West End Theatre On A Budget: War Horse Q&A

During May we challenged our Spontaneity Champion, Jamie, to be spontaneous on a budget. This time, he had to test his bargain hunting skills on a night out at a top West End theatre production.  So which show did he go for? Read on to find out.

What did you go and see and why?

This month I was lucky enough to go and see the critically acclaimed War Horse. I've wanted to see it more than any other, and had actually booked War Horse tickets twice previously over the past three years but never managed to actually go because of work. So it was very much at the top of my 'cultural to-do-list'. My mates also raved about how good it was for ages.

The show in three words

Hard-hitting puppetry
war horse
war horse

Where was it on?

It's currently on at the New London Theatre in the West End, where it's been since 2009 (although it started life at the Olivier Theatre in 2007).

How much did the night cost?

Amazingly, despite being one of the West End’s biggest hits, the tickets were only £15 each as they were part of the lastminute.com May Fever deal. We grabbed a quick bite on-the-go beforehand and a drink each in the interval, so the total night came to about £30 each. Not bad!


What's it about?

Unmissable WW1 drama which redefines our understanding of war, drama and puppetry. You won’t appreciate it until you’ve seen the show yourself.

Tell us a brief plot synopsis

The story follows Albert Narracott, a Devon-born teen, on his journey from the idyllic English countryside to the horrors of the WW1 front-line, all in search of his horse, Joey, who had been taken from him in the name of the war effort. Having been separated, the action swaps between the two of them, and their desperate attempts to stay alive on the front lines in France during one of the most horrific times in modern history.

What were the highlights?

The scene in which the helpless horses and their officers charge into battle and are cut down by machine gun fire was hugely tragic and moving. Similarly, later on, there is an amazing piece of stagecraft in which an Allied tank rolls onto stage amongst the debris of war. Despite being only the ‘frame’ of a tank, it is the perfect of example of how the Handspring Puppet Company can create an illusion which is worth ten times the sum of its parts.


Were there any lowlights?

Honestly, very few. It was perhaps a little sentimental in parts, but nowhere near as bad as Spielberg’s adaptation of the same novel. The plot is a relatively simple one, but this is only a minor point.

Who would you recommend it to and why?

There are very few people, of all ages, who would not appreciate War Horse. It is both moving and spectacular. It's more visceral than academic so doesn’t need a huge amount effort to remain interested. Check out the latest West End Show deals.