Equus -- New York 2008
You might not know it from watching him play a boy wizard in the seemingly endless Harry Potter film franchise, but Daniel Radcliffe has grown into his own as an actor. Reprising his London star turn in Thea Sharrock’s uneven revival of Equus, Radcliffe bravely lays himself bare — yes, even doffing his clothes — and brings a high-strung vulnerability to the role of Alan Strang, the unstable stable boy sent to a mental hospital after blinding six horses. The stage novice also outpaces his Tony-winning costar, Richard Griffiths, who portrays the self-doubting psychiatrist charged with unraveling the religious, sexual, and parental psychoses that led to Strang’s violent outburst. While more nimble than he was in London, Griffiths still seems too genial and understated — an approach that tends to highlight the datedness of Peter Shaffer’s 1974 play, with all its emphasis on Freudian analysis and Jungian dream theory.
But when the spotlight is on Radcliffe and his interaction with horses (embodied, as in the original production, by muscular dancers wearing metal masks), the effect is both primal and electric. In their hands, and hooves, the drama surrounding Strang?s equine fixation becomes a real passion play, as much about suffering as deeply felt emotion. B (Tickets: Telecharge.com or call 212-239-6200)