War horse

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I don’t have any photos but I did a quick sketch from my memory of the horse in Warhorse that I went to see tonight.

The play starts with a puppet foal which is quite small. The story shows him being bought and then brought up on a farm in England in 1914. Suddenly the foal becomes a fully grown horse. He is sent along with thousands or possibly millions of horses across to be part of the cavalry in the First World War.

The story charts what happened to him and also his owner who enlists so he can find him.

The horses in the play are depicted by puppets which contain two puppeteers inside them and one moving the head and neck. In scenes where he is galloping extra puppeteers move the four feet. The horses move in realistic ways, flicking it’s ears, moving it’s tail. Rearing and bucking.

There are sections of horrific violence but through it all there is a strong streak of humanity. There are good and bad on both sides. I found myself enthralled  The play seemed to fly by.

I need to mention the other puppets, the goose, swallows flying on the wing, and a first World War tank that were  so well used to depict reality. You forgot there were puppeteers, you just saw the things they were meant to represent. If you get a chance to see it, its worth it.

Lest we forget

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Today is the 100th anniversary of the end of the 1st World War, on 11 November 1918 at 11am the guns fell silent and war ceased. The war had spread not just across Europe but parts of the Middle East and Asia too.

So much has been written and broadcast about it that makes me realise how little I know about what happened. All I can say is that I will be wearing this poppy in support of the many people, soldiers and civilians who died in that and following wars. I hope we never step over the precipice into another world war. The thought is devastating.