Equus: Lighthouse, Poole Even though it was written nearly 40 years ago Peter Shaffer’s Equus remains a frighteningly relevant drama. Michael Cabot’s new production shines an unflinching light on the ills of a society that reacts without understanding. Based on a true-life incident, it focuses on a brilliant psychiatrist treating a delusional 17-year-old stable-lad who has blinded six horses with a metal spike.

As the angry public bay for retribution, the doctor discovers that his patient, Alan Strang, has been failed by both his family and the education system. The psychoanalytical profile that emerges is casebook gold for students of Freud and Lacan. Strang is sexually obsessed with horses and consumed by a complex inner-world that combines worship and myth.

Malcolm James is superb as Dr Martin Dysart - tired, frustrated and (despite the appalling crime) increasingly in awe of his patient’s ability to escape the drab reality of small-town life.

Matthew Pattimore, as Strang meanwhile, gives a performance that perfectly conveys the isolation, desperation and fear of the severely disturbed..

An excellent set, atmospheric lighting and a fine supporting cast, including several actors playing horses, makes for a memorable production.

*London Classic Theatre’s production of Equus plays Lighthouse in Poole until Thursday November 3.

Jeremy Miles