Ned Bennett’s production for the English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East has transferred to the Trafalgar Studios – but what do critics think of it?
Time Out: ★★★★ “Elements of Equus feel a touch dated, stemming from an era when we knew less about psychiatry and thought differently about our children. But Bennett works around that in an exhilarating and disturbing production that always stays true to the thrust of Shaffer’s play: that unfathomable wonders and terrors exist inside our heads, and that there is a tragedy in our need to kill them.”
Londonist: ★★★★ “This version of the dark psychodrama absolutely nails it in a nerve jangling couple of hours that is definitely worthy of a rosette or two.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★★ “My over-riding feeling is that I’ve not seen a more richly achieved production at Trafalgar Studios since its conversion from the Whitehall in 2004. It’s perfect for that constricted main-stage, a boundless pleasure. Giddy-up, go.”
Evening Standard: ★★★ “The homo-erotic overtones of Bennett’s production also emphasise the nasty seventies sexism of the script: the women in it are always to blame, somehow.”
London Theatre1: ★★★ “If anything, this is a production that provides much to talk about on the journey home, and serves as a haunting reminder of the dangers inherent in obsessive devotion irrespective of the object of such intense passion and desire.”
Express: ★★★★ “Not everyone in the audience will relate or respond, but if you allow yourself to try, this is a powerful experience.”
City AM: “Director Ned Bennett brings enough new ideas to his Equus to make this an engrossing, if uncomfortable, evening even if you’re already au fait with the material. And yes. He does get his kit off.”
The Spy in the Stalls: ★★★★★ “However, to praise each element of Equus individually is unfair, because it is the tandem of these parts that makes the production truly divine.”
British Theatre Guide: “This is an imaginative production of Equus, but the shock value the play once carried has gone and its form and content seem a relic of a long time ago.”
The Times: ★★★★ “Time has not been kind to this old warhorse. Peter Shaffer’s 1973 drama of sex, spirituality and equine fixation can seem to 21st-century ears as clod-hopping as a lame carthorse, with its overwrought dialogue and its once-modish psychology mired in Freud and Laing. Yet there’s still something weirdly compelling in its collisions of the erotic and the divine, the civilised and the primal, and in its startling imagery. And with the director Ned Bennett holding the reins, it emerges, in a production from Stratford East and English Touring Theatre, as freshly thrilling.”
Equus continues to play at the Trafalgar Studios until 7 September 2019.