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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new classic of story-telling for a new generation of young theater-goers, January 17, 2011
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This review is from: War Horse (Paperback)
[Comments refer to the stage play "War Horse" by Nick Stafford, which is based on the novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo]

"War Horse" is pure story-telling, a classic tale for children but, hey, it's going to cause any adult to choke up with emotion. Think "Old Yeller," by Fred Gipson, or Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' "The Yearling."

The stage play by Nick Stafford tells the story of Joey, a horse -- half thoroughbred, half hunter -- born shortly before the outbreak of WWI, separated from his mother while still a foal, raised in the Devon countryside in England by young Albert Narracott and sold to the English cavalry to fight alongside the doughboys in France.

Saying good-bye to his beloved horse, Albert vows: "I want you to do yourself proud. You go and drive those Germans back home, and then you come home. I promise you, Joey, that we shall be together again . . . I, Albert Narracott, do solemnly swear that we shall be together again."

Although too young to enlist, Albert, 16, lies about his age and sets out to find Joey and bring the horse home to the fields of Devon.

A caveat: This paperback by Nick Stafford is the stage adaptation of the novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. The National Theatre in London gave the play its premier in 2007. The same production, in association with the Handspring Puppet Company, is scheduled to open at Lincoln Center in New York in the spring of 2011. Steven Spielberg is directing a movie of the book which is scheduled to premier December 2011.

With that caveat in mind, for me the question then becomes does it make sense to read the play before seeing the "War Horse" stage production or before sitting down in a dark movie theater with a box of popcorn and watching the action unfold on the big screen.

By reading the play beforehand, you'll know the story and how it ends. But it's a fantastically compelling story that has traction enough to be retold and retold without diminishing its emotional wallop.

The value of reading the play before seeing the production is that you create Joey and his world in your imagination. Seeing what you've conjured in your mind's eye and how that compares to what happens on stage or in the movie theater is, for me at least, a pleasure all in its own right. Think of reading "Lord of the Rings" and then seeing the trilogy on screen. Reading "Gone With the Wind" before watching the classic movie.

For me, reading the play or book first; seeing the movie after, enriches the entire experience. My advice, get to know Joey and his story as soon as you can; then make plans to see the play and go to the movie.

[4.5 stars]
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 20, 2011 11:55:54 AM PST
catbyte says:
Please don't tell me it ends like "Old Yeller" and "The Yearling"! :~(((

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011 3:06:40 PM PST
Rett01 says:
I'm an adult male but if I ever feel the need to sit down and have a good cry all I need to do is pour a glass of wine and order up a streaming of "The Yearling." Never fails.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 9:58:17 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 21, 2012 11:15:36 AM PDT]
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