Those who've been reading my blog on a regular basis, will know I like to visit the theatre. So during our recent trip to London, we also went to see a performance of War Horse, by the National Theatre in the New London.
Perhaps you've already seen the film, which was based on the theatre play. It's a lovely story. In the pre-war period, a Devonshire farmer buys a young foal. He wants to raise it as a race horse, and then sell it. His son Albert is to take care of the horse, which is baptized Joey. But times get harder and the farmer needs money. He takes a bet that Joey will be able to plow some acres of field - which nobody believes. But Albert, with all his patience, gets the horse so far as to accept the rigging and learn how to plow.
But then World War One starts, and all horses are needed to go to the front - also Joey. He is sold to the army and goes to a major. This one takes good care of it, but he falls in battle. The horse runs off and is found by a young French girl, who in turn takes care of it. Germans find their farm though, and the horses are taken away.
Now Joey has to pull canons from one place to another. While most other riding horses die in the harness, he survives, thanks to Albert's training.
There is a tough moment when Joey escapes and gets caught in the barbed wire. English soldiers find him, however think he will not make it. In the meantime Albert has also joined the army and he is in infirmery, when he hears a horse neigh. He recognizes Joey at once. United again, man and horse recover from their wounds - and they safely return to England.
I saw the film before the theatre play, and what intrigued me most was how they would represent the horses. I must say it was beautifully done. Even though you could see it was only a puppet, the head of Joey looked like a real one, especially the eyes! They were watching you, believe it or not.
I do understand now why this play gets standing ovations all the time.