I went to watch the critically acclaimed War Horse at the New London Theatre yesterday and thought it was excellent. It tells the story of a horse who is raised on a Devon farm by a loving owner but then shipped off to France for use in the cavalry at the beginning of World War One. The play highlights the role and eventual fate of many of the working animals that were employed by the military during World War One. This was a war where they still insisted on sending cavalry against newly developed German machine guns. It’s fairly easy to imagine the result of a cavalry charge against a wall of barbed wire and machine gun fire.
Overall the puppetry is superb and the design and operation of the horses (and various other animals) is top notch. If you watch the youtube clip below you can see that there are 3 people who you can clearly see controlling the horses but despite this it creates a mesmerising effect and it’s surprisingly easy to imagine the puppet as a real horse. There is also a goose which appears in many of the farmyard scenes and he manages to steal just about every scene he appears in.
The acting and stage design is also first rate and I particularly liked the roles of Albert (who raises the horse) and his uncle. Overall i can’t recommend this highly enough. Definitely one to catch…
- Morpurgo crowned kids’ favourite (bbc.co.uk)
- ‘War Horse’ Wins Best Play Tony Award (newyork.cbslocal.com)