I’d seen War Horse in the bright lights of London’s West End a few years ago and thought it was superb. So, venturing up Hanley (duck) tonight, I kind of knew what to expect and just how good it would be as it made its merry way to The Potteries.
I was wrong.
The cramped, atmospheric surroundings of its London home made it a cosy-at-best, knees-red-raw-in-the-morning-at-worst experience for my husband at well over six feet tall, and even for me – a few inches shorter – I felt like an overplayed accordion by the end of the evening. Yet here, in the ample leg-roomed majesty of The Regent, the impossible became possible. War Horse was actually even better than when I’d seen it before!
Following 8 record-record breaking years in London’s West End and having played in 11 countries around the world to over 7 million people, I watched the National Theatre’s acclaimed play on the first of it’s 10 day/night run in our lovely city…..
Michael Morpurgo’s classic novel is turned into a spellbinding riot of noise and visuals that batter at any senses that are left after your ride on the emotional rollercoaster that War Horse truly is. It’s basically a love story; true, unbridled (geddit?) and unequivocal friendship between a sixteen year old lad and his horse, set during the First World War.
The horses and other animals are the stars of the show. The puppetry is quite simply breathtaking. Indeed, they seem uncannily real in movement and mood. They may be puppets, but this wasn’t Punch and Judy or Kermit and Miss Piggy: this was striking and inspirational stuff on a grand scale. The horses are quite simply unbelievable. An event in themselves. Add on amazing sound, lighting and animated projections and I doubt you won’t be gobsmacked when you see it for the first time. Or second.
Indeed, at times it seems less a theatrical experience: it’s more of a concert or an event. It’s simply a huge, massive thing.
The city centre has had some wonderful stuff on in recent weeks: concerts by James and the Sleaford Mods went ballistic, and tomorrow I’m off to listen to Dave Haslam and Colin Curtis talk about their dj-ing careers. It’s things like the above, and getting the likes of War Horse here, that will get this city, our city, back firmly on the cultural map. My advice is simply to get yourself a ticket for War Horse before it gallops away from ST1 in 9 days time.
War Horse runs at the Regent Theatre up to and including Saturday 6th April.
For ticket details call 0844 871 7615 or go to https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/war-horse/regent-theatre/