TRP Critics: War Horse

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A passionate bond between human and creature, man and animal, boy and horse. It’s something the general public can never resist. So it’s no wonder the theatre tonight filled every seat available. It is no wonder this talented cast received a standing ovation, because this show is, and will most definitely continue to be, outstanding.

It remains to be seen and revisited at least once in your lifetime considering how stunning the puppetry, theatrics, lighting and animation is. I don’t even think it’s remotely possible to be disappointed with such a display… unless of course you were expecting real life horses. Even in this area, it’s hard to be dismayed as the skeletal models appear as real as any other living creature. Breathing, walking and sounding with such accuracy to it’s alive counter-part; you can scarcely tell the difference. Despite the play’s heavy reliance on the audience’s imagination, it seems effortless to watch. You are undoubtedly transported to the rolling countryside of Devon through a lyrical folk song, or a desolate battlefield through blinding white lights and gunshots that leave us caught fearfully in headlights. Equally, the horses’ expressions are beautifully illustrated with humorous mannerisms and poignant music that just allows you to know and understand everything, you know? You share their fears and their courage and their relief and happiness and you can’t help but shed a tear.

Some would claim Michael Morpurgo’s tale is an idealistic one. Can you even imagine a man could survive the traumas of a four year war only to find the horse he’d been seeking for so long? However, I believe this novel and play have encompassed the sheer and brutal traumas of war: separation, fear, and death. They have harnessed the horrors of injured soldiers with zombified appearances as black as silhouettes, blatantly cutting through the green sea of uniforms. The youthful generation, that essentially were wiped from existence, can be seen walking across no mans land before they are met with grenades and machine guns. The mechanical revolution revealed in the juxtaposition of a menacing tank against one courageous Joey. But it also shines beacons of light and hope amongst the darkness that not only makes the tale so exceptionally uplifting, but it also highlights a goodness in humanity unmatched to the cruelties hate can provoke. It lifts my spirits and warms my heart. And as I advance on my cold walk home, I am only inspired by the artistry I have witnessed tonight.

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