mason, Alan’s love interest, was so adorable. T. Ryder Smith and Carolyn McCormick, who play Alan’s parents, really put on a good show. In a flash back scene they seem so happy together and yet throughout the play you can feel their distance from each other. They really pull off getting you to understand how they really do love each other and their son, but this act that he has done has just drawn a line in their family and their relationship.

Nugget, in case you don’t know is the main horse character, and his fellow horse pals. The costumes were so simplistic, brown pants and spandex shirt, and yet so intricate, their shoes and headdresses. The shoes lifted the actors about 4 inches off the ground and had horseshoe bottoms. After the curtain call Lorenzo Pisoni, who played Nugget, exclaimed that he had a newfound respect for women after wearing those shoes. The headdresses were so beautiful. Made out of metal and woven they completed the horses costuming. And again, with the lighting, they really brought them to life.

Kate Mulgrew plays Heather Saloman, the judge who sentenced Alan to be rehabilitated in Rokeby Psychiatric Hospital. She is most recognized for her role in Star Trek: Voyager but has starred in other Broadway and West End shows. First let me say that she has the most amazing presence on the stage. All eyes are on her when she walks on and she commands attention as she delivers her lines, but to the point where she also doesn’t overcrowd the other characters. Her interaction with Richard, the only character she interacts with ironically, is compelling. You really get this sense of chemistry between those two and it makes for its own story on the side.

Richard Griffiths plays Martin Dysart, Alan’s psychiatrist. I can honestly say that he stole the show. It amazed me how he can memorize such long monologues and still deliver them as naturally as he does. Even when he flubs a line, which I only knew because I know that monologue from the play, he makes it part of the character. He uses it as a natural mistake from his character and you wouldn’t know a thing. He really becomes his character and after the first thirty seconds of me being excited to see him perform, I become entranced in his performance and never even though about him as Uncle Dursley from the Harry Potter films.

Daniel Radcliffe plays Alan Strang, and aside from all of the reviews that I have read before and the bias that I feel towards wanting him to be good, he really truly was amazing. Yes, when he walked on stage I thought of him being, well, him, but just like Richard he takes that ideal and throws it out the window. He really does show his ability for acting in this role and completely blew me away. The anger and frustration he displayed on stage was so compelling and I felt it. The little ticks he uses to show his anger or being uncomfortable made it all seem so natural. Even while “sleeping” or just “sitting in his room” he was always in character. Whether scratching his back or rolling his neck was his or Alan’s I don’t know; like I said that is the only thing the people in the priority seating saw that no one else did. And frankly, he was hilarious. I know that it is a serious play, mostly disturbing play, but his humor really shined here; he has amazing delivery and tone, there were many times the crowd was laughing so hard. It really gave a great comedic relief to a very serious show.

Might I also add here that Richard and Daniel working together was an act in itself. I am sure that after working together on the West End production and up until this time have helped, but their comedic timing and how they feed off of each other really shows how well that they work together, and I would love to see them in other roles together, and not just in Harry Potter.

All in all the performance blew me away. The story, the performances, the way the show was put together and portrayed as a whole. It all worked so well together and it really was one of the best productions that I have ever seen on Broadway. It really was a privilege to see and I’m glad that I did.

On a side note, the only downfall was during the standing ovation where two young girls decided it would be a great idea to scream out to Daniel like they were at a Harry Potter That was the point at which I wished I had a shotgun. premiere.

On a further side note, after the curtain call and standing ovation, the entire cast led the audience in a auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AID. It is “…the nation's leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization. BC/EFA is the on-going, committed response from the American Theatre community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of this community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $140 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV or HIV-related illnesses.” Due to the actors who play the horse feet hurting (this is where the “new found respect for women” line came into play) the auction lasted only about 2 minutes. Lorenzo, aka Nugget, exclaimed that “tonight we are going to auction off Daniel Radcliffe”. At this point he walked onto the stage carrying a script. Lorenzo then said that he’d tried that before and “it didn’t work so well the last time”. The script for auction was #1 of 6, signed by the entire cast, director and Peter Shaffer, the author of the original play. To get the selling price higher Daniel started posing with it and then exclaimed “I know you just saw the play but it’s a good read too”. Up until this point the price was raising by the hundreds, it had finally stalled at $750 and then a gentleman named Ralph shout out “$1000!”….SOLD!

Also for sale were playbills ($100) and posters ($250) all signed by the entire cast and director. I myself purchased a playbill and being that I was the last person in line I was able to talk to those selling. I was informed that the night before Kate Mulgrew gave her script up for auction, it was autographed and kissed by everyone on stage and went for over $2000. They also told me that Daniel likes to donate his clothing. On the Thursday before he took off his shirt, signed it and it sold for $500. The weekend before it was his pants. They then started to joke with me that they believed it was because he wants new “show clothes” sine every time he does that they have to go out and buy him more clothes for the next night.



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