We went along to Bord Gais Energy Theatre to meet the star of upcoming show, War Horse, Joey. Opening on 10th of April.
At the outbreak of World War II, Joey, young Albert’s horse is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France to aid in the war efforts, where fate takes Joey on an extraordinary journey. Albert who can’t forget his friendship with Joey, sets out on a treacherous mission to find him.
War Horse was originally a concept by Tom Morris, who upon seeing a production by the Handspring Puppet Company decided he wanted to put on a show using their puppets. It was only when his mother suggested using the book War Horse as source material was the show brought to fruition. The huge challenge of this show is using a puppet who doesn’t speak, sing or dance as the principal character, but the National Theatre have managed to create a spectacular show doing just that. A huge amount of work goes into this show, with puppeteers not only to look after Joey, but also for the 23 other puppets that appear on stage throughout the show, including horses, swallows, crows and even a disgruntled goose.
Joey is a product of The Handspring puppet Company, a South African company, who have been making truly amazing puppets since 1981. Joey is a fully life size puppet, with all the movements and reactions as a real horse, so much so, it is easy to forget that it takes three people to pull off this spectacular feat of puppetry.
It takes a huge amount of skill and training to bring Joey to life. The three puppeteers, the head, the heart and the hind, train for weeks. Learning every movement of a real-life horse and using that knowledge to make Joey so realistic. At no point do these skilled puppeteers take a break, even when he’s just at a standstill you will be able to see Joey’s lungs expanding and contracting, his ears reacting to the world around him and a swish of his tail will swat away unsuspecting flies.
War Horse is a show not to be missed. Opening at Bord Gais Energy Theatre on 10 April. Get your tickets here.
Check out Joey in action!