Dark tale of Equus opens at Phoenix Theatre


Phoenix Theatre, Coniston 

Opens Friday, details here

A troubled boy, sinister dreams, a psychiatrist struggling to understand, and seven horses clad in shimmering mirrored masks.

Equus, one of the most celebrated and controversial plays to emerge in the modern era of theatre, will open at Coniston's Phoenix Theatre.

Steen, the Phoenix's artistic director, says the play "pulls no punches" and neither does he in heaping praise on his cast and crew that have brought British playwright Peter Shaffer's 1973 script to life.

"This cast is a dream. I've got the best cast I could ever have wished for," he said.

The story of a boy's pathological obsession with horses, 14 cast members - including seven in giant mirrored masks to resemble a stable of horses - bring the script to life. Billed as a play about faith, or lack thereof, Equus is Steen's 60th play as director.

With the production coinciding with his 50th birthday, Steen said the dual milestones had led to a renewed clarity on how he approached his work.

"The play is extreme. It's not outrageous, but it doesn't shy away from the subject matter. People have called the production gut-wrenching, but not shocking," he said.

Equus has an eight-show run, playing Friday, Saturday and Wednesday nights until April 12.

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