Bench Theatre, The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant

THE horses which are such an essential presence in Peter Shaffer's potent, powerful, unsettling drama are represented in Bench Theatre's production by just three actors in black body stockings and horse head shaped masks (designed by Jules Simmons), mostly simple movements indicating their equine status in the case of Sally Hartley and Ceri Tipler – while the well cast, tall, imposing Craig Parker as the third, 'Nugget', manages to keep his dignity even when piggy backing Jeff Bone as troubled young Alan Strang around the stage.

Director Alan Ward combines these with strobe lighting and human nudity to great effect when we finally learn how Alan is driven to blind the creatures he loves.

Before this David Penrose holds our attention as the psychiatrist Dysart, ably supported by Lorraine Stone as the magistrate, Megan Green and Allan Jolly as Alan's parents, and Leigh Cunningham as Jill, who precipitates the crisis.

Ham Quentin