Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Eck or Eh

Most of the reviews of the current revival of Equus on Broadway have been mixed, and most all of them have confessed to a slight nostalgia, (in at least some small way,) for the original production.

Most, though giving credit to Daniel Radcliffe's adept interpretation, seem to miss Peter Firth's portrayal of the haunted youth in some way or another. Many also think the lead role of the psychiatrist is miscast. Some, like local critic Thomas Garvey, did both.

And just about all are giving voice to the idea that Shaffer's play has some major problems.

Last week, Carl Rossi, a local Boston critic, observed that Stephen Sondheim's "Janus-like" back-to-back triumphs of Follies and Company, "caught lightning in a bottle" for the times in which they were created. He lamented that now that those times are past, the two shows are no longer cultural touchstones, but "mere musicals."

Michael Feingold, writing about the current Broadway revival of Equus, makes the following observation:

The cherries that grew in Chekhov's Cherry Orchard, the old butler Firs tells the younger generation, were formerly made into jam, but over the years, the recipe somehow got lost. I often think old plays have the same problem: The tasty condiment they once provided onstage now often comes out savorless. The recipe's disappeared, and nobody knows how to retrieve it.

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