War Horse is playing in London and is such a hit it is selling tickets through 2012. I begins previews at Lincoln Center in NYC for an April 14 opening. If you love theater buy tickets now. It will be equally popular in the US.
I saw the show while here and it is one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had. It's a magical show that is visually splendid and emotionally powerful. Best of all it trusts the audience's intelligence and imagination as it tells a powerful story in the most simple terms.
War Horse is about a boy's love for his horse. The first act shows the bond that builds between the two and how after the horse is bought by the army to help win World War II the boy enlists to protect his horse.
Of course it is not that simple. The horse is claimed in battle by the Germans and so begins a journey that shows the capacity for goodness, evil and stupidity that existed on both sides of the battle lines. It is caring for this courageous animal that brings out the best in everyone.
The horse is a wonderful creation as two men clearly operate the shell of the animal from beneath and another person operates the head on the outside. You see the operators but they soon become invisible as you connect emotionally with all the animals on stage. As I said, it's theater magic.
There is a lot of death as the play does not shirk from the horrors of a cruel war. However, it is emotionally honest and always touching and never gratuitous. Sad yes, but never eye-averting.
War Horse is not only the best theatrical experiences I've had in London. It's one of the most satisfying and powerful experiences I've ever had in the theater. It is that good.
Buy your tickets early. This will be the sensation of 2011.