6-14 Aug, 1620 (1720) @ Zoo Roxy
Peter Shaffer’s classic study of worship and obsession is, when performed well, an intense, uncomfortable experience. Traditionally performed with and ensemble cast and minimal props and staging, this is a show which relies entirely on the physicality and emotion of the performers.
At first glance, this company look worryingly young to pull off a piece which is so close to the bone. And indeed the ensemble cast has a variety of abilities, which means the device whereby the actors take it in turns to play the supporting characters isn’t as effective as it might be. And the visceral physicality of the horses is somewhat lacking here.
The central performances are astonishingly good – Leo Glover is spot on as tormented teenager Alan Strang and Nick Whitworth is, despite his youthful appearance, very credible as the jaded therapist called in to treat Alan after he commits a shocking crime.
There is room for improvement here, but all it needs is a little more confidence from the supporting cast, which they are bound to find over their Fringe run. It takes a lot of courage to stage this piece and a lot of skill to do so with such success.