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.
The moment Richard Griffiths opened his mouth, he had us all paying close attention to every word he had to say. There’s something about the way he delivers his lines, that’s so compelling, that it makes you unable to look anywhere else. I’m aware that many came to the play to admire the view (Daniel Radcliffe), but for me it wasn’t even a competition as far as where my attention was drawn time after time.
I noticed this about Richard Griffiths when I first saw him in “The History Boys”. I hadn’t seen him in a leading role before (besides his role as Uncle Vernon in “Harry Potter”) and found myself looking forward to every scene he was in. I didn’t find him compelling because I necessarily think an older man hitting on his younger students is something to admire, but because Griffiths made Hector multi-dimensional, dared to play him with enough charisma and charm that I started sympathising with him. To me, that’s talent.
In “Equus” he has the same compelling presence onstage, that way of delivering his lines with indescribable charisma. I still don’t know what it is, exactly, but he has something I think is quite extraordinary. In this performance, to me, it was “Richard Griffiths” then “Everybody Else”. He could have done the whole thing as a monologue, just explaining all the other roles, and I don’t think it would have made one bit of difference. Well, having said that, having the boy (Radcliffe) present would add another perspective to the situation, but if he was to do a reading of it from the psychiatrist’s point of view alone, it would have worked. Not to undermine the other actors, by any means, but Richard has something that brings him into another league.
So if you’re one of those (very few) that doesn’t think seeing Daniel Radcliffe naked is draw enough, rest assured that if you book your tickets for this play you’ll be in for a fantastic performance from Richard Griffiths.
“Equus” is on at the Gielgud Theatre until 9th June 2007.