|Photo credit: Paul Kolnik|
War Horse is based on a children's book by Michael Morpurgo. Albert (Andrew Durand) lives on his family's farm in Devon, England. At the start of World War I, his father Ted (Andy Murray) sells his beloved horse Joey to the cavalry and Albert runs away to France to find him.
The play, adapted by Nick Stafford, is at times slow and the characters are not very fully drawn out. But the stagecraft makes up for it. Directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris have made each scene a work of absolute beauty. And those puppets (created by Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones for Handspring Puppet Company). The horses are every bit as majestic and lifelike as real horses, even though the puppeteers are visible. Every puppeteer deserves mentioning for conveying so much emotion through the horses, sometimes more than even the human actors. At the performance I attended, they were: Hunter Canning, David Pegram, and Hannah Sloat (Joey as a foal); Alex Hoeffler, Jeslyn Kelly, and Enrico D. Wey (adult Joey); Leah Hofmann, Tom Lee (also stealing the show as the goose, the comic relief), and Isaac Woofter (Topthorn, the other main horse); and Toby Billowitz, Joel Reuben Ganz, Nat McIntyre, and Tommy Schrider (other horses).