Tony Award-Winning Play 'War Horse' Is Returning to Australia in 2020
A boy, a horse and the Great War charge into Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
With its fantastic puppetry, tight choreography and more than a few damp-eye moments, the National Theatre of Great Britain's production of War Horse is taking another canter across Australia's stages. After first touring Down Under in 2012–13, the Tony Award-winning play will return in 2020, with seasons currently planned for Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
Based on Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel of the same name, the boy-meets-horse tale was originally adapted for the stage by British playwright Nick Stafford, and directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, way back in 2007.
Opening shortly before the start of the First World War, War Horse is the love story of a Devonshire lad, Albert, and a young foal, Joey — who, once it has come of age, is sold into service for the British Army. Seeing the injustice in this, the play's boy hero fights against age restrictions and cartwheels to Calais to save Joey, at which point his youthful bravado is tear-gassed into the harsh reality of early modern warfare.
After its first NT run, the play proved to be such a tremendous success that it relocated to the West End and Broadway, and has galloped across everywhere from Canada, Germany and the Netherlands to South Africa and China. Along the way, it has picked up two Olivier Awards and five Tonys, including for Best Play — and been seen by thousands of audiences.
You might also remember the 2011 film adaptation of Morpurgo's novel, which was directed by Steven Spielberg, starred a long list of British talent including Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch, and was nominated for six Oscars.
On the stage, War Horse owes its longevity to South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, which has created a stable of horses, some soon-to-die cavalry, crows, swallows and a very animated goose. Though surrounded by puppeteers and, in parts, constructed out of obviously mechanical pieces, these puppets realistically breathe and quickly pop out as the most genuine players in the show.
War Horse plays Melbourne's Regent Theatre from January 10, 2020, then heads to the Sydney Lyric from February 15, before moving to Perth's Crown Theatre from March 24. For further details, and to join the ticket waitlist, head to warhorseonstage.com.au.
Published on June 23, 2019 by Jimmy Dalton