If you have seen the movie WAR HORSE, you have a reference for a story that revolves around the love of a horse with a dramatic plot that is filled with incredible scenery.
My only point of reference for the story was from watching the movie which was inspired by the novel. I was intrigued about the concept of a Broadway play that would retell the story with the absence of the incredible scenery and live animals that I remembered from the movie.
The tour of WAR HORSE, based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford, will be directed by Bijan Sheibani based on the original Tony® Award-winning direction by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. At the heart of the show are life-sized puppets which bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.
I was blown away by the creativity and imagination that was used to bring both of those challenges to the stage with new life.
Hailed by The New York Times as “theatrical magic,” WAR HORSE is the powerful story of young Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, who has been enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. In a tale the New York Daily News calls “spellbinding, by turns epic and intimate,” Joey is caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. What follows is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, filled with stirring music and songs and told with the some of the most innovative stagecraft of our time.
There were soooo many elements of the show that really impressed me.
First, the puppeteers were absolutly incredible!!!
They accurately mimicked the mannerisms of a horse with such detail that you almost began to forget that you were not watching a real horse on stage.
The actors actually rode horses during the play.
The detail behind the design alone that would allow three puppeteers operating the horse, as an actor rides the puppet, is absolutely incredible to observe.
There were multiple horses.
I honestly thought that I would only see one horse in the show.
The fact that they were able to create several horses that also felt believable was even more amazing!
They were able to recreate key points in the movie by using creative props and imagery.
They make you feel like you are in the battle scenes.
I’ll admit that I jumped in my seat a few times.
There were moments of humor.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the story can be pretty intense. I loved that there were little pieces of humor sprinkled throughout the show to help lighten the heavy feel of the time period.
After the performance, I noticed some of the audience members had teary eyes. The story hit close to home to different people for different reasons. One person that I talked to afterwards shared that they owned a horse and that the mannerisms were spot on and reminded her of her horse.
So I will warn you that a puppet could make you cry and will definitely capture your heart!
In addition to Best Play, WAR HORSE received Tony® Awards for Best Direction of a Play (Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Christopher Shutt). A Special Tony Award was given to Handspring Puppet Company for their integral work on the production.
WAR HORSE will play the Aronoff Center from March 26 – April 7, 2013
Tuesday- Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 2:00PM and 8:00PM, and Sunday at 1:00PM and 6:30PM.
Tickets for WAR HORSE range from $28 – $83 and are subject to change based on demand.
They are available at the Aronoff Center Box Office downtown at 650 Walnut Street, online at CincinnatiArts.org or by phone at 513.621.ARTS.
For groups of 10 or more, contact the group sales department at 513.369.4363. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.
For more information, please visit www.BroadwayInCincinnati.com or www.warhorseonstage.com.
All photo credit is given to © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets for review purposes. All opinions are my own.