Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Theatre: Equus (3 Reviews)

The New Theatre opened its production of Peter Shaffer's Equus on March 5, 2010.
The primal and electric story about a 17 year old stable boy and the psychiatrist who seeks to understand the sexual and religious mystery which led the boy to commit an unspeakable and unbelievable act.
Ricky J. Martinez directed a cast that included James Samuel Randolph. David Hemphill, Josh Foldy, Laura Turnbull. Linda Bernhard, Melissa Smith, Stephen a. Chambers, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Vanessa Thompson.

Roger Martin reviewed for Miami
EQUUS, the 1973 Peter Shaffer warhorse, excuse me, has been trotted out once again, this time by New Theatre in Coral Gables and what a good thing this is, for we get to see a blazing start to a new career and a star turn by a veteran.
Ricky Martinez has given us his best show in a long time with solid acting from all, brilliant at times from Randolph and especially Hemphill, who displays a rare emotional range.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
New Theatre's Equus begins with a vision of a beast you've never seen before... In a moment, you realize you are seeing two creatures artfully posed together — Alan Strang (David Hemphill) and a horse named Nugget (Ricardo Rodriguez)... for several long moments it is unclear exactly where Strang ends and Nugget begins or which limbs belong to which creature.
The tableau is not essential to the story... But it is precisely the kind of creepy/lovely touch that director Ricky J. Martinez has added throughout the show, revealing how much life and richness are left in Peter Shaffer's old play.
Martinez's direction is sure, smart, and sometimes thrillingly imaginative. He's done a fine job of imagining his show's visual elements... By using the actors who play the secondary characters to add sound effects from the shadows... Martinez conjures an aura of fathomless mystery, providing a sensual counterbalance to Dysart's learned, hyper-sane patter.
Randolph isn't faking a word... He becomes Dysart from the brain out and becomes him completely.
Yet for all of Randolph's blazing intelligence, New Theatre's Equus will be remembered primarily as David Hemphill's coming-out. His Alan Strang is a career-making performance of shocking intensity...
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
One of New Theatre's best productions in several seasons, Equus benefits first and foremost from director Ricky J. Martinez's smartest decision: He cast wonderful actors as Dysart and Strang. He has also surrounded his leads... with strong supporting players, particularly Linda Bernhard as magistrate Hesther Saloman, and Laura Turnbull and Josh Foldy as Strang's parents.
...Randolph delivers a virtuoso's interpretation of Shaffer's text.
David Hemphill... delivers the breakout performance of his young professional career as Strang. He's utterly convincing as a damaged teen whose entwined religious fanaticism and erotic fascination have led to tragedy. Hemphill's work in Equus is textured, effective, fascinating to observe.
Equus plays at New Theatre through April 4, 2010.

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