Saturday 28th July 2018, back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, for the last two performances of ‘War Horse’ before it moves to another venue. Having the opportunity to watch this superb show eight times has been just phenomenal. So many different emotions come to light throughout, and even though I’ve watched many times, I still get that buzz every show.
Today I want to talk about the magnificent puppets used by this production. The use of puppet birds are the first we see as the opening sequence begins, followed by young Joey. The attention to detail on the horses are amazing, with great precision by the puppeteers to make everything realistic in the way the horses move. Young Joey sets the scene with some funny moments before the entry of the older Joey, a huge puppet horse, so realistic you forget that there are three actors operating it. Watching the Horse you realise very quickly the range of movement the main characters have been given, with the puppeteers able to move almost every part of the body when required. The choreography between puppet and other actors is just incredible to watch, interacting so perfectly from scene to scene.
The puppetry in act two becomes more incredible as the two horses appear even more lifelike when they set about staying alive during a ghastly war. The pulling of the field gun scenes are worthy of watching alone, just to visualise the sheer effort put into making this staging appear as realistic as possible. We even see a bond between the two horses form as the war goes on, adding yet another impressive realistic part to the show. I must mention the animal noises made by the puppeteers as they go through the show, again so realistic and helping the illusion of how real the horses actually look.
A final mention to the Goose, whose role is perfect to the comic relief in the first act, as we see Joey growing up with Alberts help. It really does make a huge difference to the way the show builds. An absolute epic production, brilliantly made and produced for the stage. Can’t wait for next tour.