A couple of weeks ago, we went with friends to see the special school’s viewing of National Theatre Live’s War Horse screened at WsM Odeon. There were no schools there (there never are), just us bunch of 20 something home educators. We fell in love with Joey the (puppet of wood) Horse and Morpurgo’s story, adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford. What a play and what amazing artwork by Handspring Puppet Company and the actors who control every move, breath and sound.
So imagine how excited we were to hear that War Horse is coming to the Bristol Hippodrome next January.
Today, we passed by the Hippodrome and saw the queue at the Box Office on this, the first day of ticket sales to the general public. We also saw the TV cameras and we stopped to have a chat, find out what else the press knew (we were already going to see the special launch at Bristol Old Vic a little later, so we sensed that something might be afoot).
“Stay here,” we were told. “Joey the Horse is on his way.” We obeyed. Ten minutes later, he trotted around the corner, driven by his three actor-puppeteers. We got to stroke Joey on the nose, actually touch him (!!) and he took 7 year-old TCO’s aptly worn donkey hat off her head! How blimin’ exciting! He stayed around for a bit, did a few horsey things, showed off his skill and beauty and played up to the cameras.
We headed to the Old Vic.
In the auditorium, the Manager of the Hippodrome introduced Tom Morris, Co-director and Producer of War Horse, whose passion and wit must’ve given everyone a warm glow. He spoke about the show and the tour and then the star of the piece, Joey the Horse, entered stage, up to his tricks with grace. The audience was then given the chance to ask questions of those three actors who manoeuvre Joey in his entirety. “Do you need a degree to do this sort of thing?” “How did you feel when you first performed War Horse?” “How do you make those horsey noises?” “How does Joey’s tail work?”
War Horse is special. And it’s coming to Bristol!
Have a look at the Ted Talk with the Handspring Puppet Company here
Book tickets to see War Horse at the Hippodrome here