War Horse – one of the best known, and best loved, theatrical productions of this century.Posted on 3rd December 2020
It’s hard to imagine a better way to re-open the Corn Hall than with a showing of what must be one of the best known, and best loved, theatrical productions of this century. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, War Horse follows the fortunes of Joey, a horse removed from his life as a farm animal and plunged into the horrors of the cavalry in the first World War.
The play was originally conceived as a means of fulfilling an ambition to bring the brilliance of the Handspring Puppet Company to the National Theatre. So while this episodic tale is buttressed by a reliably strong ensemble cast, the stars of the show are the horses (as well as the geese and the crows). The puppeteers breathe life into extraordinary life-size effigies with such artistry and skill that their technique is quickly forgotten, as the emotion and depth of the story unfolding sweeps the audience away.
Michael Morpurgo famously thought “they must be mad” when he was approached, but such doubts proved unfounded, as the production subsequently transferred to the West End, and then travelled the world. Here is a chance to see it as originally conceived, with all the stagecraft one has come to expect from the National.