On 4 October, the Drama department took a group of GCSE and A level drama students on an exciting trip to Milton Keynes theatre to see a stunning production of War Horse. After a noisy coach journey and a hurried dinner, Habs Girls flooded the theatre with our eagerness and high expectations. Filled with anticipation, we patiently took our seats and waited for the show to begin, and we were not disappointed! The production was full of heart-wrenching and jaw-dropping scenes intertwined with moments of utter silence as the sound of gunshots ricocheted around the theatre. The actors depicted Michael Morpurgo’s age-old story of a young foal named Joey who is first sold to a working class family at an auction. The young boy Albert pours his heart and soul into rearing Joey, breaking through the foal’s reluctant and tentative barrier.

The play takes a drastic turn as Albert’s father sells Joey to the Army Infantry. Albert then makes it his mission to locate Joey and reunite them once more.  As we follow Joey and Albert into war, the reality of war and suffering is communicated through the contrasting effects of sound and lighting. One of the most inspiring aspects of the production was the exceptional ensemble work and puppeteering. The puppeteers utilised their whole bodies to effectively portray a realistic semblance of horses. Hidden underneath large frames of the puppets were the incredible puppeteers controlling every carefully choreographed movement. Using various devices and physical theatre techniques, they recreated the tauntingly lifelike movements of the animals and successfully expressed the disturbance of war on Joey. This was used to convey the recurring themes of conflict between family and nations alike.

One of the most effective scenes in the play was the scene which involved a skeletal tank moving towards the horses, displaying their imminent danger. This was reinforced by the flickering lighting and booming sound making the scene intense and frightening. Overall the evocative combination of set, lighting and entrancing puppet work left the audience in awe of the extraordinary production. We all stumbled out of the theatre inspired and teary eyed, and it was truly an unforgettable show.