Tuesday I had the privilege of attending West Coast Entertainment Best of Broadway’s War Horse play at the INB Center in Spokane. While I realize this is a wine blog and there was no wine involved in the play, however I did enjoy a glass of wine prior to the play, I was so impressed with the performance I just had to share.
You may be familiar with War Horse the movie, but War Horse the play came first. The story, set in the first World War on the hillsides of England and France is a tradition read for European children. The original production of War Horse is from England. Steven Spielberg was so mesmerized by the play that he produced the award winning movie.
War Horse is the story of a boy’s love of his horse, Joey. Young Albert runs away and into battle in search of his beloved friend after his father sold the horse to the military. After years of service and many close calls the two are reunited in a very touching and dramatic scene. Now I realize my synopsis does not do the storyline justice, however, please trust me when I say this is an amazing story. The moistened tissues across the theater are proof of the touching adaptation.
Many theater goers will be surprised at the lack of large sets. In fact, War Horse, really has no set at all, save a large white sash that spans the stage above the actors to set the scene and enhance the moment. The star of this play is not the set, rather it is the story, the actors and the horses. The lead character, the horse Joey, steals the show.
With three puppeteers, two for the body and one for the head, you quickly forget that these life-size frames are puppets. Within moments of being introduced to the young foal, your heart is transported into the story. My girlfriend’s daughter (11 years old), Berkley is an avid horse rider. “It was so amazing, I can’t believe they could actually ride the horses. I saw the movie and this was so much better.” I peeked over at Berkley a few times and could see the joy on her face as she related to the love that Albert had for Joey.
The play is done in a very traditional theater style. From what I could tell none of the actors wore microphones. With only stage mics and the heavy accents portrayed by the actors, some of the dialogue was a bit difficult to understand. At times I felt like I was at an opera and was only able to follow the scene by the actors facial expressions and body language. This is only a small point and really didn’t distract from the overall amazing experience of War Horse.
War Horse plays in Spokane through Saturday, March 9. Get your tickets here.