War Horse- An Unbelievable Show

Arts Ambassador and MA Fashion Marketing and Branding student, Doria Wang, continues her exploration of British Theatre with a review of War Horse at Mayflower Theatre.

Image: War Horse (2018) Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

I went to Mayflower Theatre to watch War Horse on its first day. This was the first time I had watched a play (not a musical) in the United Kingdom. As English is not my first language, I was worried about being able to keep up with the action, but the actor and actress’s rich expression on stage helped me totally understand the drama.

War Horse was introduced in China in 2015 and I sadly missed that show. But I discovered last Christmas that would be coming to Southampton!

Arts Ambassadors Ben and Doria standing with Michael Ockwell, the Chief Executive of Mayflower Theatre.

I have always been curious about how would they bring the main protagonist Joey, a horse, to life on stage. After the show, I felt, that’s it! The coordination and choreography amongst the puppeteers really brought the horses to life with every sound and movement made me feel like it was real life (for those that don’t know the horses are large-scale puppets, each manned by three people).

Another thing really moved me was the emotional depth of the piece. Not only the connection between young farmer turned conscripted solider Albert and his beloved horse Joey that he’d raised, but also human love. During times of war and even though they can’t understand each other’s language, they were united in caring for an innocent animal. Through the horse’s journey, we discover what life was like in rural Britain at the beginning of WWI and the devastating effect of war on soldiers and their families. Albert’s father Arthur who is largely depicted as the villain of the piece from the beginning of the story, is destroyed and broken by the news of his son’s passing. A father’s love is portrayed as silent and heavy throughout. Empathy for both man and animal and the desperate futility of war is the overriding theme of War Horse, and it delivers this through compelling storytelling, puppetry and music throughout.

One cannot help be moved by War Horse, so do not miss its stay in Southampton at Mayflower Theatre and catch this great show before their 90th anniversary renovation! I can’t wait to see a rejuvenated Mayflower Theatre in August.

War Horse is on at Mayflower Theatre until Sat 9 June. For more information and to book visit http://bit.ly/2Lj5ZvS . Concessions available.

Arts Ambassadors is a paid opportunity, supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Excel Southampton Internship programme, University of Southampton.

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