War Horse Reviews - Gillian Lynne Theatre

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Venue Information
Gillian Lynne Theatre

Gillian Lynne Theatre
166 Drury Lane

Seating Plan


(5mins) Go right on Long Acre; turn left at Drury Lane and you’ll see the theatre 100 metres away on a corner.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 12th March 2016
Booking Until: Saturday, 12th March 2016
Running Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Age Restriction: Suitable for ages 10 and over. Parental guidance advised.
Important Info: Latecomers will not be admitted until 20 minutes into the first act.
Show Status: production_closed
Review Summary
Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars based on 70 review(s)


Latest Review: "Sooo good, you almost forget the horses aren't real. Brilliantly choreographed puppetry and well ..."

Reviews Sort by
    Sunday, 16th Oct 2011 by amanda

Absolutely brilliant! Would go see it again in a breath. Take your tissues!

    Sunday, 18th Sep 2011 by m denereaz

The most wonderful show I have ever been to.

Somehow you forget the legs underneath that are working the puppets.

    Saturday, 6th Aug 2011 by Eleanor

My sister and I sat through the show amazed and in tears seeing the horrors and the happiness. Extraordinary puppets, great cast and a clever minimal set. Wonderful evening - Thank you!

    Saturday, 6th Aug 2011 by JW

A truly outstanding production. After a while you forget that the horses aren't real. Credit to the puppetiers!

    Tuesday, 26th Jul 2011 by John Buegel

Despite the glowing reviews for this show,  Mondays cast appeared to be running on auto-pilot and and perhaps showing  some degree of fatigue from this long 4 year old production.  The horse puppets, already widely praised were memorable, but certainly  not sufficient to rescue a very lacklustre and uneven performance from a number of the human counterparts.   A confusing performance in particular from one of the main German characters.  My partner and I thought we had been watching a second understudy, who was flat, and obviously not at ease with the various accents demanded of the role.  Hopefully your experience will be more authentic and rewarding, but dont get caught up in the hooplah regarding this show..

    Friday, 8th Jul 2011 by Emily and Lisa

This was the best play we have ever seen. A standing ovation. The horses were so life like - you really feel for the horses. Unmissable.

    Monday, 20th Jun 2011 by Dee

Absolutely amazing not to be missed.

    Monday, 20th Jun 2011 by Annabel Hughes

Emotionally gripping it will stay in mind forever. The puppets so intricate its mesmorizing I would definately recommend this to a friend! :)

    Friday, 4th Mar 2011 by Boxoffice Review

Having heard every superlative possible to describe the National Theatre’s production of War Horse, I approached The New London Theatre, its new home, dreading disappointment. Sometimes you can build up something so much that it never quite lives up to expectations. Thankfully, Nick Stafford’s adaptation of the novel by Michael Morpurgo did not let me down proving to be both a moving and engaging experience.

At the outbreak of WW1 Joey, the beloved horse and friend of Albert, a farmer’s son from Devon, is sold to the army and shipped off to France to join the cavalry. Fate takes Joey on a journey as he serves both on the British and German sides before being injured and wandering aimlessly in no man’s land.  Unable to forget his friend, Albert, at the tender age of 16, embarks on a dangerous mission to bring back his beloved horse.

This is an ensemble piece with the excellent cast playing a variety of characters. Rae Smith’s minimal set consisting of sketchbook images projected onto a “torn paper” screen allows our attention to be focussed on the performances and above all the puppets. It is here where the true magic is witnessed. The life-size puppets created by Handsprung Puppet Company are miraculous. So stunningly inventive that the line between puppet and horse blurs in a haze of emotion with the horses becoming not just skeletal frameworks but living, breathing creatures, testament to the puppeteers who bring them so skilfully to life. The moment when Joey grows from unsteady foul to a fully grown galloping vision is truly breathtaking. But it’s not just the wooden framed horses that deserve mention; the puppetry in general is inventive in creating an atmospheric performance. The rolling battle tanks are astonishingly unnerving but there are also moments of light hearted, comic relief – I loved the goose.

Praise must also be given to Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris for the constantly gripping staging, Paule Constable’s creative and sensitive lighting and Adrian Sutton’s fine music.

War Horse is an emotional journey but moreover a real magical spectacle. Looking around myself the faces of The New London Theatre were filled with joy and wonder as well as smiles and tears. Audiences of all ages will truly empathise with the characters. It is overly sentimental but this is theatrical sentimentality in its best form poignantly proving that powerful relationships can exist between humans and animals. An exhilarating evening showing that even in the worst circumstances, love, friendship and compassion can overcome.

If you go to see one show in the West End then make this the one.

Bruce Gutherie

    Wednesday, 1st Dec 2010 by PM

Excellent play.  Never read the book but I can assure you I was overwhelmed.  Amazing Life like animals and their movement is amazing.  You're missing out if you don't go!

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