Thursday, May 30, 2013

"This one isn't just any old horse"...

Last Friday, Ben and I headed up to London to watch War Horse. We were given tickets by Ben's parents as Christmas presents, and I've been waiting in anticipation for the last five months for the day to arrive! Having seen the film, I had some idea of the storyline/what to expect but, all I really had to go on were people's rave reviews.

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The first brilliant thing about the production is (probably quite obviously) the horses. As you may know/can guess, there are no real horses in the show, however, the puppets that are used are incredible. Manned by three actors/puppeteers, the plywood/foam rubber horses are spectacular. The skill the 3 actors have at making the horses twitch, breath and become real is unimaginable; they even provide the noises for the animals. I was skeptical as to how good a puppet could be, but wow, I was wrong! Throughout the performance all I saw was the horse, the actors proficiency at controlling the puppet made them fade into the background and truly brought Joey to life. 

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I particularly enjoyed the interactive feel to the show. The cast regularly made use of a gang way between isles D and E, bringing the action right into the audience. The singer-come-narrator's country-toned melodic voice rang out, setting the scene as he meandered around the theatre throughout the performance. 

Sion Daniel Young's portrayal of Albert Narracott was particularly strong. I was touched by the relationship he created with the puppet horse Joey, and felt his despair at being parted from his beloved animal; the acting in general was on top form. I enjoyed some of the dialogue being in French and German. Although I wasn't 100% sure on what was being said, it truly immersed the story in it's war time setting. 

As is my general opinion, live performances are always so much better than film versions and, War Horse is no exception - I now can't wait to read the book. If you get the chance to head to Drury Lane, be sure to stop off and pay Joey and Albert a visit! 

1 comment

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