For breathtaking puppetry, a powerful WWI story and a magical staging, don’t miss War Horse tickets
War Horse is the multi award winning British play, transformed from novelist Michael Morpurgo’s story of the same name. Premiering at the National Theatre in 2007, Nick Stafford’s stage adaptation of War Horse transferred to the West End at the New London Theatre in 2009 and has since been a long running fixture on Broadway as well as in Toronto, Melbourne and Berlin. War Horse has won 5 Tony Awards and 2 Laurence Oliver Awards and inspired Steven Spielberg to create his own Hollywood blockbuster version of the novel.
Like the novel, Stafford’s version of War Horse follows the characters of Albert, a farm boy and his pet horse Joey. The story develops as both boy and foal grow up to become both man and steed. The play begins with Albert rearing Joey to be a helpful farm horse whilst the audience watches their tender relationship develop. Albert’s drunken father and cruel uncle bet on the fate of the horse, as early on both boy and horse defying all odds to stay with one another. Sadly at the onset of World War I their perseverance is not enough to keep them together as Joey is sold to the army, separating him with his life long friend and carer. Albert’s devastation is so great that he enlists into the army in an attempt to be reunited with his lost horse.
Whilst the tale itself is moving and completely worthy of its vast critical acclaim, the main draw to this sell out production is its use of life-size puppets to depict the animals within the tale, with Joey himself represented by a vast horse puppet. The puppets, developed by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, are manipulated by onstage actors in a way that makes their movement extremely lifelike. So much so that audiences have been drawn in and moved by the onstage magic night after night for the past 5 years.
The story can at times be sad and there are some loud and violent scenes. For this reason, the production is not recommended for those under the age of 10. However mature children of 10 and up will be blown away by the productions stunning visual effects and life-size puppets.