Last Saturday my mother treated my sister and I to see War Horse at the Lyric Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane. It was an incredible theatrical performance with masterful puppetry that deserves the highest of accolades. In truth I haven’t seen Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood version of War Horse which was adapted from a children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo published in 1982.
I’ve shied away because I’ve heard there are some tragically sad scenes and I’m a emotional soul (especially when it comes to animals) at the best of times. If Mum hadn’t taken matters into her own hands I would never of booked the ticket. I’m so glad she did.
From the opening scene where a foal new on its legs is depicted by a wooden puppet I was encapsulated. The foal was manoeuvred by three puppeteers – one controlled the foals neck, ears and head, the other puppeteer controlled the front legs and the other the back legs.
I was instantly swept into a world on the cusp of World War I in Devon, England. From the get-go I was fooled into believing Joey the foal who turns into a horse was a living, breathing horse on stage.
The movements and mannerisms of Joey were uncannily equine-like which horse lovers would truly appreciate. The entire story encapsulates a childhood love affair between a boy, Albert Narracott and his horse Joey. Albert’s sheer stubborness to be reunited with Joey after his father sold him to the British calvary, sees him enlist underage to go and find his beloved horse and bring him home to Devon.
Be warned: I only came with one tissue and mascara stained eye lashes and I started crying in the first minute. Friends had pre-warned me about a ‘barbed wire’ scene so I was anxious throughout the production to see this. And it was incredibly distressing but necessary to the story (without giving too much away).
There are some lovely laugh out loud moments that disperse the heavy cloak of sadness that envelopes the story. The goose that honks and flutters around the house yard is hilarious and very well depicted.
War Horse the play reignites powerful emotions of war, the sacrifice made by our forefathers and the war horses that became so tragically entangled in its ugliness.
What I truly love about this story is the ending! I recommend booking a ticket you won’t be disappointed.