This is the crazy yet genius combination of theatre in the cinema. It’s been all the rage for a while now and I finally got my first taste of it, and with an award winning production like War Horse, I was pretty excited.
Luckily I was in Pictureville Cinema at The National Media Museum. A beautifully traditional space where you are tastefully transported back to the era of jazz hands and vaudeville! It didn’t feel a far cry away from an actual theatre – so a comforting starting point.
I believe War Horse is a story of love, that of one between pet and owner, set amongst the tragic backdrop of war.
…Other people may say it is about the pain and heartache of World War One, from the needs of everyday man to the essential role of horses in the war effort. I don’t disagree. At all. It’s historical, I get it. But the strong relationship between human and animal was undeniable.
You follow the horse’s (Joeys) point of view and endure his journey from a farm horse to battle stallion. And as I’m sure you’re all aware, he is a puppet.
But can you really feel emotion from a puppet? Yes. Unbelievably. Yes. It’s a breathing and unpredictable life. I often forgot Joey was just wood operated by people – months of training well spent.
Intense lighting, live folk music and the minimal set created the most loving, intense and at times terrifyingly dramatic scenes.
One thing that was odd about the whole theatre slash cinema experience was that I didn’t get to choose where to look. The editors camera cuts made that choice for me. Sounds odd I know, but you don’t realise you do it until it’s taken away from you!
So, did I cry? Yes. Especially near the end.
Is there anything to keep an eye out for? Yes. The goose.
Is it better than live theatre? Maybe not, but close second!
Did I still get interval ice cream? Is that even a question, duh!
Try National Theatre Live. It’s the best seats in the house for a fraction of the price. The museum shows loads (I’m seeing Monty Python in July!), plus it has a lovely cafe to make a proper evening of it!
War Horse is also on at the Bradford Alhambra from 26th May – 14th June.