War Horse, playing at the Spokane INB Performing Arts Center March 5 – March 9, caught me by surprise. I have never been to a Broadway show before but I decided, as a recently married man, to take my wife to opening night. It's always wise to bank some good husband points, because you never know when you will need them. She was happy.
I must have had some pre-conceived notions of what to expect because my demeanor was neutral. I did not expect to be sitting on the edge of my seat. I knew there would be singing and dancing and a story, but I didn't think I'd find myself talking about the show for the next week. Then the show started.
Set at the beginning of World War I, a teenager named Albert takes on a young horse. He names him Joey, works him daily and soon develops a deep love for the horse. When Joey is sold to the army by Albert's father, he is distraught and decides to embark on a dangerous adventure to bring him home.
The storytelling and acting were great, as would be expected of an award-winning Broadway show. Beautiful scenes were projected above the stage, successfully transporting the viewer into the turn-of-the-century timeframe. Still, from a man's perspective, I was not sitting on the edge of my seat just from the storytelling. What really enticed me was the amazing puppetry and engineering behind the horses. Each horse takes three puppeteers to operate, one operating the rear legs, one for the front and another for the head, neck and ears. Every detail was thought out and choreographed meticulously making the movements incredibly realistic. The horses would move rhythmically as they took breaths of air, stood on their hind legs and grazed in the field. The most impressive thing for me was seeing the actors jump up and ride on the horses. They would gallop and move so realistically that they seemingly came to life right on the stage.
War Horse changed my perspective about Broadway shows. I left with a smile and have been talking about the show since Tuesday night. I promise, if you are a Broadway resistant male and you need to score some points with your girl, you will thoroughly enjoy War Horse. You may even end up a convert like me.