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  • Joey is star of National Theatre production

    Henry James

    JOEY is definitely the star of the National Theatre tour of War Horse which is on at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday, December 2.

    It takes three men to manoeuvre the life-size War Horse puppet, one for the back legs, one for the front legs and another to guide the character.

    Watching the show you forget that it is a puppet and it looks life-like. The actors even make realistic horse noises.

    The National Theatre adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book premiered in London in 2007 and has since been seen on Broadway and across the world. It has also been made into a successful Hollywood film, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

    Jasper Cartwright plays Billy Naracott and is able to show the love he feels for Joey. He also takes the part of Unteroffizer Klebb.

    Thomas Dennis is Billy’s dad, Albert Naracott, who tries to do the best for his son, but he is flawed. While his mum Rose (Jo Castletown) stands by her husband despite his heavy drinking and gambling.

    The sets for the show are minimalistic, however the director has made good use of the vast Empire stage. A back-projected screen provides details of when the action is taking place. It is also used to set the scene and shows the trenches.

    Folk music is also a big part of the show the story is told through song. Bob Fox does a good job here as Song Man.

    Humour is used well and it provides light relief to the horrors of trench warfare.

    This is a show for young and old and is good at highlighting the futility of war, while also showing the important role horses played in World War One. 9/10


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