Olympic and Paralympic medal-winning British riders were among the celebrities out in force to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the play War Horse last night (Thursday 25 October).
Charlotte Dujardin, Tina Cook, Nicola Wilson, Natasha Baker, Deb Criddle, Sophie Christiansen and Sophie Wells all took to the red carpet for the special performance of the show at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Deb told H&H. “I took lots of tissues, and didn’t need as many as expected but it really brought home the story of horses and how terrible the war was. Seeing it on stage was really moving.
“Being a horse person it’s obviously upsetting — but it’s so well done. You quickly forget there are people operating the puppets, the horses are so expressive — their ears moving and their mannerisms.
“I was chatting to [author] Michael Morpurgo before the show and he was very interesting. And listening to him explain on stage at the end the reasons behind writing the book — hearing how he met a veteran whose best friend was a horse — was just so touching.”
Tina Cook, who was also watching the play for the first time, added: “It was totally magical. I really enjoyed it, the skills of the actors in the horses were fantastic. They really brought the puppets to life.”
War Horse, based on the children’s book by Michael Morpurgo, opened at the National Theatre in October 2007.
More than 1.6 million people have seen the show in London with more than 2.4 million people seeing the production worldwide.
And next year War Horse is going on tour. The tour will begin in the autumn and travel tonine venues across the UK and Ireland — Plymouth, Birmingham, Salford, Edinburgh, Southampton, Sunderland, Bradford, Cardiff and Dublin.
War Horse is also currently running in New York, Toronto and on a North American tour, with future productions planned for Australia and Berlin.
“From a Devon meadow a hundred and more years ago, to the battlefields of the First WorldWar, to London, to New York, and soon to Australia and Berlin, our Joey keeps on running,” said author Michael Morpurgo.
“It’s five years since the National Theatre took this little known story, and transformed it, told it their way, wonderfully. Since that night in the Olivier when Joey first trotted out into the spotlight, millions of grown-up children and children around the world have come to know and love Joey’s story, through play, film, concert and book. So thank you National Theatre, thank you Joey, and thank you especially to those actors and puppeteers who go on every night and make War Horse the unique theatrical event it has become.”
For more information visit: www.warhorselondon.com or www.nationaltheatre.org.uk