Last night saw the premier of the revival of Peter Shaffer’s play ‘Equus’ at the Gielgood Theatre. It is the first time the play, about a devious stable hand has enjoyed a major production since it’s debut in 1973 at the National, but this time attention is mostly focussed on the casting of Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) in the lead role. Preview shows took place over the weekend, with one performance involving the police who were called to disperse a huge crowd of fans; all a bit giddy, no doubt about having just seen Harry Potter’s willy.
For the role of Alan Strang, Radcliffe is called to spit, swear, smoke (remember that scene from ‘Extras’?) and strip off for a ten-minute sex scene with co-star Joanna Christie. Apparently this is all good practice for the 17-year-old actor as the final instalment of the Harry Potter series sees the young wizard ‘doing’ Hermione in the boys bogs at Hogwarts. Possibly.
On Saturday night the problem of malingering crowds became so severe that security staff at the Gielgood couldn’t cope and called for police assistance. Meanwhile Radcliffe’s co-stars Jenny Agutter and Richard Griffiths were trapped inside the theatre, unable to make it safely through the mob. Eventually the ageing ‘History Boys’ actor had to climb out through a small window, and considering his ‘bulk’, this may or may not have been hilarious. Radcliffe got clean away on his Nimbus 2000.
So concerned was David Pugh, producer of Equus, about the potential for “pottermaniacs” that he contacted the Rolling Stones security team for advice. They , in a professional manner told him to “chill out”. Rock and roll. Pugh said to the press: “My main concern was that the sort of audience we would be getting might be a touch ‘Take That’ –the sort of people who didn’t understand theatre etiquette, but during the nude scene you could hear a pin drop.”
Surely its not proper etiquette to cast aspersions upon the size of your leading man’s tackle?