Another Facebook Ad, another play booked. This was a play I knew very little about, in spite of it being a famous story, but, I prefer not to know too much about what I’m going to see so I can form my own opinion.
This was my first visit to the Theatre Royal Stratford, in common with the Lyric it was a surprise to find an old fashioned, traditional theatre in a modern building.
Some background on this play, it’s based on a true story, Peter Shaffer wrote the play in 1973 after hearing about the case of a 17 year old who blinded 6 horses in Suffolk. That fact adds a layer of horror to this story.
The play is based around 2 main characters, Alan Strang, the troubled 17 year old and Dr Martin Dysart an equally troubled Child Psychiatrist. The play starts with the Doctor, played by Zubin Varla lying on the stage, which for the most part was bare. The play is as much about the Doctor and his state of mind as that of Alan.
Varla is fantastic, much of his time on stage sees him with monologues which would challenge the very best. It was almost like watching Shakespeare, this is serious stuff. Powerful and thought provoking throughout.
On being asked to take Alan on there is an initial reluctance but the Doctor soon finds a way to understand the troubled teen. Ethan Kai as Alan is mesmerising, his is one of the strongest performances I’ve seen, he elicits so many emotions as his passion and obsession becomes clear.
The portrayal of the horses is quite remarkable, while we’re clearly watching people, their movement would have you believe they really are horses.
I was sat next to a theatre goer who’d seen the play several times and he was clearly impressed and moved by this production. The use of sound and light adds a real power.
This is a touring production, and while every one taking part is worth watching you’ll see 2 incredibly powerful performances, be prepared to be amazed!