At just over one hour long, Farm Boy, written by Michael Morpurgo and performed by New Perspectives Theatre Company, is adapted and directed by Daniel Buckroyd. Farm Boy is the sequel to War Horse and, although we learn more about Joey the war horse, he is not the central focus of this tale.
The heart of the story focuses on the relationship between the grandpa (John Walters) and grandson (Gareth Bennett-Ryan). The grandson, a city boy, visits his grandpa on his farm in Devon and is fascinated by the old tractor in the shed and wants to know all about it.
The grandpa shares memories and stories with his grandson, including the changes in rural life when Joey the war horse returns to the farm with his own father Albert after the First World War. The story captivates the deep bond and affection between grandpa and grandson, and their mutual love of the countryside. The characterisation and touching bond across generations is portrayed excellently by both actors.
The simple set consists solely of a 1920’s Fordson tractor constructed and painted by Tim Brierley and Susan Winter. The simplicity of the set allows the actors to use their own skills to draw in the audience so they feel as if they are with them on the farm in rural Devon. Matt Marks‘ music and Mark Dymock’s lighting both add to atmosphere. With no puppetry as in War Horse, the horses are left to the imagination of the audience.
This absorbing and moving tale, with its superb storytelling and acting, captures the hearts of the audience, both young and old.