It’s funny. All of my friends who have seen War Horse have told me to rush to the theatre and see this. I’ve ignored them, partly because when I was in London I found out it was coming to Broadway so I decided to wait. And then once it was in New York, I found out it was coming to San Francisco so again, I decided to wait. That really wasn’t the smartest decision I could have made.
Whatever you do, do not wait to see this production at the Curran Theatre.
This was one of the most creative and incredibly emotional pieces of theatre I have ever seen. The story-telling, puppets, and music blew me away.
About three years ago, I had the opportunity to take a backstage tour of the National Theatre. While backstage, we were up close and personal with the life size horses. I was taken aback by their sheer size and beauty. It was unbelievable. I didn’t understand how they would be used on stage, but I was already convinced that this piece of theatre would be interesting to see.
The three puppeteers that control all the elements of the horse literally breathed life into a puppet. Each horse had their own personalities and after a moment, you actually believed that the horse was real. It’s amazing that they were able suspend our disbelief in this way.
This show based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel was adapted by Nick Stafford (in association with Handspring Puppet Company) to feel like a movie screenplay. The way the music, written by Adrian Sutton, moved the story along and created suspense and relief in emotional moments literally played out like a soundtrack of a movie. I’ve never seen live theatre use music this way in a play before. It turned out to be absolutely thrilling.
I was crying by the end of the show I was so emotionally engaged with the lead, Albert Narracott (Andrew Veenstra – a BYU graduate) and his relationship with his horse, Joey. The relationship between these two reminded me of the relationship I had with my dog growing up as a child. A bond between an animal and a human can be incredibly fierce and those lucky to have had that bond knows the strength that can come from it. This moving story shows us this strength with incredible beauty and grace.
Please don’t do what I did and put off seeing War Horse. Run and see it.
This is a piece of theatre that is going to be with me for a very long time.