Six years after its original National Theatre run I can confidently say that ‘War Horse’ stands strong. This is the first time I have experienced this production and, needless to say, my mouth was very firmly agape throughout the entire affair. The craftsmanship of the puppetry alone gave me a suspension of disbelief that was so strong and lasting that, as far as I’m concerned, the horses were alive. Their breathing and the noticeable twitches and movements that took place even when they were practically in darkness showed the attention to detail the puppeteers put into their characters.
The story, set within the First World War, gave the global cock up that it was some due optimism. All too often have we seen purely pessimistic portrayals of the war in recent years and these all have their place (many of them being very good indeed ) but ‘War Horse’ seeks to and succeeds in bringing some positivity into this dark world. The production does this by giving the design a folky, storytelling feel; made obvious by the ripped page from the notebook Albert receives during the play which makes up the projection screen from which we are given vital scene setting information. One can assume we are being told the story by Albert after the fact; the torn paper representing his retrospective narrative. Furthermore, we must consider the fantastic cast who all worked in tune to create stunning action and seamless scene changes.
I could go on but I think that you should just go and have your heart warmed by this beautifully crafted theatrical experience.