The play takes a relatively simple children's story about a young man and his beloved horse, searching for each other against a World War I backdrop, and turns it into what critics describe as a deeply moving theatrical experience.
The remarkable full-size horse puppets were created by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa. The puppets are made of canes and silk, and, with the help of a mix of gears and levers, fully duplicate the appearance of horses down to their emotions.
The show uses 35 actors and moves from the green fields of Southwest England to the war in Northern France with a visual sweep that is nearly movie-like.
A sweet 16-year-old named Albert becomes acquainted with a horse named Joey after his drunken, angry father gets caught up in a bet and forces the boy to train the horse to plow a Devon field.
After the same father sells Joey to the military, Albert enlists and treks through France in search of his soul mate.
Act 2 centers on a German horse-lover whose love of horses mirrors his hatred of war. And, in one of the key scenes, it is a concern for Joey's fate that makes several German and British soldiers see that all might have been different, if men had just decided to talk.
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