War Horse at The Mayflower Theatre

Saturday 19 May 2018

The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton are known for putting on the best shows in the area & I'm lucky enough to attend some productions with Southampton Bloggers. This time around it's The National Theatre's acclaimed production of *War Horse. The Production has previously been played on its first visit to Southampton back in February 2014 and has since travelled worldwide, including an record breaking 8 year round run in London.
Now it's Southampton's turn to experience Albert & Joey's story all over again.

This production is award winning and has been seen by over 7 million people world wide. Nick Stafford's adaption of Michael Morpurgo's story visiting The Mayflower Theatre is part of a major tour of War Horse, which coincides with the Centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War. This production is set in the backdrop of The First World War in Devon.

Personally I haven't watched a film or seen a production of War Horse, mainly because my Dad has always said its sad & I would cry (me crying is normally like getting blood out of a stone but mixing the emotions of the World War One & animals makes it far easier).
I've always had a good knowledge of the World Wars, it's definitely a history subject that I was taught at school (& at home) and has always stayed with me. As a family we've always been taught to show our respect, my Dad regularly has war documentaries on and I'll always sit and watch them, so having the opportunity to watch this production was something I couldn't say no to.
I didn't really know exactly what to expect when watching this but I've only ever heard rave reviews, so I went in armed with tissues & slightly high expectations.

The first word that comes to mind is Whirlwind. Honestly, one moment there's a little joke & a giggle, then terrified by surprise gunfire and then I'm trying to hold back tears.

I have completely and utterly fallen in love with the story of Albert & Joey. Thomas Dennis played Albert so well, he made the character so passionate and you can't help but fall in love with him.

The production over all was brilliantly executed with ground breaking puppetry, at first I was very very aware that there were people controlling the horses but slowly that started to not be as noticeable and you start to notice all the stubble movements, the breathing, twitching and general characteristics of a horse. It really is very clever.
As you can see in the image above, there was some material that looked like ripped paper being used to project imagery through out the production, later in the show Albert ripped a sketch of him & Joey out of a book and the paper he carried mimicked the same shape.
There were small details to be appreciated through out the play & I think a lot of us clocked them.

The cast really did a breath taking performance. It really was very poignant.
It all started with a drunken auction win which led to the remarkable relationship of Albert & Joey. It may have been a mistake but they were meant to meet & grow together.
Once it was agreed that these two could stay together, Joey, Albert's beloved steed, was sold to the Cavalry for WW1 (without his knowing).
Joey was to travel to France & face the front lines with Lt. Nicholls, who promised to take care of Albert's boy.
That was when the story began to unravel, with a sketch book arriving for Albert & a letter stating Lt. Nicholls had died in action left Albert unknowing of Joey's fate, he wasn't old enough to enrol but with the uncertainty of Joey's fate he didn't let that stop him.
From the moment Albert found himself on the front lines all the emotions came to the surface.
A lot happened, from your heart breaking being able to see what Joey was doing while Albert was risking everything to find his beloved steed, Gun fire, puppetry tanks, front line fights to meeting a German fighter who had lost himself in this long fight.

This production was everything and more than I could have ever expected. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. You're taken on a journey with the characters, each of them have their own story to be told, and the production translated that so well.

If you are near by or War Horse is coming to a theatre near you, I can honestly say you will not be let down, The National Theatre's production is both breath taking & poignant.
War Horse is currently at The Mayflower Theatre running until June 9th, you can check show availability here

Also, special little shout out to Goose (Billy Irving) for bringing all the giggles & nipping at people when they needed it.
Emily-May x

* Complementary experience in exchange for a review, please see disclaimer.

1 comment:

  1. I'd absolutely love to see this now; I'd not really been aware of the story before but now I am, I really want to go!! :) xx

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