ANDREW VEENSTRA (kneeling) is ALBERT in WAR HORSE
To ride a horse is to ride the sky. ~Author Unknown
The Tony® Award-winning Best Play, “War Horse,” is visually stunning. The story is emotional, compelling and stable (pun intended).
The play, currently enjoying its West Coast premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre through July 29, is spectacular!
The National Theatre’s epic production, which won five 2011 Tony® Awards, is also the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s feature film of the same name.
BATTLE SCENE in WAR HORSE
It’s a simple story that delivers a wallop. Boy loves horse. Boy loses horse. Boy finds horse. But what goes on between all that is spine-tingling drama with a bit of comedy.
The main character in the show is Joey, who is brought to life as a Thoroughbred by fabulous puppeteers. They make him gallop, prance, eat and move like a real horse. It’s amazing to watch the life-size puppets. It’s so amazing that at times you forget Joey is a puppet who only comes to life with the help of three amazing handlers. He literally comes to life before your eyes.
Not only is Joey brought to life, but so are other horses, geese, birds and such. It really is quite an accomplishment.
Albert loves his horse. However, when Albert’s father sells the horse, the story takes an emotional dramatic turn. Albert promises his horse that they will be together again in the future.
Joey is enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. He gets caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Determined to find his horse. Albert, who is only 16, enlists hoping to somehow be reunited with Joey and bring him home. Albert finds himself on the frontlines where he displays incredible courage, loyalty and friendship.
The stagecraft in this show is eye-opening. There are several moments in the show when it’s easy to forget you’re watching puppets. One could swear there are horses on stage.
The company, comprised of more than 30 performers, includes Andrew Veenstra as Albert Narracott, Brian Keane as Arthur Narracott, Michael Wyatt Cox as Billy Narracott, Todd Cerveris as Ted Narracott, Angela Reed as Rose Narracott, Jason Loughlin as Lieutenant James Nicholls, and Jason Alan Carvell as Private Schnabel.
In addition to Best Play, “War Horse” received Tony® Awards for Best Direction of a Play (Elliott and Morris), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Christopher Shutt). A Special Tony Award was given to Handspring Puppet Company for their integral work on the production.
The lead producers of the National Tour of “War Horse” are Bob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain.
Gallop, don’t walk, to see “War Horse”.
On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (OK) and E (excellent), “War Horse” gets an E (Excellent).
“War Horse,” Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, Tues.-Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; no performances Mondays; no 8 p.m. performance Wed., July 4; added 2 p.m. performances on Thur., July 5, 19 and 26; no 6:30 p.m. performances on Sun., July 22 and 29; $20-$150; www.CenterTheatreGroup.org or 213 628 2772.