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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Harry Potter and the Wobbly Wand

Dan Radcliffe has gone completely mental.

The star of the Harry Potter films is currently in London, appearing in a production of Peter Shaffer's dereanged play Equus, which is about a young man who ...let's just say he has a "thing" for horses. Also, it's supposed to be a partially religious thing. It's sort of like someone who wants to intensely caress and groom the Virgin Mary, as if she were an Appoloosa at a really drunken stag night.

The most controversial part of the play is that the role Radcliffe is playing, that of Alan Strang, the young, horse-worshipping nutter, requires total nudity, as well as simulated sex. As Radcliffe is 17, such a performance would land him in Juvenile Hall in the States, and his producers in the sexual offenders' wing of the local gaol, trying not to get killed by the general population.

However, in London it only means sold out seats and tons of notes for the exploiters... ahem producers, because apparently 16 is the age of consent in Britain these days...and of course, what 16-17 year old male doesn't want to get nude and "simulate" sex...especially after all the alcohol they can now drink at the pubs?

As to the performance, the critic for The Telegraph said, "Daniel Radcliffe brilliantly succeeds in throwing off the mantle of Harry Potter, announcing himself as a thrilling stage actor of unexpected range and depth." Well, he threw off more than the mantle, didn't he. I'm assuming "mantle" isn't a euphemism. Of course the British press will say anything to justify someone romping around in the altogether in front of a slightly intoxicated crowd. At least The Sun is honest about it.

This is just another example of the strangely European fascination (and I use the word "European" guardedly when speaking of Old Blighty) with sex, nudity, sex, and more sex (and, on top of all that - no pun intended - more sex). Europeans are constantly complaing that Americans are sex-obsessed, whilst simultaneously throwing themselves into ribald licentiousness with all the subtlety of Vinnie Jones in the tackle. (Those in America who don't know football/soccer can substitute the phrase "Shaq in the slam-dunk.") Then they claim that Americans are "repressed" and "unsophisticated" simply because they have the decent common sense not to have intercourse in public lifts or restaurants.

As for young Mr. Radcliffe, clearly he is labouring under a very old delusion, one usually reserved for female starlets just above his age. The producer walks in and says, "If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to do an adult role!" The insecure actor/actress then says, "Sure, Mr. Slimepenny!" and pretty soon they're falling all over themselves to get into the equivalent of one of Russ Meyer's less sophisticated films. One can quickly surmise that Dan's female co-star in the Potter films, the lovely Emma Watson, found a stack of such screenplays on her agent's desk the day of her 16th birthday, dripping with saliva.

Dan's a good actor. If he wants to do an "adult" role, how about Hamlet or Of Mice and Men? Romeo and Juliet (sans topless scene please - you can bet Shakespeare didn't stage that one with the Virgin Queen stalking about the Old City)? I've heard that The Real Inspector Hound is quite entertaining? Even Shaffer's Amadeus would be a marked improvement.

Adult means grown up, not "porno," at least as far as us real adults go. For heaven's sake, Shaffer wrote the play in the 70's ...he was probably stoned out of his mind, anyway. It certainly plays that way.


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