Harrowing, riveting, and incredibly well done - War Horse at the Winspear Theater in Dallas was a superb drama. I generally go to musicals, but this show captured my attention after watching a Making of War Horse documentary. The National Theater of Great Britain created the show from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. The creative vision from book to stage stopped me in awe.
Prior to WWI, a colt is born and bought with the mortgage money by a poor English farmer. Albert, the sixteen year old son, bonds with this horse. He trains it, raises it, and vows he'll find the horse when it's conscripted into the British Army (the dad sold it for one hundred pounds - much of it will sadly go toward alcohol).
We see how the war affects the small village, the soldiers over in France at the Somme, and we root for Joey, the horse and for Albert (joins the Army) to reunite in peace some day.
The Handspring Puppet Company created magic - those were horses on that stage, done in an illusion of timing and skill. I had to shake my head in one scene to make sure I could believe my eyes. Then the illustrations of war along with strobe lights and explosive sounds had the audience ducking for cover, and cringing at the barbed wire scene.
War is hell, but the love of a boy/man and his horse know no bounds. Triumph of spirit trumps evil any day. The play War Horse is memorable and striking. If you can catch it on Broadway or a touring production, I highly recommend an evening of serious stage magic storytelling.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.