My photo
Contact me at

01 September 2012


War Horse
Saturday 1st September 2012
When one comes along relatively late in the day to an established show that has been playing to sell-out audiences and rave reviews, inspiring a Hollywood blockbuster film version and opening in theatres around the world, one's expectations are inevitably sky high.  What follows can sometimes be disappointment or a feeling of deflation, when a show that you would otherwise have very much enjoyed has failed to live up to your imagination.  However occasionally, no matter how soaring your expectations, a show will still knock your socks off.  This is one of those shows.

Based on the children's novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford and produced by the National Theatre, War Horse tells the absorbing tale of a Devonshire stable lad and his horse Joey, through the hectic years of World War Two.  A captivating and emotional story; funny, sad, touching, exciting; but with a detailed and educational undertone too, introducing trench warfare to, potentially, a first-time audience.  Fast paced and numerous scene changes demand an imaginative and engaging set, which houses everything from a Devonshire farm to a French battlefield and tank attack with true ingenuity. 

There are some lovely performances among the numerous cast.  A likable young Albert Narracott, Joey's owner, is energetically played by Jack Holden, Richard Cant plays the big hearted German Friedrich Müller with sensitivity, and Robert Horwell makes an entertaining Sergeant Thunder, among many others.

The actors' performances are secondary in this production though, to the astonishing puppetry of the horses.  South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, fully deserving of their awards both in the West End and on Broadway, have created a masterpiece of theatrical entertainment.  Joey, and later his wartime friend Topthorn, are each operated by three separate teams of masterful puppeteers who, within the first few minutes of the play, blend seamlessly into their puppets creating an amazingly lifelike depiction of full size horses.  The nuances of character brought out through the intricate movements of these puppets is entirely believable and utterly enchanting.

This really is a must see piece of theatre, and with the West End run booking a year ahead and a UK tour scheduled for 2013 too, there should be lots of opportunity to experience it. 

1 comment:

  1. War Horse was a heart touching story and I'll never the show so I have purchased discount War Horse tickets for next year from Good Seat Tickets