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Bettie's Box Office: War Horse On Stage Review

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014, 10:32 PM CDT

War Horse is a Tony Award winning play that follows the story of a beloved colt named Joey and a farm boy’s journey to find him in the chaos of the First World War. It’s running through Sunday, May 11 at the Texas Performing Arts Center on the University of Texas campus.

The real stars of War Horse are the puppeteers from South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company who bring the horses, birds and farm animals to life. With every twitch of the ears, heave of the chest and paw of the ground, you quickly see beyond the mechanics and start to think of the puppets as live characters. You connect emotionally with them as much – if not more – than with the human actors. 

I got to see the Joey horse puppet up-close and the mechanics and attention to detail are mind-blowing. Joey stretches 8 feet tall, 10 feet long, has 20 major joints and weighs 120 pounds. The frame is mostly cane that's been soaked, bent and stained. It takes three very fit puppeteers to control the life-sized horse and he's sturdy enough to be ridden by the actors. Joey is so lifelike I found myself reacting to him exactly as I would a real horse.   

Where Warhorse struggles is in its attempt to bring the carnage and horror of the war to the stage. After all, you can only do so much with a traveling tour and scaled-down staging. 

If you’ve read the novel, War Horse, or seen Steven Spielberg’s movie version prepare to suspend disbelief and be engaged and charmed in a unique way by these master puppeteers. 

For tickets to War Horse click here.

By: Bettie Cross


Bettie's Box Office: War Horse On Stage Review

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