Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Equus at The Berry

Proper professional theatre walking distance from where I live - I still find it amazing.  Hedge End's very own Berry Theatre was at its best last Friday with London Classic Theatre's touring production of Sir Peter Schaffer's "Equus".

It was an engrossing, intense evening with thoroughly convincing performances - especially by those actors who represented horses using not much more than stylised masks and body posture and movement.  The stark design with echoes of Greek drama seemed to fit the Berry perfectly, and the scale of the place contributed to the evocation of claustrophobic settings such as the psychiatrist's consulting room, the stables and Alan Strang's bedroom.

It's good to see The Berry's success with stand-up comedy and children's productions, but this was serious theatre for grown-ups and a major milestone in The Berry's development, just what Samuel West was talking about in his speech on the opening night a year ago.

With "Hamlet" a week ago, and "Love on the Tracks" to come on June 2nd, it's good news for Hedge End theatre-goers this spring.


  1. Well I would agree, it must be claustrophobic on stage at the berry, but how about in the audience..full house? How many Drama students in on a freebie to bump up numbers? Any other HETC councillors present?

  2. Jenny Schwausch22 May 2012 at 09:56

    Good to hear that the Berry is getting a little more diversity into its programme. Financially, it needs to appeal to a wide cross section of the public.

    On Stephen's point about HETC councillors support for Equus - I would be surprised if any attended. I was heavily involved in the Titanic programme put on at the Berry. Sadly, all events were poorly attended and NO Councillors, Hedge End or otherwise, were present. The only over sucbscribed event was a coach tour organised by HAMBLE VALLEY HERITAGE GUIDES with actors from the SARAH SIDDONS GROUP. HVHG, of which I am a guide, is a voluntary group which leads history/heritage walks around the area. At one time it was supported by EBC but they pulled the rug some time ago. Last night, we worked out how many Councillors had actually come along on the Borough wide walks of which there are over 40 a year. The answer was NONE! Surprised?

  3. There was at least one other Town Councillor at Equus. I may have missed others in the crush.

  4. The Berry is indeed a great facility, but it is handicapped by its location, on a school campus. I'm conditioned to regard all school campus's as out of bounds. I've no business there really so I don't go there.

    Consequently I don't see the brighty illuminated hoardings advertsing what is "coming soon". The brochures for the Berry are OK, but I tend to put them to one side and forget about them. I need to be passing these brightly illuminated hoardings every day, constantly reminded of "What's On" and what is "Coming soon"...

    More of those hoardings are needed in strategic locations around Hedge End. Outside the library perhaps, in the foyer at M&S Sainsburys, outside the Tesco convenience stores in Tanhouse Lane and Shamblehurst Lane....