Arts House Theatre Company's production of Equus opened last night, giving one of the best productions done on campus in the last few years by achieving a hard tension that most student dramas strive for but never quite reach. Equus is about a boy so obsessed with horses that he has gouged out the eyes of five horses with a metal spike. The story is presented from the point of view of the boy's doctor. Though the play's premise leaves room for the creation of a potentially boring, overacted drama, the Arts House production does not fall victim to this. Neither the acting nor the props stand in the way of the dialogue. Jonathan Barnard, an exchange student from the University of Edinburgh, is brilliant as the doctor, a man trying to work through his own internal problems while nursing the boy's injured insides. He brings a frankness to the play which makes the difference between melodrama and acting. His character is trusting to both the boy and the audience. However, most of the cast does not share Barnard's consistency. Andrew Wanliss-Orlebar, a College freshman, plays the boy very unevenly. He sometimes fades into the background, even during important monologues. But he can also ignite the stage with feeling that even Barnard's performance does not rival. The best moments come when Barnard and Wanliss-Orlebar play off against each other. At the end of the first act, the boy describes, with the doctor's prodding, a quasi-sexual ritual he performs with Nugget, one of the horses. Barnard and Wanliss-Orlebar successfully play off each other until Wanliss-Orlebar reaches an intensity seldom seen on stage on this campus. Some of the actors seem too stiff. College freshman Simone Elliott gives a flawless, clean performance as Hesther, the doctor's confidant, but never seems to relax. Equus will continue tonight and Saturday, as well as Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week. All shows are at 8 p.m. in the High Rise East Rathskellar. Tickets are $5 and will be sold on Locust Walk, at the Annenberg Box Office, and at the door.Comments powered by Disqus
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