You may have read the book. You may have seen the movie, but have you witnessed the thrilling, amazing and exciting National Theatre production of War Horse?
Our Year 8 pupils write about their visit -
Magnificent, marvellous and moving. This was what many of us thought when we went to see War Horse on Friday at the Brighton Centre.
The original story of War Horse was written by Michael Morpurgo. It is the thrilling tale of a young boy named Albert and his horse, Joey. Albert’s father, Ted, wastes all of the mortgage money on buying Joey, a young foal, at an auction, but young Albert adores him. Growing up together, Albert and Joey develop a strong bond and love galloping on the hills but when Albert’s father makes a bet that Joey can learn to plough in just a week, Albert has to work hard to train Joey and, once successful, he earns the right to keep him.
When war breaks out, horses are being bought to go to France. When Ted hears this, he immediately sells Joey for one hundred guineas. Albert is devastated and tries to enlist so he can be with Joey, however, he is too young. On receiving a book with sketches of Joey, from Captain Nicholls, who promised to look after him, Albert is desperate to go and find his beloved horse, so he signs up and goes to France.
During Albert’s time there, he has to dig a trench, go over the top into No Man’s land and face many other horrible things. Joey meanwhile is having his own horrific experiences; he started his time in the cavalry but after an accident on the front line he finds his way into the German army and is put to work pulling a cart. This ultimately saves his life as he does not have to work on the front line any more.
War Horse is a tale of love and friendship between man and beast and this production captured every detail of Morpurgo’s masterpiece. The costumes were excellent and the cast were phenomenal, especially Albert and the puppeteers. When I was told that the horses were puppets, I was sceptical about the quality of the play. However, when I saw the horse, I was blown away. I wouldn’t call it a puppet; it is a work of art, extremely well crafted and surprisingly realistic; after a few minutes my mind seemed to tune out the people working the horse as its movement was so realistic. Instead of thinking of them as puppets, I thought of them as actual horses. Having some knowledge of horses I could see that they really had captured the movement of them, spot on.
As well as the acting, the story was stellar as well. The plot was still faithful to the book with a few different elements added in. One of my favourite scenes was when Joey has to pull a cart in the war to prove that he doesn’t have to be a cavalry horse, and for some reason (no exaggeration) I could not wipe the smile off my face.
The show also masterfully entwines humour within it. After a dark scene where many die in a battle, Albert and his war friend, David, often joke around and have a laugh. Also there is an annoying goose on which a door is always slammed, which the whole of Year 8 found hilarious.
The thing I found most extraordinary were the special effects throughout the show. With dazzling lights, huge smoke explosions and loud gunshots, the effects were some of the best I have ever seen. The only thing I would watch out for are the sudden gunshots which nearly had me jumping out of my seat a few times, and William, who was sitting beside me, screamed in shock! The bangs of the guns really made you feel as if you were actually in World War One.
An exciting and entertaining show this is something you should not miss. I highly recommend you snatch a ticket and go to one of the touring production’s shows. They are back in Canterbury next Spring. Why are you still reading? Book it now!
Taken from reviews by Grace, Danny, Alexander and Elizabeth . Many thanks to them.