War Horse

Bit of a gap in posting, eh? I’ve been doing bits of writing elsewhere but blogging is something I got out of the habit of doing regularly. Lately, though, I’ve had the urge to start up again, and having just moved the blog over onto a new hosting and updated the look and feel, now seems like as good a time as any to resume things. So, by way of a break(post)fast blog… theatre trip!

I saw War Horse on Saturday. Bit late to the party! I know it’s been around for a while. Having not read the book or seen the film, though, I was relatively unspoiled – although I knew the basic premise of the story.

I though it was well staged, and really liked the whole production design, from the fantastic puppets to the back-projected sketches, and the¬†choreography of the whole thing worked really well.¬†The horse puppets are as incredible as I’d hoped, but I think my favourite was actually the angry goose (called Barbara). You can actually buy a 1/2 scale version of the puppet, but it was “price on request” and I guess it’s probably ridiculously expensive.

The ensemble cast was good; there were a couple of bits where I couldn’t hear what people were saying but generally spot on. Have to say the one thing I wasn’t massively keen on was the script/story itself – not the subject matter so much as the execution. I found it a bit laboured and all the emotional beats were pretty obvious. I don’t know if this is a function of the original book or how it was adapted, but while I really appreciated the novelty of a sympathetic German character – and the implication throughout that people of all stripes are united in their ability to show compassion (or not), to animals, if not always to one another – I found quite a lot of the family-related plot a bit dull and preachy. And the will-he-won’t-he pull a plough thing, etc. etc.

Luckily the puppets are just THAT good, I didn’t mind too much – plus it was a cheap ticket.

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