From the New York Times reviews of…

Equus, when it was new, in 1974:

“The play is quite different from anything [Peter] Shaffer has written before, and has, to my mind, a quite new sense of seriousness to it. It has all of Mr. Shaffer’s masterly command of the theater. . . . It has a most refreshing and mind-opening intellectualism. It has the power of thought to it. . . . This is a very fine and enthralling play. It holds you by the roots of drama.”

And when it was revived last month:

“The problem with such well-considered acting is that it throws a clear and merciless light on the hokum of the play as a whole. ‘Equus’ was written in the shadow of the then voguish theories of R.D. Laing, which championed the creative beauty within madness while fixing blame on the repressiveness of the conventional family. . . . The homoerotic aspect of Alan’s equine dreams becomes excruciatingly blatant, a garden-variety sexual identity dressed up for a night at the races. You can hear every metaphor falling into place with an amplified click.”

A Man for All Seasons, when it was new in 1961:

“Robert Bolt has written a play that is luminous with intelligence and steely with conviction. . . . It combines in equal measure the dancing, ironic wit of detachment and the steady blue flame of commitment. . . . It challenges the mind and, in the end, touches the heart. . . . This fine, meaty play will stir you.”

and when it was revived this week:

“Is it heresy to whisper that the sainted Thomas More is a bit of a bore?”