As I said last night, I was not enthused about watching and reviewing War Horse, but I’m willing to give just about any Broadway show a try. Then, I had my Joey interview and I actually started looking forward to the show. Husband thought I was faking my excitement on the way to the theatre last night. Neither of us are fans of the serious shows, we both tend to love musicals most. Remember, we are the people who got married at Disney World, we aren’t exactly the paragon of profound couples. Also, we both know that War Horse is sad, and we don’t like seeing sad animals stories either. (YouTube videos of puppies make us cry.) However, I assured him that the sheer talent on stage would be worth the dramatic storyline.
And, like always, as I was right.
I talked a lot about Joey, the horse puppet, in the last post so all I’ll say now is he did not disappoint. All of the puppets were so impressive. The way they trot, gallop, nay, leap, everything is so realistic. I think I can speak for the entire audience, when I say you see them as actual horses on stage and you just want to love on them. Then again, I want to love on most animals.
I LOVED the set. It was so simple, but so perfect. They had what looked like an enormous torn piece of old paper hung over the stage that had images, dates and sometimes video projected onto it throughout the show. It seems odd to have just one pieced used as the backdrop throughout an entire Broadway show, but it worked beautifully. There were a few other pieces that would move on and off stage for different scenes: a door, a window, a wooden fence, but all was kept very minimal. The story was so intense and the characters were so compelling that we didn’t need much else.
Then there were the effects. Again, so simple, yet magical. There was one scene in particular where Joey and Topthorn are running through a battlefield in WWII; they are facing the audience and running in place. The lights are moving up and down with their motions. The long torn paper hanging overhead depicts battlefields rolling by and shots and explosions are heard going off everywhere. The fallen soldiers on stage begin to roll backwards to give the illusion that the horses are moving forwards, and it all looks fantastic. The entire show is done like this.
Together, the lights, the props and the people create this realistic war zone and it’s almost breathtaking. I literally jumped several times from the shock of an explosion, a gunfire or a defeated character. I had tears in my eyes, and even laughed a few times. It’s nothing like Wicked or Book of Mormon, two of my favs, but it’s a must-see nonetheless. It’s a show that has stuck with me and certain scenes have run through my mind all day today. I love to see a show that keeps me thinking once it’s over. I’m so glad I gave War Horse a chance.
If you get a chance, take a night off from whatever it is you do, and go see War Horse at TPAC by June 8th. Then, please let me know what you think of the show. I’d love to hear your opinions!