War Horse

I recently went to see ‘War Horse’ the award winning production adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. I remember reading the book a while ago and honestly found it a bit dull which originally put me off the idea of this play. However after seeing a trailer of how they create the horse I was completely taken in by it. So when my auntie asked me if I wanted to go (as she had a spare ticket) I was very excited.  At the start there was no curtain opening or any warning that it was about to start just an old man entering the stage singing the song ‘Only Remembered’. I always love it when actors can get the audience attention in that way. Then a crowd of women and children entered joining in the sad song. It was a beautiful moment and the show only got better from there on. The first time the horse came on it was a foal and admittedly I was a bit disappointed believing that this was going to be the horse used throughout and that what I was seeing was a bit lower in budget than in the clip I had originally seen. This was until suddenly the foal changed into this life sized horse puppet that jumped up kicking its two front legs. It was so big and believable that the actor could actually ride on it. It was extraordinary the way it moved and even breathed like a real horse. At one point the horse came through the audience. As I was right beside the aisle, it was so near that I wanted to touch it. It somehow seemed even more realistic close up.  The story was much more emotional than I had remembered, as reading the book I was never really that fussed about this horse but seeing it there on stage I did really feel for it as a character. Although the horse was probably one of the best things there were other things that made this show so spectacular. There was a cloth material on stage where projections were shown, things like sketches of the horse riding and one particularly stunning image of blood slowly turning into red poppies. The music throughout was the old man from the start singing unaccompanied and it was very effective and made scenes very emotional. As well as all of this the acting was superb especially the man who played Albert as you could really believe his bond with this horse. By the end of the show I was in tears as though it was a happy ending it was very touching. It was a brilliant production and one that I would want to see again. In fact, Eden Court is showing the National Theatre Live recording from the West End and I am very tempted to go to this even though I have just seen the play! I can see why this is such a successful production and would recommend it to anyone.

-Kathleen Whiteford, S5

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