War Horse Gallops To The Sunderland Empire

War Horse returns to the Sunderland Empire for a limited 3-week engagement from 6 – 23 February 2019 as part of its 10th Anniversary UK Tour after a phenomenal run back 2014. I was fortunate enough to be invited to preview the performance this week and thought I’d put together a review of my thoughts!

I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve not seen the film before but I had heard fantastic reviews of the film and the performance on stage. I was warned to bring tissues as it definitely pulls on those heartstrings and I’m glad I did as it turned out to much such an emotional story!

Based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, this moving and imaginative drama, filled with fitting music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness. At its heart are astonishing life-sized horses by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage. I honestly could not believe my eyes at the horses, they were so lifelike, 3D even, I’d totally forgot they weren’t real by the second half of the show!

The harrowing story is based on the events of the outbreak of World War One. Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. Albert, who remained on his parents’ Devon farm, cannot forget Joey. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

War Horse, which has been seen by nearly eight million people worldwide, finished its record-breaking eight-year London run at the New London Theatre in March 2016 and completed its 10th Anniversary UK tour at the National Theatre in January 2019. It has won 25 awards including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway.

War Horse is an unforgettable theatrical event which takes audiences on an extraordinary journey from the fields of rural Devon to the trenches of First World War France. The set and props were incredible, the raw, nitty-gritty of the era is presented perfectly. The cast was so talented nad professional. I was really touched by the performance and urge everyone to go and see it.

*I was invited to the preview complimentary but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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