WAR HORSE Gallops Into Hong Kong--The Only Asian Stop in Its First International Tour
"War Horse" TVC
Hong Kong--The National Theatre of Great Britain's critically-acclaimed 2007 stage production of "War Horse," which inspired Steven Spielberg's 2011 war drama film of the same name, extends its limited engagement at the Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai). Tickets to the performances from May 10 to June 2, 2019, are now on sale at HKTicketing.com.
Still going strong in its 12th year, this "heart-tugging, visually inventive spectacle" (Evening Standard), which is best known for its beloved hero: Joey, a life-sized horse puppet made of wire, wood, and mesh, plays in Hong Kong for the first time. Hong Kong is the only Asian stop in the show's first international tour, which has been augmented to its second UK National Tour (2017-2019).
After Hong Kong, "War Horse" will race across The Civic Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand (June 21 to July 7), Liverpool Empire Theatre in Liverpool, England (July 31 to August 17), New Theatre Oxford in Oxford, England (August 22 to September 7), Curve Theatre in Leicester, England, and Le Seine Musicale in Paris, France (November 29 to December 29).
To date, besides the UK, "War Horse" has also visited more than 90 cities in at least 11 countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and China, where its text was translated into Mandarin and toured Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Heilongjiang, and Tianjin.
Five Tonys, Two Oliviers
Adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, "War Horse," whose story was based on Michael Morpurgo's 1982 children's novel of the same name, won two 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards, which included Best Set Design for Rae Smith, Basil Jones, and Adrian Kohler and Best Theatre Choreographer for Toby Sedgwick.
The show also won a whopping five 2011 Tony Awards, which included Best Play, Best Direction of a Play for Marianne Elliot (who also directed "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," which recently had a successful run in Hong Kong) and Tom Morris, Best Scenic Design for Rae Smith, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Paule Constable (who also beautifully lit the 25th-anniversary production of "Les Miserables"), and Best Sound Design for Christopher Shutt.
"War Horse" tells the story about a country boy and his horse set against the backdrop of the First World War, with, arguably, the most stunning use of bunraku-like puppetry since Disney's "The Lion King" on Broadway. This much-deserved credit goes to the animal movement and choreography by Sedgwick, and to Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, who masterfully crafted around 23 puppets, including Joey, another horse named Topthorn, a goose, two swallows, and two crows.
In a statement, Morpurgo said, "I'm thrilled that Joey, the War Horse, and his great team from the National Theatre are touring to Hong Kong, taking their show all over the world to places 'War Horse' has not been seen before. I'm so pleased this is happening; that so many people have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event..."
Scott Miller, an alumnus of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, plays the boy, Albert Narracott. He performs alongside Jo Castleton, who returns to the tour as Rose Narracott, Albert's mother, and Ben Murray, who returns from the London's West End run as Song Man.
Rounding out its stellar cast are Kofi Aidoo-Appiah (Topthorn head), Rianna Ash, Shaun McKee (Joey head), Huw Blainey (Geordie), Matthew Booth (Allan/Brandt/Manfred), Jonathan Cobb (Goose/Schnabel), Colin Connor (Ted), Ben Cutler (Nicholls), Khalid Daley (David/Baby Joey), Zoe Halliday (Topthorn hind), Danny Hendrix (Billy/Heine/Klebb), Alex Hooper, Michael Taibi (Joey heart), Lewis Howard (Joey/Topthorn heart), William Ilkley (Arthur), Michael Jean-Marain (Topthorn heart), Andrew Keay (Joey/Topthorn hind), Clive Keene (Greig/ Sergeant Fine), Natalie Kimmerling (Emilie), Kiran Landa (Paulette/Baby Joey), Mark Matthews, Derek Arnold (Joey hind), Katherine Moraz (Annie Gilbert), Christopher Naylor (Friedrich/Priest), Samuel Parker (Joey/Topthorn hind), Tom Quinn (Joey/Topthorn head), Gareth Radcliffe (Carter/Strauss), Domonic Ramsden (Joey/Topthorn heart), Jack Simpson (Klausen), Tom Stacy (Joey/Topthorn head), Elizabeth Stretton (Matron Callaghan/Baby Joey), Kenton Thomas (Bone/Schweyk/Vet Martin), Charlie Tighe (Stewart/Heine/Ludwig) and Matthew Trevannion (Sergeant Thunder).
Presented in Hong Kong by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and The National Theatre of Great Britain, "War Horse" also features the video design by 59 Productions' Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, songs by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton, and sound design by Shutt. Katie Henry is at the helm of this UK/International Tour. Charlotte Peters is Henry's associate director; Craig Leo and Matthew Forbes, associate puppetry directors; Charlie Kenber, resident director, and Gareth Aled, resident puppetry director.
"War Horse" plays at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, May 10-June 2, 2019 (Tuesday to Friday: 7:45 pm; Saturday: 2 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and Sunday: 1 p.m., 6 p.m.)
Photos: Brinkhoff Mögenburg
Bonus Video: Promotional Visit of Joey in Hong Kong