Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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REVIEW | War Horse, UK Tour

War Horse
Curve Theatre, Leicester 

It’s not often that I see a production for the second time and it leaves me with the strength of emotions all over again. National Theatre's much-loved play, War Horse does exactly that. A remarkable journey for a boy and his horse is undoubtedly heartbreaking, but it's also uplifting too. They encounter a shift in trust, a glimpse of hope in the times of fear and show a friendship that goes against all odds. One day in 1912 completely transforms their lives forever..

The production has had 8 record-breaking years in London’s West End and has played in 11 countries around the world to over 7 million people. An incredible amount of people have bare witness to a story that has reminds us of the sacrifice made by horses during WW1, eight million, in fact, sacrificed their lives on the front line. Although it also portrays the experience by a young soldier and how the war affected the local communities, it's definitely more about Joey's story.

The story is set at the outbreak of World War One, Joey, the beloved horse of Albert, is sold by the greed of his father to the Cavalry and shipped to France to help in the British war effort. Joey is soon caught up in the frightful experience of enemy fire, and fate takes him on a journey like no other. He serves on both sides of the battle, British and German before finding himself stranded and alone in no man’s land. We're left wondering whether this is the end for him..

Back at home in the countryside, Albert is left frustrated and lost by Joey's departure. He's not old enough to enlist for war so he has remained on his parent's farm in Devon, unaware what has happened to his beloved horse and has the sheer determination that they will one meet again. It’s not long before he goes against the rules and enlists (even though he is not old enough, this was known to have happened in the war) and he himself embarks on a mission to find Joey and bring him back home.

Based on the iconic novel by Michael Morpurgo, this play is a carefully crafted drama that is both highly emotive and imaginative beyond belief. It really brings those iconic words from the pages of Morpoguo's 1982 novel to life right before your eyes. It’s filled with powerful, thunderous music and beautiful songs. At the heart of the play is the astonishing life-sized horses created by Handspring Puppet Company from South Africa. With their skills, they create athletic breathing, galloping, charging horses to life on stage. Their articulation in the very bare bones of characteristics and movements of a horse is really phenomenal, so much so you definitely believe these horses are real-life. The attention to detail with the actor's work is admirable.

Behind the spectacular storytelling from the actors is Rae Smith's set design, a beautifully drawn canvas of illustrations that help us move through the various different days and months of this unforgettable journey. There is a 25-metre wide projection screen that transforms into whatever it needs to become in order for War Horse to flow fluidly; a landscape, snow and even the horrors of a battlefield. It really helps to bring the story to life without clogging up the stage with so much scenery and props. The emphasis of storytelling in this National Theatre production is really spot on.

Of course with a drama that is so highly emotive, it can be difficult to inject some light-hearted humour. War Horse has presented it in the most unlikely of sources, The Goose. Jonathan Cobb really knows how to present the characteristics of a goose without distracting it from the story.

Scott Miller takes on a fantastic job as Albert Narracott and his performance is breathtaking from start to finish. Watching his relationship with Joey grow from a seed to this endearing bond that pulls on the heartstrings, is heartwarming for all of the right reasons. Their relationship is the perfect centrefold of the play and it's captured so perfectly by Miller and the team behind Joey.

War Horse is most definitely a production that needs to be on your bucket list.

You can also find out if War Horse is heading to a theatre near you during it’s UK Tour by visiting their War Horse on Stage website.


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