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War Horse - Theatre Review

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by Melina (subscribe)
I have recently returned to Melbourne, my place of birth, after a 15 year absence. What a treat to have the opportunity to rediscover this delightful city!
Published January 15th 2013
Heartwarming play praised by audiences and critics worldwide
War Horse is based on the popular children's novel by Michael Morpurgo, and follows the journey of Albert and his beloved horse Joey. Since its London premiere in 2007, War Horse has been seen by over two million people across the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada and now it's Australia's turn.

War Horse Down Under


We meet the protagonists in Devon when Albert's struggling father, in an attempt to restore some pride, uses the family mortgage money to purchase Joey at an auction. Albert steps in and takes responsibility for training Joey and a special bond is formed.

World War I begins and Albert's father sells Joey to the cavalry, Albert is heartbroken and vows to buy back Joey at the end of the war. The war continues and Albert with the hope of finding Joey. We witness the brave journeys of both the horse and his boy as they fight to survive. It is a moving story of friendship and has received high praise, along with two Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards.

I attended a preview performance as a family Christmas treat and had very high expectations. My theatre loving mother thought it was fabulous and described the horse puppets as 'excellent in both design and execution'. My non theatre loving brother told me he didn't hate it, which coming from him is a relatively positive review. As for me, I was captivated the moment Joey galloped onto the stage.

The way the horses move is incredibly realistic, a credit to the creators and the actors that bring them life, this is no Muppets Show. The life size puppets, created by the Handspring Puppet Company, are exquisite and definitely steal the show. The lead 'non puppet' actors and ensemble were great and interact beautifully with the puppets. The set is simple but effective and the music helps to pull all the elements together. War Horse is one of those rare gems that will delight a variety of audiences.

War Horse is scheduled to play at the Arts Centre in Melbourne until 10 March 2013 before completing the Australian tour with seasons in Sydney and Brisbane. Evening performances are held Tuesday through to Saturday with matinees on weekends and Wednesday afternoons. Special packages are available for school groups.
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When: 31st December 2012 - 10th March 2013
Phone: 1300 182 183
Where: State Theatre - Arts Centre Melbourne
Cost: $79.90 - $129.90
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