While War Horse continues to wow audiences as the best performing non-musical over here on Broadway, it also remains a favorite back in its homeland. War Horse tickets to the New London Theatre have been extended until February 2013. This follows the welcoming of its millionth audience member and continuously breaking West End attendance records.
This is an incredible accomplishment for the unlikeliest of stage adaptation. Nick Stafford’s script is based on the 1982 Michael Morpurgo children’s novel. The novel tells of the suffering of the first great war of the 20th century through the eyes of a horse. The challenge came not in casting the human roles or adapting a stage play, but in creating the horse.
Somehow the Handspring Puppet Company designed life-size horse puppets that could be operated by two people. These puppets capture the grittiness of the adaptation, so these are no brightly adorned Julie Taymor-designed puppets for the Lion King. These puppets unique design is part of what makes this play such a spellbinding production.
They are not meant to true to life reconstructions. Instead they are almost horses in deconstruction. Seemingly built out of scrap wood, rope and tralucent paper, they are handled by the actors on the exterior and bring the set and story truly to life.