WOS TV: Morpurgo Marvels at War Horse Adaptation
Date: 18 October 2007
“Extraordinary” is Michael Morpurgo’s description of the National Theatre’s new stage adaptation of his 1982 children’s novel. The play - in which the horses and selected other characters are brought to life by life-sized puppets - received its world premiere last night (17 October 2007, previews from 9 October) at the NT Olivier, where it runs in rep over the Christmas season.
In War Horse, young Albert's beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France during the First World War. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. However, Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, the boy embarks on a treacherous mission to find the horse and bring him home.
War Horse’s puppets are created by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for South African puppet company Handspring. Suitable for over 12s, the production is co-directed by NT associates Marianne Elliott and Tom Smith and designed by Rae Smith, with lighting by Paule Constable, movement by Toby Sedgwick and music by Adrian Sutton.
The 26-strong, multi-tasking company features Luke Treadaway (as Albert), Angus Wright, Jamie Ballard, Alan Williams, Paul Chequer, Thusitha Jayasundera and Tim van Eyken.
Michael Morpurgo is the author of more than 100 children’s novels. His other novels that have been successfully adapted for the stage include Why the Whales Came and, also set in the First World War, Private Peaceful, which previously starred Paul Chequer, now in the War Horse cast.
TO VIEW THE WAR HORSE FIRST NIGHT TV FOOTAGE, JUST CLICK ON THE "PLAY" ARROW > BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THE TV SCREEN BELOW.
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For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for the War Horse curtain call and post-performance drinks at the National Theatre. Amongst our TV interviewees are cast members Luke Treadaway, Paul Chequer, Finn Caldwell and Emily Mytton, composer Adrian Sutton and author of the original novel, and former children’s laureate, Michael Morpurgo.
- by Terri Paddock
|Terrific. There are a few gunshots where they're getting the horse prepared for battle and a few random shots. Not actual fireworks. There was also a horse that died, so if your child is especially sensitive, this may not be appropriate. Otherwise, the story was sweet, the puppeteering extremely well done and creative. We loved it! - Judy H.||23 Mar 12|
|I am thinking of taking my youngster but am a bit worried about explosions and bangs as he is a bit nervous of things like fireworks. Am I worrying needlessly? - Dave||30 Jan 12|
|I am thinking of taking my 9 year old twins to see this as I have heard great reports about it- one of them is reading the book at the moment. It says it's suitable or 12 years plus , so am wondering if they are too young? Is it because of the emotional content? Any advice appreciated! - Lydia Newlands||31 Mar 11|
|We are going today and are very excited. - J Smallwood||31 Mar 11|
|Simply superb play and an incredible feat to bring pieces of wood and fabric to life in such a way. I urge you to see this. - Sue Lindsay||17 Mar 10|
|I saw it last night and was staring, open mouthed in amazement, for literally the whole play. The horses are literally a LOT better than anyone could ever anticipate and parts of it made my heart break. - Iona Vos||18 Sep 09|
|A great event in the Theatre, for everyone. - David Shearer||18 Jul 09|
|This was one of the best plays I have ever seen, me and my friend I went with spent the entire times either captivateed or in tears! The horses were fantastic, and so real, the audience really felt for them, even though they were just metal and leather! I reccomend it to everyone! Go Go Go! - Sophia Demery||16 Mar 09|
|This was without a doubt one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen - the horses were so lifelike and when Joey first burst onto the stage, there was an audible gasp of amazement from the audience. My 12 year old son was absolutely captivated.
A must see!!! - A. Tiley||22 Dec 08|
|This is an amazing production; for its story, for its creativity, its presentation and its message. Having seen theatre often in a lifetime, this is one which I shall always remember. Congratulations to the team !
- Geoff Mason||16 Dec 08|
|I saw this show with drama and i have honestly never been so mooved by theatre before i was in tears for hours and that goes for the whole group who went to see it. No one can even begin to understand what this show is like without seeing it! I recommend it to ANYONE!!!!! - kat ||09 Dec 08|
|I went to watch War Horse for a school trip and I am so glad I went. It was fantastic! I would love to go again and show my family how wonderful the perfomance was. The actors who played Joey and Topthorn, I am amazed how you could all become so horse-like. Every one was fantastic on that stage- especially the goose :) Keep on doing what you do best :) - Holly Boardman||01 Dec 08|
I went to see the show on the 21st November in the evening! And it was INCREDIBLE the horses were amazing and i admired the way those three people had to become the horse and act in such a peculiar way! The acting was also amazing it was so emotional and really heartfelt. A great watch and well worth the 5 hours travel!
I Just with i could forward my wishes personally to the cast.
Well done and best of luck for the future. - Grace Fox||22 Nov 08|
|I went to see this with my school for my GCSE drama coursework. It contains all the aspects a good play should have: emotion, believabilty, humor and drama. It was very moving and defiantly made me think deeper into the first world war and how this much have affected the soldiers and their families. I do half agree with Dominic Meehan. It is a very unusual story and very unrealistic but this makes the audience think deeper into how the families left behind must have felt when the ones they loved went into war, maybe never to return again. The skill of the puppeteers was amazing and very well staged. I would recommend this play to anyone who has a good supply of tissues! Very good play. - Amy Piercy||18 Nov 08|
|I though that the production itself was incredible and the use of the props however i cannot say that i was a particular fan of the writing or plot of the novel. - Dominic Meehan||17 Nov 08|
|I've now brought almost my entire family to this play and without fail they have all been moved and amazed and enlightened by the experience. The skills of the puppeteers and the scale of the production
is totally unforgettable. Thank you all. - Jennie Goossens||13 Nov 08|
|i would like to see this, i absoloutly love m.m books i one day like to meet him!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Fiona MacRae||13 Nov 08|
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