Review: War Horse at the Mayflower, Southampton

War Horse's astounding puppetry creates life-like horses on stage.
War Horse's astounding puppetry creates life-like horses on stage.
Kevin R McNally as Lear
 in the Globe production     Picture: Marc Brenner

Shakespeare’s famed tragedy will be broadcast live in Portsmouth

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Emotional, captivating and beautiful.

They are just three of the many adjectives I would use to describe The National Theatre’s production of War Horse at the Mayflower in Southampton.

I was wondering how it would be possible to bring a horse to life in a theatre.

Yet within minutes I found myself believing that this was a true animal on stage.

Each of the horses are played by three actors who control its movements and facial expressions and it is amazing how true to life it feels watching them.

The plot focuses on teenager Albert’s love of his horse Joey and how they are torn apart by the First World War.

It is a painful reminder of the sacrifices that were made for our country and the horrors of war are played out alongside the emotional trauma and close friendship of one man and his horse.

The whole production from the incredible acting to the beautiful singing to the lighting made it a spine tingling joy to watch.

And I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears at the end of a dramatic and mesmerising performance.

War Horse is one of the best stage shows I’ve seen and it is not to be missed.

Until March 15.