A modern-day classic, uniquely staged by the Handspring Puppet Company
War Horse is a play based on the book of the same title by author Michael Morpurgo, who held the post of Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005.
Adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, who earned an Olivier and a Tony award for the production, the story of War Horse is told in part by a fantastic cast of actors, alongside puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company. The horses are constructed using bendable bamboo frames but the incredible skill of the puppeteers makes this a truly unique performance. They almost magically breathe life into the creatures and you soon forget that these aren’t real horses on stage.
War Horse is set in the early 20th Century, and it follows a magnificent thoroughbred named Joey who forms a strong bond from birth with young Albert Narracott who lives on the neighbouring farm. Albert soon comes to own Joey, after his father, Ted, buys him at an auction in a reckless bidding frenzy to spite their landlord. Albert begins to nurture and train the colt to be a plough-horse, attracting derisory remarks from many of the villagers who don’t think it possible; a thoroughbred wouldn’t have the mark of being a work horse. Albert, however, proves them wrong, serving only to strengthen his bond with Joey who has developed into an extremely hardy and resilient horse.
At the outbreak of the First World War, to make ends meet, Ted secretly sells Joey to a young officer in the cavalry, Captain James Nicholls. Albert realises what has happened when he finds Joey’s stable empty, and makes a futile attempt to stop it. Through the rest of the play, we follow Joey’s epic journey as he finds himself serving on each side of the war. But through all that time, Albert has not forgotten his beloved horse and he enlists into the army in order to find Joey and bring him home.
An incredibly moving story with poignant moments reflecting on the horrors of the Great War; War Horse is also extremely touching, showing the enduring love a boy has for his best friend, perhaps attracting Steven Spielberg to it so much that he chose to film his version.
One of the most remarkable plays to be showing in London, War Horse truly deserves all the praise it has received, and ought to run as long as Cats did.
War Horse tickets in London:
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Thursday 1st January 1970
Thursday 1st January 1970