She was always a huge fan of the books of the former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, so for Nathalie Wojakovski, 11 and a half, it was a thrill to find out that she and her family were going to see the award-winning show, War Horse, based on Morpurgo’s best-selling book.
But last week there was even more excitement for Nathalie, who has just left Menorah Foundation Primary School and is starting at Hasmonean High School in September.
Behind the scenes at the New London Theatre, where the hit show is being staged by the National Theatre company, it was discovered that Nathalie was the 100,000th person to see War Horse.
“I’ve read four or five of Michael Morpurgo’s books, and I really like them,” Nathalie said this week. She had just started reading War Horse when her aunt from Israel, Miriam, suggested that the family should go and see the show during her visit to London. So the family — Nathalie’s parents Nadine and Oded, her aunts Miriam and Jackie, and assorted cousins — headed to the theatre.
They were greeted by the National’s company manager, Charles Evans, who presented Nathalie with merchandise from the show.
Nathalie had not finished reading the book before the play but she had a wonderful time. After the show the family went backstage and were able to see one of the giant puppet horses which are the highlight of the staging. “I thought that was really good,” said Nathalie. “They were just like real horses, they were great.”
“War Horse starts when lonely Albert’s father buys a horse from an auction in 1912. Albert develops a very close bond with Joey the horse, and is horrified when his father sells him to be used on the battlefield of World War One. Joey is now a War Horse. Albert runs away and joins the fighting. His aim is to find Joey.
“The puppetry of the horses was magnificent as the three people controlling them made them trot, gallop and sound like real ones. War Horse is a great but sad story, and the theatre matched the high standards of the book. The suffering of the soldiers and horses is heartbreaking, and not suitable for younger kids. But I would certainly recommend it for older ones.”