"War Horse" is the play about an outbreak of World War One when Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. Joey is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. Albert, who remained on his parents’ Devon farm, cannot forget Joey. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home. Following 8 record-breaking years in London’s West End and having played in 11 countries around the world to over 7 million people, the National Theatre’s acclaimed play "War Horse" is now touring the UK as part of its 10th Anniversary Tour.
Albert (Thomas Dennis) and Joey (Image: Birgit & Ralf Brinkhoff)
Albert was portrayed by Thomas Dennis. Thomas Dennis did an amazing job of taking us through his journey. At the start of the play Albert was a young boy who found a friend in Joey and as the play progressed, their relationship developed forming the strong bond between them. As an audience we saw Joey as Alberts only friend and it was sweet to see how much Albert loved Joey. Albert was a very loveable character as throughout the play his kind, loving personality was consistent which the audience really liked. He was also the only person who always believed in Joey from the start up until the end of the play. There were times in the play in which the audience felt sympathetic towards Albert. The audience also realised that Albert wouldn't stop searching for Joey whilst there was still hope he was alive, as a member of the audience everybody wished for Albert and Joey to be reunited and their bond to be rebuilt, which is why when they finally reunite it is very emotional.
The goose was played by Billy Irving. The comedic character of the goose had the auditorium filled with laughter. Every time the goose got denied access to the house the audience couldn't help but giggle. The repetition of this gave the play a comedic twist. I liked the fact that this character really lightened the mood even though the play over all was quite emotional. The sound effects created by Billy Irving were very realistic and sounded very much like a goose.
Jo Castleton played Alberts mother Rose. Rose was a very relatable character to all the mothers in the audience as we have seen all the stages of worry that Rose had been through when Albert went to fight in the army and find Joey.
The character of Emilie was portrayed very well by Joelle Brabban. Joelle's facial expressions were impeccable and gave the audience an insight as to how terrifying it would've been to live close to a war zone.
The song man played by Bob Fox was an interesting character as he acted as a narrator to the whole play and his songs set the mood for each scene taking place. The song man also helped the audience understand anything they may have misinterpreted.
The horse puppets were breath-taking! The way that the horses were made was outstanding as they looked so realistic and after a while as a member of an audience you forgot that the horse wasn't actually real. The actors/actresses in control of Joey and another horse in the play called Topthorn did an amazing job as it must be hard operating the horse puppets. The soundscape they created with their mouths was just incredible.
The set was very simple yet effective. I really loved the use of the screen hanging in the air, because it gave the audience an insight as to what was going on telling us what year it was and showed us how long Albert had been looking for Joey and I also loved when it showed the sketches that had been created of Joey.
This show gets:
Overall, This breathtaking production of War horse is better than the film , as emotional as the book and I guarantee you will laugh AND cry during this phenomenal play as it takes you on a fABULOUS journey