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War Horse: Why it’s one of the Queen’s favorite plays

It’s one of the Queen’s favorites, so much so, that it was performed as part of her Jubilee celebrations. Spotted at the opening gala of War Horse – Lisa Wilkinson, Alex Rathegeber, Steve Pennells, Darren McMullen and more!

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In WWI, horses attracted a high premium and after Albert’s father sells his, he enlists to go in search of his beloved steed:  Brinkhoff Mögenburg / National Theatre

It’s classic theatrical technicality at its finest with an immersion of the senses through scents, sounds and digital projections.

The 100 minute (including intermission) drama tells the story of a boy and his horse who are separated during the course of World War One.

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A torn piece of paper hangs over the stage – the striking impact and success of a minimalist set design: Brinkhoff Mögenburg / National Theatre

A projector screen spanning the width of the proscenium in the shape of torn parchment uses video drawings, sketched scenery and text documenting the events and chronology as the war progresses.

The lighting and sound design powerfully used to transport the audience onto the battlefield and heighten the emotional charged content of the script.  The use of strobes, backlighting, haze shifted the eyeline enabling smooth scene changes as the story took us from Great Britain, to Belgium, Germany and France.

Scents of gun powder / explosives wafted through to the audience adding a sense of authenticity to the battles taking place around them and consistently met with jolts from the audience through its high powered sound design.  The horse sounds and accordion playing performed by the actors themselves!

War Horse Press Call
Scott Miller as Albert: Andrew Tauber / Regent Theatre

Scott Miller plays the gentleness and innocence of lead character, Albert who develops a close affinity with his horse.  Hailing from a small township, a touching closeness is developed between Albert and shoal, Joey.

The connection that is created with unassuming animal sounds and puppetry movements are so commanding as it climaxes to one of the most touching moments in theatre experienced in a long time.  The sound of sniffles and tears were not uncommon as the entire auditorium was swayed to silence in that moment.

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Joey is a cane structured puppet which took up to three operators to maneouvre through the stage of farm ploughing, war and injury: Brinkhoff Mögenburg / National Theatre

A powerful story of courage, loyalty and determination.

 

WHERE & WHEN:
Sydney Lyric Theatre – now showing until 15 March 2020.
Crown Theatre, Perth –  24 March to 24 April 2020.

 

 


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As the Brisbane season of Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS comes to a close, tomorrow’s matinee will see proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross Disaster and Recovery fund in a special benefit performance at 4pm.

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