Theatre Review: “Amadeus” by Mary Best

The marriage of songs and drama is often celebrated when presented as a musical production, but what about the role of music in a play?
Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus,” the sensationalized story of one man’s feud with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lends itself well to the idea on paper. However, it’s the magic of the JoAnn Falletta-led Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra that takes Irish Classical Theatre Company’s production of the play to an unforgettable level.
Make a point to escape to Kleinhans this weekend for a truly rich and unique theatrical experience. 
Friday night marked the debut of this collaboration, with scenes of the play diluted and supplemented with expertly chosen selections from Mozart’s repertoire. Vincent O’Neill, portraying composer Antonio Salieri, guides the audience as narrator and main antagonist. He begins the program confessing to poisoning Mozart but promises to explain himself. As we learn of Salieri’s many attempts to sabotage Mozart’s talents after discovering his lack of grace and charm, we also experience Salieri’s awe at Mozart’s flawless compositions.
The best synergy of drama and music occurs when Salieri describes singular moments of each piece as he hears it for the first time. As he mentions hearing the woodwinds, the orchestra follows, inviting the audience beyond the fourth wall on the journey with Salieri.
The production, directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, is a perfect fit for O’Neill. His commanding voice demands your attention and despite his questionable motives, sympathy, as he struggles to understand why God rewards Mozart with musical genius and not him. He also brings humor, even breaking the fourth wall to interact with Falletta when appropriate, to a character that could easily remain one-dimensional.
PJ Tighe as Mozart is indeed the standout performance of the night. From his electric energy and laughs to the tragic turn of the second act, his range seems boundless and he flows from one emotional end of the spectrum to the other as smoothy as one of Mozart’s piano concertos.
In the role of Constanze Weber, Mozart’s wife, Kathleen Macari shines during the bold, carefree moments of her stage time but triples in power when things become tougher in Mozart’s life and her spirit is tested.
Rounding out the talented cast is Anthony Alcocer, Ray Boucher, Elliot Fox, David Lundy and Doug Weyand, all of whom shine in their roles, filling the ample space and acoustics of Kleinhans. Members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, directed by Adam Luebke, also contributed to the performance, specifically soloists Kevin Cosbey, Daniel Johnson, Timothy Lane and Sarabeth Matteson.
Rich details on a minimal set designed by David Dwyer and vibrant colorful costumes by Dixon Reynolds complement the format of the production, making it just as pleasing to look at as it is to listen to.
There’s only two chances left to catch “Amadeus,” so make a point to escape to Kleinhans this weekend for a truly rich and unique theatrical experience.
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes including a 10 minute intermission
“Amadeus” plays through January 22, 2017 at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo.

Theatre Review: “Amadeus” by the Irish Classical Theatre Company & the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans
by Mary Best,
Posted January 21, 2017

Joint Venture Makes For Cohesive AMADEUS

Collaboration among Western New York arts groups can only help serve the better good of the community and a happy pairing of Irish Classical Theatre with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing out at Kleinhans Music Hall, as both groups present Peter Shaffer’s TONY and Academy Award winning AMADEUS. While integrating live music with theatrical plays may have been commonplace at one time– think Beethoven’s Overture and incidental music to the play EGMONT or Mendelssohn’s interludes to ROMEO AND JULIET, it is a custom that has all but died of extinction in the 20th century. So the novelty of having the full BPO join forces with one of Buffalo’s premier theatre companies is truly a rare theatrical opportunity.

On most accounts, Mr. Shaffer’s comic drama lends itself beautifully to musical accompaniment as the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s career is told through the eyes of his arch nemesis, the Austrian court composer Antonio Salieri. While the factual information regarding the two composers private meetings in reality is slim, Shaffer creates fascinating encounters for the two, often playing up the young Mozart’s immaturity and sense of fun.

Director Fortunato Pezzimenti has placed all forces on the stage, with the acting area in front of the orchestra, and a small chorus placed at the side. This helped fill the vast Kleinhan’s stage somewhat, but often one hoped for more intimacy than lighting effects alone could allow. Veteran actor Vincent O’Neill has the daunting task of portraying the conniving Salieri. O’Neill begins the play as an elderly man looking back at his career. Through posture and subtle voice changes O’Neill successfully morphs from elderly to a young man, sinking his teeth into the meaty role. Long declamatory passages by Salieri help the audience to understand the complexities of the young Mozart’s composition as Salieri deconstructs a Mozart serenade. One wished for slightly better timing between the O’Neill and the music, as the script is quite specific in it’s descriptive language of the score. Mr. O’Neill’s brings the appropriate sense of awe, as well as jealousy towards the innovative young Mozart, helping to understand Salieri’s inner desire to prevent Mozart from out shining his own compositions.

Mozart is played by PJ Tighe, who essentially is called upon to be a buffoon idiot savant. Mozart’s childish playfulness is in stark contrast to his brilliancy in composing. We learn that entire operas were already written in his head- he merely needed to take the time to write them out. Tighe shone with boundless energy and an infectious giggle in the early scenes, as if the young Mozart was a sufferer of ADHD, always moving, bowing, and making off color noises. His frenzied conducting of the overture to THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, clad in a pink wig, made it clear that no one had seen the likes of this composer before. As the play unfolds the brilliant Mozart is not fully accepted into the musical community and becomes destitute. Here is where the BPO forces are at their best at serving the drama, underscoring his physical and mental breakdown with segments of the the dark ominous DON GIOVANNI overture and the REQUIEM mass. Tighe’s unraveling and ultimate death scene is poignant and highly nuanced, without being melodramatic. Dying in the arms of his wife Constanze, ably played by Kathleen Macari, one ponders how such a genius could have lived out his final years penniless and buried in a paupers grave.

The talented cast was rounded out with David Lundy as Emperor Joseph II, whose bluntly honest opinion regarding the length of the Mozart operas and suggestion to cut some of the notes may be equally shared by opera goers today. His 3-4 hours operas often are taxing to many, despite their beauty. Elliot Fox as Count Orsini-Rosenberg and Doug Weyand as Baron Gottfried Van Swieten were great foils to the young Mozart. The small chorus made up of some of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus members helped add pathos to the drama, but their solo voices in the operatic arias were not up to the caliber of talent surrounding them on stage. Costume Designer Dixon Reynolds has produced elaborately detailed period costumes to complement the drama.
After the play’s conclusion, Maestro JoAnn Falletta smartly chose to play the final movement of Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, allowing the audience to sit back and bask in the majesty of his music. Contemplating all that had been visually played out and thankful for the abundance of music he produced in his short life, this year the BPO allows us to celebrate Mozart’s birthday weekend with the added benefit of the theatrical gem that is AMADEUS.

AMADEUS runs from January 20 through 22, 2017 as a collaboration with Irish Classical Theatre and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall. For tickets and information, call 885-5000.

Joint Venture Makes For Cohesive AMADEUS by Michael Rabice,
Posted January 21, 2017

Theatre Review: “Amadeus” by Manya Fabiniak

Theatre Review: ‘Amadeus’ by Irish Classical Theatre Company & Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall
Manya Fabiniak

Collaborations often provide an opportunity to create a whole better than its parts, with each member amplifying the gifts of the other. But when those involved possess the stellar talents of the Irish Classical Theatre Company and the JoAnn Falletta led Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the script of a Tony award play and an Academy award film, the end result can only be breathtakingly memorable! In the magnificent expansive space of Kleinhans Music Hall, all provided an opportunity to experience the many layers that form “Amadeus”, layers that would not be so discernable in a smaller theatrical setting without a full orchestra.

Directed by Fortunato Pezzimenti, the play is simply one of revenge against that incomprehensible Divine incandescence that flows seemingly effortlessly through one singular human being out of all the rest. PJ Tighe, as the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the innocent receiver of this blessing. Vincent O’Neill as composer Antonio Salieri, swiftly transforms into the vindictive, envious man of hate in the presence of it. He can only observe Mozart’s Divine genius…he cannot possess it. And what he cannot posses…he chooses to destroy.

And what an enchanting Mozart PJ Tighe provides! Energetic, joy-filled, unabashedly vulgar and ever spontaneous, he flutters through scenes with contrasting bursts of elegant intellectual brilliance and childlike effervescence. In stark contrast to Salieri’s assertively mannered, contrived, sterile artificiality, we see Mozart as one who is truly ALIVE!

Vincent O’Neill’s performance as Salieri exudes all the authority of one who assumes he is not simply brilliant beyond words, but entitled to be so. He assumes his relationship with his god should be his proof. As the play progresses, we hear the orchestra exquisitely prove to him and us that his assumptions are not only mistaken, but painfully delusional. O’Neill allows his character to be tenderly, reverently in awe of the transcendent dream of K 361, while we listen, with all hearts agreeing. Then jealousy reforms him, and he moves with a hateful spine.

And this continues throughout the play, for not only is Salieri’s mind flooded with fragments of sublime score after score, thus deepening his rage, but the expanse of the Hall is as well. With Mozart’s music fully alive in every cell of our bodies, we easily understand the magnitude of Salieri’s pain, as well as his wrath. While great beauty can raise us to spiritual heights yet unknown, it simultaneously exposes all that is unlike itself. Salieri allows the golden ring of joy filled appreciation to slip off his fingers, and leave him a barren bitter man.

The high moment of the eve where collaboration’s power was extremely triumphant occurred was when Solieri declares God his enemy…as O’Neill releases his wrath against God’s betrayal and takes justice into his own hands, the orchestra and magnificent chorus sounds the glory of the Kyrie from K417. Kyrie Eleison…Lord have mercy…thunders again and again through our arteries, stirring our life force while releasing its poignant power. Mozart’s cry for compassion becomes Salieri’s call for destruction.

As the impoverished Mozart later swoons to his death in the arms of his beloved Costanze, played both sweetly and with womanly strength by Kathleen Marcari, he dies unaware of the magnitude of his legacy, or the triumph of his immortality. Behind him, the very musicians and instruments that would make Mozart immortal…they now play for us the soul expanding 4th movement of the Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”…and divine justice smiles upon one and all.

The supporting cast of Anthony Alcocer, Ray Boucher, Elliot Fox, David Lundy and Doug Weyand, all lent their charm and impeccable wit, sending smiles throughout the Hall. Members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, directed by Adam Luebke, also contributed to the performance, specifically soloists Kevin Cosbey, Daniel Johnson, Timothy Lane and Sarabeth Matteson.

AMADEUS by Peter will be presented for two more performances only: Saturday, January 21 at 8PM; and Sunday, January 22 at 2:30PM. All performances will take place at Kleinhans Music Hall. For ticket information contact

Don’t miss our special three-show performance of “Amadeus”

AmadeusRecommended by Visit Buffalo Niagara as a must see show in January, don’t miss out on Irish Classical Theatre’s production of Amadeus at Kleinhans Music Hall. Three performances only—January 20, 21, and 22. Get your tickets today! For more recommendations on shows to see in January, click here.

Single tickets to Amadeus are on sale exclusively by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office. Purchase in person at Kleinhans Music Hall, by phone at 885-5000, or click this link for the Buffalo Philharmonic Box Office.

ICTC sweeps BroadwayWorld Regional Awards

All My SonsBroadwayWorld had a record breaking voter turnout for the 2016 Regional Awards. Irish Classical made a strong showing in the Buffalo area and came away with the following wins:

Best Play: All My Sons

Best Director: Greg Natale, All My Sons

Best Actor: Anthony Alcocer, All My Sons and Jekyll & Hyde


Stellar Cast Delves in Drama of “Equus”

Near perfection. That is what the Irish Classical Theatre has achieved in their exciting new production of Peter Shaffer’s EQUUS.

Shaffer’s poignant and often unsettling drama about a troubled teenager who commits an unspeakable act against horses can be difficult to process and to watch. The story relates how the teen is committed to a mental hospital in order to ascertain what demons lie in his psyche. The psychiatrist Martin Dysart is given the near impossible job of treating him. Director David Oliver has assembled such a fine cast that inarguably I would not consider changing it in any way.

The standout performance of P.J. Tighe as the teenager Alan Stang must be singled out. Tighe is called upon to brood, rant, cry, laugh and in general be nasty. He is utterly brilliant in instilling this often unlikable character with a personality that begs the audience for more. Mr. Tighe’s nuanced portrayal lends such a depth of emotions that by the climax of first act you believe he may not have any more to give, but he surely does. His rawness and vulnerability ultimately makes perfect sense based on the back story of his childhood. The brilliance of Shaffer’s script is such that the audience becomes totally invested in learning more about the deeply troubled character of Alan, without writing him off as a simple social deviant. Tighe’s masterful journey of psychological exploration is sure to go down as a highlight of this theatrical season!

Stage veteran Vincent O’Neill portrays Martin as an overworked troubled middle aged man whose own demons often parallel Alan’s. O’Neill was utterly believable in his transition from clinical psychiatrist to man on a mission to probe and decipher the reasons for the boy’s behavior. The dramatic clinical sessions between O’Neill and Tighe ventured from conversation to gut wrench full blown re-enactments of Alan’s past.

The secondary roles of the Alan’s parents were beautifully handled by Gregory Gjurich and Margaret Massman. Ms. Massman’s subtle characterization of a heartbroken mother who has little understanding of her son’s condition was poignant and believable. Her naivete, based on her deep religious beliefs, fueled Mr. Gjurich’s frustration at dealing with a wife whose actions he understand very little. The play’s undertones of sexual repression and religion are firmly rooted in the lives of these two parents.

Wendy Hall, is the judge Hester Salomon who brings Alan to the psychiatrist. Ms. Hall’s desperation to help the boy was palpable and she proved to be a great resource in helping Dysart fight his own demons of his personal life. Hall’s calmness and civility were a nice contrast to the insanity that occurred in the hospital ward.

Oliver’s imaginative staging was complemented by David Dwyer’s highly effective turntable set. Oliver has chosen to seat the entire cast on the periphery of the set, suggesting that the entire cast is always present in the action and ultimately the boys’ subconscious. Lighting designer Brian Cavanagh has created some of the best lighting effects that have been seen at ICTC, subtly dealing with the intimacy and heights of the drama with finesse.

Any production of EQUUS relies on some depiction of the horses that are so central to the story. Costume designer Ann Emo has designed representative horse heads and horse shoes that suggest the structure of the horses, without being too literal. Movement choreographer Gerry Trentham has obviously spent a great deal of time working with the talented 5 men who portray the horses. Their interactions with the boy were fascinating in depicting the sexual tension that builds between the boy and the horses.

The intimacy of the theatre in round auditorium at Irish Classical Theatre makes this riveting play all the more encompassing for the audience. Such a polished production as this EQUUS should have audiences baited and ready for ICTC’s January production of Shaffer’s AMADEUS with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra– featuring Tighe yet again as Mozart.

Review by Michael Rabice |

FOUR BUFFALOS! Strong cast revives EQUUS

THE BASICS:  EQUUS, the 1973 drama by Peter Shaffer presented by The Irish Classical Theatre Company, directed by David Oliver, stars Vincent O’Neill as the psychiatrist Martin Dysart, PJ Tighe as the troubled Alan Strang, with strong support from Margaret Massman, Greg Gjurich, Wendy Hall, Kelsey Mogensen et. al. (including “horses”). EQUUS runs through November 20, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at both 3 & 7:30, Sundays at 2 at the ICTC’s home, the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. (853-ICTC). Run time is 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 15-minute intermission. Advisories: The first act is very long; for mature audiences only (subject matter and nudity).

THUMBNAIL SKETCH:  The playwright, Peter Shaffer, was intrigued by a small news item about a boy who had blinded six horses, and began imagining how that might have happened. In this drama (1975 Tony Award for best play) a teenage boy is brought to a psychiatric hospital under court order. He is referred to Dr. Martin Dysart, who is unwilling to take on another yet young patient only to fit them to a life of drab existence. The boy, Alan Strang, has maimed six horses in a stable where he is employed, blinding them all in one night using a hoof spike. The psychiatrist determines to have the boy reveal his actions and his motivations and hopes that by helping the boy relive that fateful night, young Alan will be purged of his demons and be “cured.”

THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION: First off, this is a very sexy production, and not necessarily because of the nude sex scene in Act II. In fact, the sexual tension that drives the main action is foreshadowed at the first on-stage encounter of the unwilling psychiatrist (Vincent O’Neill) when the lawyer, Hester Salomon (Wendy Hall), cajoles him (well, actually, seduces him but in a professional manner) to take on a new patient. That type of sexual tension has kept and continues to keep many a television series going over multiple seasons. It works if you’ve got it; Wendy Hall has it, and she zips it and buttons it and battens it down in a business suit, but it’s there. It’s the same tension that young Alan Strang will be seen to struggle with, but the adults can keep a lid on, and are therefore more “fit for society.”

The role of Jill Mason, the young woman who tries to introduce Alan to sex, also in Act II, is very well played by Kelsey Mogensen, who is cute as a button, and brings what used to be called a “healthy” attitude about sex to young Alan, whose ideas about sex are anything but. He is as repressed, conflicted, and inchoate as they come. Her role is not easy, walking that fine line between being encouraging but not predatory, flirtatious but not overly so.

And the “horses” are sexy too, for the most part played by young men who obviously work out and appear naked from the waist up wearing wire-sculpture horse masks on their heads and wire-sculpture horse “shoes” on their feet, which make very real to us the unmistakable clomping sound of large, powerful beasts as they move about the stable, choreographed by Gerry Trentham. The group also had a movement and mime coach – Trevor Copp.

Then there are the non-sexy roles of Alan’s parents wonderfully played by Greg Djurich as the repressed, over-protective Frank Strang (who early on the fateful night is seen by his son visiting a porno movie house) and by Margaret Massman as Dora Strang, the religious zealot of the family who ultimately is barred from seeing her son in the psychiatric hospital.

I think that sometimes, for dramatic effect, playwright Peter Shaffer likes to avoid ambiguity in his characters, but, both Djurich and Massman are parents in real life and I thought that might have informed their performances and made them more nuanced.

I have heard several people say that the psychiatry is “dated.” That may be true, but it doesn’t matter, because the psychology is thousands of years old. This is the stuff of Greek myths and legends. In Greek mythology, Apollo and Dionysus are both sons of Zeus, equal in importance. Apollo is the god of reason and rational thought (“Apollonian”) while his brother Dionysus is the god of the irrational, emotional, instinctive, and chaotic (“Dionysian”). Every character, repeat, every character, carries both within. The important point that most people forget is that the brothers are not rivals, they work together. They are simply both parts of a complete picture.

Of course, again for dramatic effect, playwrights enjoy pitting one brother against the other, almost as if it were a prize fight (“Tonight, Live from Las Vegas, Apollo versus Dionysus in the battle for humanity.”) And you can go to any Buffalo theater this season or this week and you’ll see that played out, sometimes in an obvious way (Randle P. McMurphy vs. Nurse Ratched in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST) and sometimes less obviously (Professor Harold Hill vs. Marion Paroo in THE MUSIC MAN) and sometimes going back and forth between characters (Lee vs. Austin in TRUE WEST).

And so our two main characters deal with these traits. The doctor, unhappy with his predictable Apollonian life wishes to be more Dionysian, trying to help his patient be much less so.

David Dwyer’s staging is very realistic with rough wooden planks that you might find in part of a stable, and in the middle a large turntable which helps when presenting theater in the round. As always, the sound design by Tom Makar is appropriate. The direction by David Oliver adds an unusual element which I thought makes the whole evening more organic, and that is to have all the actors sitting on the perimeter of the stage starting from a few minutes before the play begins the play and staying on stage. That way, as they stand up to play a part, there is no jarring interruption. The transitions are seamless.

And special kudos go to Brian Cavanagh for his muted lighting. It was always appropriate, but especially so during the nude scene, taking away the graphic elements and adding a dream-like quality.

FOUR BUFFALOS (out of five): Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.

Review by Peter Hall, Buffalo Rising

You Need To See “Equus”

Peter Shaffer’s “Equus” may be outdated psychiatrically but it remains a great bit of theater because of the story and its conflict.  It’s a conflict between psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Vincent O’Neill) and disturbed young patient Alan Strang (PJ Tighe).

Strang has been sent to his second-rate psychiatric hospital in Southern England by a local magistrate, Hesther Salomon (Wendy Hall), who sits on the board of the hospital.

Strang has apparently gone into a local stable and blinded all six horses, a horrific event in the small town and Dysart recognizes this is well beyond the usual crowd which has overwhelmed and ground down his performance and abilities.

It takes time for Dysart to wade through his own troubled marriage and his fixation on classic Greece to discover Alan isn’t just screwed-up, he’s really screwed-up.

It’s only when he meets parents Frank (Gregory Gjurich) and Dora (Margaret Massman) that the shrink begins to understand the roots of Alan’s problems, heavily in the religious divide between his parents.

This is psycho-sexual dysfunction, allied with his job taking care of horses and taking care of Jill Mason (Kelsey Mogensen), the young and beautiful daughter of a stable owner.

Only when we watch those two in a dark and shadowy and naked scene under Brian Cavanagh’s lighting, accompanied by Tom Makar’s creepy sound design, do we begin to understand how deranged Alan Strang is.

That’s after Dysart hypnotizes him and re-creates a little of what happened.

It’s really weird.

What makes this show work is the equine cast, the six guys who wear the metal framework which turns them into horses, courtesy of “dialect coach & horse movement choreographer” Gerry Trentham.  You have to see the six of them prancing around in the horse’s heads, with the movement of horses to make the show work, especially Dudney Joseph’s Nugget.

When this show opened in a production I saw in London, this was breakthrough theater in still Puritan and censored British entertainment.  Now, it’s outdated in most ways, but director David Oliver still has a great story to work with and a strong conflict of characters between patient and doctor and he does well with it.

Here, the show’s core is a really strong performance from O’Neill and from Tighe.

The major problem with the show is inherent in the script, the slow start as playwright Shaffer’s story begins to roll out and all the complicated pieces of the script begin to settle into place and the gears whirl.  This is a Swiss watch gearing of a play, built beautifully to place the conflict center stage in the Irish Classical’s pit.

Oliver does something unusual in this production, keeping up the pace of the show by having the entire cast sitting on benches around the stage so they can come on and off quickly so nothing slows down. Even the six horses are right there, as are their horse’s heads.

Keeping up the pace means we don’t lose the central thread of Shaffer’s script, the interplay between the doctor and the patient, O’Neill and Tighe.  They are the best part of the show, although there are strong performances from Hall, Mogensen, Joseph and Gjurich.

The stalk the stage, circling each other and seeking solutions to each’s problems, all in front of the audience.  That’s why the show moves so quickly to frame the collision between mental illness and mental doctor and why you need to see “Equus.”

Review by By Augustine Warner |

Be prepared to be Blown Away!

All this Sex and Sensationalism is all right because it comes from a disturbed mind.  And is given big intellectual saddlebags.  So now Come to the Secret Pounding Copulations of the Centaurs! Yeeaaaaah!!!

Here we are in a town in southern England, farm country, near the coast.  At Rokesby Psychiatric Hospital, we are in the office of Dr. Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist.  Hesther Salomon, a Prosecutor, stops by to ask him to please take a remanded prisoner for her.  She can’t think of anyone else who could handle it, it’s a teenager who has committed a horrible and strange act of violence.

This is a very appropriate play for Halloween, what with All Souls rising in white mist cemeteries, and with All Saints rounding in screams and tortured fires.  You may be a rational creature with no credence for religious faith or the peaks and valleys it can explore and plunge in human perception.  You are thus lucky. And you would agree that the young man should be cured, that his pain and terror should be taken away.

The psychiatrist can do this.  And will do this.  But has reluctance, he himself is jealous of this experience, of this terror and pain and exultation he glimpses in his patient’s world, of the wild joy, of the Dionysian extremes which are to be destroyed.  So the boy can live a peaceful if diminished life, so the animals can graze in peace.

Now there’s a theosophical idea that postulates that if you conjecture a god, define and refine the idea of this god, worship this God, that you may actually bring it into being.  Pull it from the cloud of nothingness where it was just murkle, put it on an altar, hand over power to it, and it may come to rule you, at least recognize you.  If you leave it behind, if you no longer believe in it, it may yet still exist, may still exercise Power in the Firmament, may yet cause harmony or mayhem, and is likely Jealous.  And keep close in mind that Man was given Dominion over the Earth in Genesis, but that Horses and Dogs were exempted and given their own Stations in Leviticus.

And so, a horse and rider appear thundering swift along the beach.

This is a most amazing production.  You need to go just to see the horses galloping around the ring of the stage, the rising excitement in the hooha, the incredible sex enacted right on stage in the furious flying dust!  And that’s just the First Act!

At the end of the play, my companion Miss Pickwicker was in stunned amazement- at the play, at the ending, at everything that occurred here.  How long has this been going on! she wanted to know.  Are all the plays this great?!  She couldn’t believe what she just saw!  And to be so close to the stage!

This was Directed by David Oliver, he will be acclaimed for this.  Among the large cast, Vincent O’Neill played the psychiatrist Martin Dysart like it was his favorite role of all time, easily, holding the audience in his palm.  PJ Tighe climbed around in the pains, pleasure, and silence of the young man Alan.  Dudney Joseph played Nuggett and led the other equine wonders: Adam Hayes, Brett Klaczyk, Jordan Levin, Joshua Ranallo, and Lamont Singletary.

Tom Makar was Sound Designer, Gerry Trentham was imported to be Dialect Coach & Horse Movement Choreographer, Brian Cavanagh was Lighting Designer and Technical Director.

Great Clarity of the Text, withal.  And Equus remains to be called upon.  What an amazing play by Peter Schaffer, and what a Powerful Presentation Irish Classical Theatre Company has given it.  Be prepared to be Blown Away!

Review By: Willy Rogue Donaldson | Night Life Magazine

“Superb…you NEED to see this production.”

One of my bigger regrets in my theatrical life was not seeing “Equus” on Broadway. Luckily for myself and all other Buffalo theatergoers, there is a Broadway caliber production being performed at Irish Classical Theater. Now those who regularly read my reviews (thanks if you do) know that I am not one to mince words. This production is, to be brief, superb. Occasionally it is difficult as reviewer to find a way to constructively criticize a work of theater that people have poured their hearts into. Luckily, this review will not be a struggle, as there is truly nothing to criticize in this streamlined production.

This production is, to be brief, superb. . .If you have any interest in theater at all, you NEED to see this production.

“Equus” deals with a psychiatrist charged with uncovering the motivation of a young, psychologically disturbed young adult who is convicted of mutilating six horses in one evening. It is a challenging piece of theater for audiences, and contains mature subject matter and adult language. It might as well be the paragon for modern British “dramedy.”

Credit is first and foremost due to ICTC, for endeavoring to produce such a challenging and demanding piece of theater, and doing it with appropriate respect for the text and its author. The ensemble is immediately placed in the thick of the story, with actors entering along with audience members and seating themselves around the action on the stage. The audience almost immediately feels a sense of a tribal atmosphere, and this observational approach makes the piece even stronger. David Oliver and his team are to be commended. Trevor Copp, who is tasked with coordinating the mimed action in the piece, supplements the world of the play with his brilliance, executed flawlessly by the entire company.

As always, Vincent O’Neill is a treat to watch. His narrative voice aids the audience understanding of the piece. His turn as psychiatrist Martin Dysart is almost certain to be Artie nominated, and rightfully so. He approaches the role with intellect, honesty, and a certain reverence for the dialogue. It is an approach that is beyond effective.

Supporting O’Neill is PJ Tighe, who brings to the stage the perfect, and I mean perfect, blend of off-color humor, charisma, and transcendence. Tighe is playing a highly complicated individual, but he isn’t overacting, or forcing it down his audience members’ throats.

As Tighe’s parents, Greg Gjurich and Margaret Messman are equally impressive, if only for their layered performances.

Kelsey Mogensen, as Tighe’s love interest, is irresistible in every sense of the word. The best thing about this production is that the ensemble is as impressive, if not moreso.

The danger with staging “Equus” is getting overwhelmed by the magnitude of the piece. ICTC takes it all in stride and then some. The entire production team is unified in their drive to create a cohesive production, and it shows. The actors have committed their whole selves to the work they are doing, and in some cases are literally baring themselves.

As far as dramatic literature goes, “Equus” is the tops. It would not surprise anyone, then, that Irish Classical Theater is the theater to produce it. If you have any interest in theater at all, you NEED to see this production.

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

Advisory: For Mature Audiences Only.

Review by Nathan Andrew Miller