Following the outbreak of World War One, Albert’s cherished horse and best friend Joey becomes caught up in the onslaught of war. After being sold to the Cavalry and shipped over to France, Joey is soon embroiled in the war and is taken on a terrifying journey that sees him serve on both sides. Albert, who was too young to be conscripted, is left behind on his parents Devonshire farm and cannot forget Joey or the unbreakable bond that they share and commences on a perilous journey to bring back his closest companion.
After 8 record-breaking years in the West End and playing to 7 million people in 11 different countries around the world, the National Theatre’s revolutionary play War Horse is now touring the UK, and it really is a spectacle that everyone should see.
Based on the much loved novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford, the National Theatre have created a truly moving and awe-inspiring piece of theatre. Accompanied by life-sized galloping horses by Handspring Puppet Company that bring to life the magnificent creatures at the heart of the play, this awe-inspiring imaginative drama is a real theatrical phenomenon.
The entire ensemble are all a credit to the National Theatre. Their utter professionalism and their ability to tell this harrowing story with such genuine emotion is incredible. In particular, those actors who manoeuvre the horse puppets with such careful grace and with all the feelings that Morpurgo intended when he decided to write a book about the horrors of war through the eyes of the horses sent to suffer conflicts that they, unlike their riders, could never understand.
Whilst the striking puppets are the stars of the show, there are stand out performances from the cast. Thomas Dennis, who also played Christopher in the National Theatre’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (West End), triumphs as Albert Narracott – the young boy with a big heart, who creates an everlasting partnership with Joey. His ability to capture the naivety and spirit of his character is outstanding and it is a real joy to watch him and Joey on stage.
Bob Fox acts as a singing narrator, helping take the audience on a journey from rural Devon to the trenches of war with traditional English folk songs. His beautiful voice rings out across the auditorium and helps push the narrative through time in the most simple yet poignant way.
Accompanying the action is the stage design by Rae Smith, which moves from scene to scene with the speed of the narrative. From reading the programme notes, Smith’s drawings from her initial meetings form the basis of the scenic backdrop which provides the context of where the action takes place and aids in heightening the atmosphere.
The content of the play is of course dark, and nothing is sugar coated in this heart-rending tale of the true horrors of war. This is not just a play about a boy and his horse but a languishing for peace, and a yearning for a world without war.
War Horse plays the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 2nd December. To Book Tickets, and we really think you should, visit: www.atgtickets.com/liverpool