The Incredible War Horse

Albert with Joey in War Horse

Fri 20 Apr 2017

On Wednesday I was so excited to finally see War Horse, the National Theatre’s adaptation of Michael Morprgo’s novel. I had heard so many great things about this play and was delighted it had finally arrived in Edinburgh.

The play tells the story of a Devon farm boy called Albert and his horse Joey. It’s a beautiful story of love and loyalty, set during the First World War. Between 1914 and 1918, this terrible war killed around ten million men and one million horses. This story shows the horror and futility of the war and how it affected every day lives. However, there is a positive message of peace, which shines through.

It was unlike anything I had seen before on stage. Absolutely stunning, with fantastic performances from the whole cast. Thomas Dennis, who played Albert, was outstanding. The horses and other animals were represented with the most amazing life-size puppets from the Handspring Puppet Company. All the puppets and props were controlled by puppeteers, who were visible on stage in this exposed style of puppetry. They moved around the stage so beautifully, bringing the story to life. They even made all of the animal noises.

The puppets themselves are works of art. The actors can actually ride the horses! The puppeteers articulate every part of the horse, from the twitch of an ear to the flick of the tail. This means they can be very expressive and convey a range of emotions so well. It was such a unique, truly awesome thing to see.

The War Horse story is very moving, sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying. We are now almost a hundred years on from the end of the First World War, and this play is a beautiful tribute to those men and horses that fought and the millions that died. I would absolutely recommend a visit to the Festival Theatre to see War Horse. It’s on now until 12th May.

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