Last night my 11yo and I headed to The Lowry to watch War Horse. We’ve read the book and seen the film and heard great things about the show. The performance exceeded all expectations, it was absolutely incredible and received a well deserved standing ovation at the end.
The horses are puppets this is not a puppet show. The horses capture everything equine accurately. From the very beginning I forgot they are not real animals and by the interval I found myself reaching for the tissues!
Originally a children’s book by Michael Morpugo, War Horse takes audiences on an emotional journey. It tells the story of Albert Narracott and his horse set against the backdrop of the First World War through the eyes of a horse, Joey.
Joey is sold to the army, shipped off to France, serves first on the British and then, after being captured, on the German sides before ending up wounded and wandering in no-man’s land.
Joey was raised from a foal and loved by Albert, his young master, who lies about his age and enlists at just 16 years old with the express purpose of finding his beloved horse amid the carnage of the trenches.
Joey, Top Form and the other horses in the show are truly magnificent life size creations which become the most important characters in the show. They are brought to life by the puppeteers, who never once drop their guard and whiny, toss their manes and gallop across the stage to create the illusion.
There are few props or stage furniture. A torn piece of paper which represents a drawing of Joey that Albert carries with him, provides the background and timeline with scenery and dates projected onto it. The scenes are created with lighting, atmospheric smoke, carefully crafted costumes, explosions and gunshots which made the whole audience jump!
There is also a spectacular tank brought out into stage in the final scenes, enhancing the contrast between the cavalry and machinery introduced in the First World War.
War Horse is a gripping live action war story which tells an amazing tale of loyalty, friendship, camaraderie, courage, fear, and suffering. That said there are moments that bring laughter, a truly emotionally show which exceeded all expectations.
What did my 11 year old son think? As we stood in applause, with tears on our cheeks he simply said “Wow, that was amazing”. It really was incredible and a show you really don’t want to miss seeing.
War Horse is at The Lowry from Wed 13 – Sat 30 June.
For more information and to book visit www.thelowry.com