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Equus with Daniel Radcliffe

Updated on August 23, 2017

Equus - starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths.

Equus the Play has been a hot topic of discussion amongst the theatre community for a long time.

In the Fall 2008, Broadway was graced by Harry Potter stars, Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. They starred in the West End, sell out transfer, of Peter Shaffer's Equus at The Broadhurst Theatre, NYC.

In this article you will find opinion of Equus the play, Equus reviews, and interviews with the stars of Equus, as well as how to get your hands on a copy of Equus the film, as well as the Equus play script and the Equus study guide.

Equus Theatre Poster, featuring Daniel Radcliffe - Isn't it beautiful?

"This is a performance by an actor of real potential," Michael Billington (The Guardian.)

"The emergence of young Dan Radcliffe in the artistic raw, tested as an actor and found equal to a stretching role." Quentin Letts (The Daily Mail)

Alan (Daniel Radcliffe) and his Horses

Alan (Daniel Radcliffe) and his Horses
Alan (Daniel Radcliffe) and his Horses

So, What Did I Think of Daniel Radcliffe in Equus?

I saw this production of Equus, in London 2007. I'll be honest, I thought it was alright, but I wanted more from Radcliffe. I saw the second preview, so his performance was still finding it's feet (there was a rather embarrasment moment at the end, where Richard Griffiths had to show him how to bow!)

I really wanted to love this show, as I was in a production of it with a theatre company a few years previously, but I was left with a strange taste in my mouth. I couldn't help feeling that there are better actors out there who could take on the role. Radcliffe was, for me, just OK. He didn't have enough diversity in his performance, the only diversity was in his vocal projection - quiet, loud, or shouting. Richard Griffiths was superb, as I had hoped. The production as a whole was 'revived' from it's original conception in the 70s, recreating the wired horse masks, as using a minimalistic set.

This show has created huge controversy, primarily due to one scene in Equus that sees Daniel Radcliffe nude; completely starkers, naked, no clothes, nada (and we're not talking just shirtless either)...yes, gasp you might!

What the ITV news say about Daniel Radcliffe's debut in Equus

Equus, Promo Shots featuring Daniel Radcliffe without any clothes

Equus, Promo Shots featuring Daniel Radcliffe without any clothes
Equus, Promo Shots featuring Daniel Radcliffe without any clothes

Daniel Radcliffe gets nude on stage - ...or Harry Potter Gets His Wand Out

The strange taste in my mouth, was scepticism. After seeing Radcliffe's disappointingly bland and shouty performance, I couldn't help feeling that it was stunt casting that gave him the part. Having a name like, Daniel Radcliffe, in a lead role that goes fully naked on stage, is a guaranteed sell out. Who isn't interested to see whether or not he actually takes his clothes off?

I find something awkward about it. I don't know why. I'm not a prude by any means. I only find it distasteful because Radcliffe is so strongly associated with Harry Potter - an icon of children's literature. Millions of children look up to him and adore him...and in the late 2000s he was still a teenager and is appeared naked in front of hundreds of people. It's just, I don't know, kinda weird.

I suppose I also wouldn't mind so much, if it wasn't the topic of conversation every time someone talks about the show. If there's a publicity shot for the show, it's of Radcliffe topless. No one stops and talks to him about the fundamental issues of playing a young teenage character growing up and needing psychiatric care. No one talks about the interesting stage design or the beautiful horse masks. All people seem to care about is Daniel Radcliffe getting taking his clothes off and showing everyone his wand, so to speak.


Is Daniel Radcliffe Right For The Part?

Is it stunt casting? Are there better actors out there? Is Radcliffe too associated with Children's Literature to go naked on stage?

Martin Dysart (Griffiths) and Alan Strang (Radcliffe)

Martin Dysart (Griffiths) and Alan Strang (Radcliffe)
Martin Dysart (Griffiths) and Alan Strang (Radcliffe)

Buy and Read the Script for Equus

Equus
Equus

"An explosive play that took critics and audiences by storm, Equus is Peter Shaffer's exploration of the way modern society has destroyed our ability to feel passion. Alan Strang is a disturbed youth whose dangerous obsession with horses leads him to commit an unspeakable act of violence. As psychiatrist Martin Dysart struggles to understand the motivation for Alan's brutality, he is increasingly drawn into Alan's web and eventually forced to question his own sanity. Equus is a timeless classic and a cornerstone of contemporary drama that delves into the darkest recesses of human existence." (amazon.com)

 

Alan Strang (Radcliffe)

Strang and Dysart

Equus Synopsis and Study notes

*may contain spoilers*

Equus tells the story of a troubled stable lad, Alan Strang, who has an unusual relationship with his horses. Worshipping his god, Equus, it all seems relatively harmless. Then interactions with the stable girl, Jill, takes a course of action that leads him to be submitted to a psychiatric care. Persuaded by his lifelong confident, Dr. Martin Dysart, child psychologist, takes on the boy and begins to unravel what happened, and what led him to brutally attack and blind six horses with a metal spike - all the time dealing with his own demons.

Originally opening as a play in the 1970s, starring Anthony Hopkins as Dysart, Equus has gone on to marvel audiences and inspire discussion. Amazon currently stock a study guide to Peter Shaffer's Equus as a digital download.

Many universities and drama departments study the text and play, as it raises interesting debate about the nature of theatre and rituals, as well as innocence and loss. An intriguing set of characters guide us through this troublesome story. Questions are raised about identity, religion and sex. How did a teenage boy become so ensnared in a faith, to the extent that his staunch beliefs would give him such powerful feelings of guilt and shame, that would lead him to attempt destroying his very own god. Emotionally charged, gripping and captivating. An extraordinary play that will stay with you, even after you've left the theatre.

Alan and Gill

Alan and Gill
Alan and Gill

Alan worshipping his God, Equus (this is not a sex scene)

Alan worshipping his God, Equus (this is not a sex scene)
Alan worshipping his God, Equus (this is not a sex scene)

What other theatre has Daniel Radcliffe been doing since Equus?

Since Equus, Daniel Radcliffe has been busy! Not only did he have to finish off the Harry Potter films, but he has gained a few more theatrical accolades under his belt.

He went to Broadway and starred in the musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. The musical was a super hit and went down very well with critics.

In the middle of 2013, he then went to star in The Cripple on Inishmaan as part of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward theatre, London. Another challenging role, not only by virtue of having to perfect an Irish accent, but also because he had to play his role with half his body contorted into a cripple-like stance. I saw it in June, and it was excellent!

Alan and Gill, the Stable Girl - This is the prelude to Daniel Radcliffe's controversial sex scene that-never-actually-happens in Equus

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What are your thoughts on Daniel Radcliffe and the play, Equus...

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    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 4 years ago from Edinburgh

      @neotony: Thanks Neotony! At first it was weird, rather than Alan Strang, it looked like Daniel Radcliffe had gone to the wrong stage. He was good in Equus though...although no magic spells lol.

    • neotony profile image

      neotony 4 years ago

      it's a little weird for me as i think of him as Harry. This lens, on the other hand, is beautiful!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Well, I guess this is one way to avoid type casting.

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      Well I'm speechless. I really applaud when actors throw off their typecasting. Johnny Depp did it when he was a teen idol. So this is probably a brilliant move on Daniel's part. But little Harry? Oh dear. Thanks for sharing your views. I've never actually seen this movie or stage performance.

    • cinefile profile image

      cinefile 5 years ago

      I have seen the movie but never the play. I enjoy live theater so I think I'd like to see this.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 5 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Heard a lot about the controversy over Radcliffe playing this part. I guess if you're trying to throw off the shackles of Harry Potter, then going naked on stage will do it!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. I am uncomfortable with Daniel in this role but I guess he wanted to break out of the Harry Potter role and show he could do other types of acting. Don't think I'll be seeing it though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I may have to see the play online.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      It felt blatantly commercial to me... using Radcliffe in this role. Excellent review.

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      I haven't seen the Radcliffe revival, but was fortunate to see the earlier Broadway production in the 1970s, which was astonishing (in my opinion). I appreciate your review and the resources you suggest in this lens. Not sure I'd want to see Radcliffe in the part.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lens and review. I was taken aback when I first heard Radcliffe was starring in the play - never could quite wrap my head around it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i love it that dan is willin to step out of the harry potter spot light and express his emotions in this play he is yes known for children icons in harry potter but he is also a grown man in many peoples eyes if he has no regrets then why should we i say go for it reach for the stars dream big but never let anyone put you down ur the best dan keeping on doin the awesome

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      don't know where I have been, never heard of this play! Interesting read...5*

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens (5*) and reviews etc. I agree with the comments about using an actor associated childrens' films for a role like this. I haven't seen the play yet.

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 8 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I read a lot about this play when it was showing in London, but never got to see it. Remember seeing the movie some years ago, though. Great critique and lens. Thanks so much for joining [url=http://www.squidoo.com/groups/hunks]Handsome Hunky Men Group[/url]. 5*s

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Something fishy in Denmark?

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 8 years ago from Edinburgh

      Thanks for your comment Rich, I agree, I'm concerned that Radcliffe is being 'used' and will probably regret 'exposing his soul' at such a young age.

    • RichLeighHD profile image

      RichLeighHD 8 years ago

      You know; I clicked on this lens intrigued to find out what Equus was, and as it turned out I already knew about it (just not the name!) I agree with what you've said here about Daniel Radcliffe and the fact of his appearing naked here actually being a bigger issue than what the play itself is actually all about. I for example had heard about this play, knew that Daniel Radcliffe was in it and appearing naked (and had also come across some rather amusing photoshopped images), but didn't know what the play was about or in fact the name of it. I don't think it's really right that the star of Harry Potter should here be getting his 'wand' out; given the fact that so many children idolise the guy I feel that it's wrong the way the play has been marketed and the way in which Daniel Radcliffe has been used here to attract audiences. I really enjoyed your lens though, loved the pictures too, and it's a definite 5 stars from me. :)

    • aquariann profile image

      aquariann 9 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I had overheard talk of this role, and shuddered a bit. I have never seen or read the play, but what you've shared of it is quite powerful and disturbing. I know Radcliffe doesn't want to be typecast, but ... he's the face of Harry Potter!! Seeing him in Equus just seems creepy.

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 9 years ago

      A brilliant lens. Beautifully laid out. The pictures are striking! I love the wired horse heads.

      I didn't think he would be a strong enough actor for this role. 5 stars from me:) *****

      Christianna

    • profile image

      CosmeticSurgeryIreland 9 years ago

      Oops i had meant to go and see it in the West End. I suppose I will have to fly over to US.

    • profile image

      sheryll 9 years ago

      good lens, I missed it when it was in London!

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 9 years ago

      Oh no... Harry Potter no more...

    • profile image

      tdove 9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • LucyVet profile image

      LucyVet 9 years ago

      Great lens. I am a great Richard Griffiths fan, but it's not really my kind of show.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 9 years ago from Croatia

      Haven't hear of this! Sounds interesting!

    • sanukmak profile image

      sanukmak 9 years ago

      Congrats on a nice lens on what I would think is quite a difficult subject for most people. Great idea though to write lenses on broadway shows.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Okay, that just ruined Harry Potter for me. LOL.

    • profile image

      saraht43 9 years ago

      Not my type of movie, but your lens is well presented.

    • Robyco profile image

      Robyco 9 years ago

      Great review, probably give it a miss myself though.

    • Haveagood1 profile image

      Haveagood1 9 years ago

      I think the next time I go to see a play I'll check with your lenses first!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      Interesting, the play does seem a little strange, I would have to see it to truly understand it I think! Well done lens!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 9 years ago from Edinburgh

      You're right, it is disturbing. But the production is beautifully crafted. Thanks for dropping by :) x

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 9 years ago

      I'm not entirely sure that I want to see this one. The book was greatly disturbing to me.