Reviewed by Teresa Jones
I had the great pleasure of walking down the red carpet to attend the opening night of War Horse at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal last night.
The play is celebrating its 10th year and 100 years since the end of the first world war.
The play is based on the book of the same name written by Michael Morpurgo and has been adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford.
I have to say it is the most moving, emotive and fantastic play I have ever seen.
It brings you right into the horror of what the men and animals of both sides had to face and also what the loved ones left behind went through.
The story begins with Joey as a foal being sold at the market and shows the rivalry between two brothers one being Alberts father who becomes Joeys trainer and best friend you see trust and a soul connection between Albert and Joey right from the start.
The puppets and the talents of the Handsprung Puppet Company bring such realism to the stage you could almost loose the fact that you are not looking at real horses they seem to breath and make every noise you would expect to hear from a horse they are truly amazing to see.
The story continues with Albert and Joey growing and training together and giving Joey a skill, which unknowingly will help save his life.
As the war starts Alberts father sells Joey to the Army to become a war horse which breaks Albert’s heart he is too young to join up and go with Joey but as the war goes on he has never forgotten Joey and is sent something that makes his mind up he is going to find Joey so he like many other boys lies about his age and in lists and is sent to the front line. From here you get taken through all the horrific things these men and animals had to see hear live and many died through. The lighting and sound effects are so realistic that at times I wanted to cover my ears not because it was too loud but to block out the realism of it all.
I, and most of the packed theatre, cried openly through much of this heart touching play, it is truly spectacular.
The whole cast are fantastic in each of their roles and truly deserved their standing ovations the music and songs sung by Bob Fox the song man bringing the show together with their words.
I really can’t say enough about War Horse but I can promise it won’t disappoint you and there is a happy end.
It is always a pleasure to visit the Theatre Royal it is a very comfortable theatre with very helpful staff, it is easily reached by public transport or car with ample parking all very close. The theatre has a coffee shop and a restaurant all making for a great night out.
I wish I was able to give higher ratings for War Horse. 5 out of 5 for an evening that will stay with me for a long long time.
Tickets cost from £19 to £57 (booking fees may apply).
War Horse is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 29 August to 15 September 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222