You can expect a new section here on the blog from now on called “Starperformances”. It will be a more focused review of, in my opinion, the star of each performance I see.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard about Daniel Radcliffe making his stage-debut as mentally unstable teenager Alan Strang with an obsession with horses. There’s also the nudity thing, and taking into consideration the kid is only 17, I had mixed feelings about that. How would a teenage actor that’s used to, first of all, acting with most of his clothes on deal with having to bare it all in front of nearly a thousand people eight times a week?
Very well it appears. Though someone managed to pour half their drink down my neck after part one, leaving me smelling of Eau de Beer for half the performance, I found myself rather impressed with Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal of a highly distressed boy. I do realise it’s a bit of an unfair comparison, considering Daniel’s age and experience compared to Richard’s, but I do feel that he spent a lot of his time onstage in the shadow of Richard Griffiths. However, before I need to seek shelter for flying daggers and axes, I’d like to point out that I do see fantastic potential in this young actor.
It takes a lot of balls (so to speak) to do a role this emotionally charged and baring (in both meanings of the word). I can imagine Daniel wanting to move away from ‘the Harry Potter image’ and make a name for himself without having that title hanging over his head. The good thing in that respect, for me, is that I didn’t think, “That’s Harry Potter playing an insane kid.” Daniel Radcliffe very much is Alan Strang, and when he explains his past, his distress, his secrets to his psychiatrist, you believe every emotion he acts out. Give him a few more years in developing himself as an actor and as a man, and I’ve no doubt we’ll witness something extraordinary. I’ve no doubt he’ll get there, but though I was very impressed with his performance, I know he can improve his stage presence with experience – both in life and on the stage.
If it’s moving away from Hogwarts and towards a different and more serious stage of his career Daniel Radcliffe wants, I’d say doing “Equus” was a very wise move. If you’re a fan of Daniel’s, and ready to see a deeper side to his personality and acting ability, go see him in this play. Yesterday.
“Equus” is on at the Gielgud Theatre until 9th June 2007.