Consistently Infrequent

November 23, 2011

War Horse (New London Theatre, London, 2011 Production)

Filed under: Theatre — Tony Breyal @ 12:08 am

Just got back from watching the wonderful New London Theatre production of War Horse in Central London and thought I’d write up some general thoughts.

The Plot

A teenage boy, Albert, develops a deep bond with his horse, Joey, whom he raises from a fowl. His heart is broken however when the army requisitions his horse during World War I. Too young to officially join the army, the story revolves around the adventures Albert and Joey endure in an effort to be reunited again.

The Theatre

This is a wonderfully designed theatre, sort of a hybrid between a traditional theatre and an IMAX cinema I think would be an appropriate description. I’ve actually been here before when the Blue Man Group were resident and whilst the layout of the seating may have changed, the feel of the place remains the same. Tonight we were sat in the central stalls row D which provided an excellent view of the stage and plenty of leg room (I’m 5’11” tall).

The Production

This is an awe inspiring production. Everything about it is first class. The ingenious puppetry of the horses, requiring three different actors for movement, had me wide eyed with delight and feeling an array of different emotions for them throughout. The actors running through the audience made me feel part of the action. The story itself had many people in tears, even my eyes has a tiny bit of moisture around them at one point. The folk songs, which I was not expecting, were appropriate for the setting and added all kinds of different energy to the atmosphere. One song in particular which stands out was “The Year Turns Round Again” and is officially my new favourite song. There’s a TED talk about how they developed the show and is an interesting watch if you have time.

The Verdict

It is, simply put, the best play I have ever seen and would happily re-watch it again in a heartbeat if the tickets were not so expensive! I really need to get the soundtrack because I’ve fallen in love with the folk songs that were performed. Browsing twitter for tonight’s performance seems to echo my sentiments above. There is a movie version by Steven Spielberg which I now can not wait to watch and I might even look into the book (though my to-read list is longer than my arm at this point!).

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