If you are even thinking about going...DO IT! I didn't truly know what to expect last night. I knew the War Horse story, and how it was a bit like Lion King on stage as far as it's Handspring puppets. And even halfway through I wasn't totally sure it was my cup of tea, and I wasn't alone, many at intermission weren't totally sure of it. But at the end, the standing ovation (deserved) showed that War Horse is grade "A". I gave the first act a B+, and the second an A+, while the couple that went with us felt the exact opposite. Quick thoughts on War Horse:
The war effects at times were a little simplistic, almost comical, at others, fabulous. Because so much of the show relies on production values, and sort of forgetting that the horses are operated by a team of three humans, I think this is one show where it may be better to sit a little further from the stage, to "suspend your belief" and make it a little more wide screen...a little more full scale rather than being on top of it.
You forget that the horses are only Handspring Puppets about 40 seconds into the production. Pretty amazing. You develop a bond with these horses as you have with your pets at home. So much of a bond that you will find yourself weeping at times for what these horses went through during WW1, and you'll not be able to wait to get home and hug your dog or cat.
If you saw the movie, or read the book, a lot is condensed, or else the 2 1/2 hour show would have been 3 1/2 hours.
The entire production is a nice history lesson on WW1, which is much less understood than WW2. Though War Horse has many powerful moments, I think it's just fine for kids 11 and up.
As Shea's President Tony Conti put it in the War Horse Playbill welcome, "War Horse reminds us of the ways in which animals remain with us through many stages of our lives, giving much and asking for little."
If you are on the fence...make the jump, and go see War Horse at Shea's.