London Theatre Review: War Horse at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

Posted on 15 November 2019

I remember when War Horse first came to the stage twelve years ago. Eleven year old me read about it in ‘Pony’ Magazine and immediately wanted to go. Well, yesterday I finally got there. Brought back for a limited run at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, War Horse makes great use of the huge space. It is one of the most unique pieces of theatre I have ever seen. The horses are huge puppets manned by three people each and the effect is amazingly believable. 

The tale originally told in the novel by Michael Morpurgo is of Albert and his horse Joey. The two grow up together before Joey is acquired by the army and sent to join the cavalry in WWI, Albert joins the army in an attempt to find him and their stories, along with that of Albert’s family back home, are told side by side. 

What makes the story so moving is as it is told through the perspective of the horse all nationalities from British to German are represented as humans. No one side is viewed as evil. Everyone is trapped in the horror of a war they did not choose to start and everyone suffers. And the love of and care for an animal is the same the world over. 

The story is made all the more powerful by the constant feeling of motion in the plot and the stage. The story jumps around a lot so the use of a classic stage set would be tricky. By making use of a few props and projected drawings along with the puppet horses, animals, actors, actresses and some very clever lighting there seems much more going on than in effect there is. The lack of distracting sets really allows the audience to focus in on the puppets and the cast. 

I grew up around horses so seeing the depth of the relationship between Albert and Joey really hit home to me. I especially laughed at his training attempts But perhaps most importantly the play does not steer away from the horrors of war, for animals and people, and how all humankind must work together to prevent it. 

War Horse is only showing until the 23rd November but it really is a must-see for any history or animal lover. So make sure to catch it whilst you still can!

War Horse tickets available from £22!

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Morag Forbes

By Morag Forbes

I grew up going to see almost everything that came to in the far North of Aberdeen at His Majesty’s Theatre (we never got the Christmas ballet until January). I went to London for the first time for my tenth birthday where I saw the Lion King and will always remember that first West End Stage experience, the stage sets and acting are another level. After moving to London a year ago I have been enjoying the novelty of multiple stage shows being on at once and generally trying to see as many things as possible. But I’ll always have a soft spot for musicals.