War Horse (National Theatre Live: Cinema City) New London Theatre, March 2014.
Regular readers of the blog will know that this is one of my favourite shows currently running and I was interested to see how such an epic piece of the theatre would come across on the big screen.
I'm pleased to report that for me the broadcast mostly worked, and at times the camera close up actually added to the play rather than distracting me. This was especially true at the times the puppets were being manipulated to appear to be moving in slow motion. However the camera close ups were less successful when the horses were being carried to show jumping and especially when the little French girl is on stage. Even sitting in the front of the stalls I thought that Emilie was played by a child, however this magic was lost on the screen.
I think that in the screening I saw well over 90% of the audience hadn't seen the play before and in the dramatic parts there were audible gasps from the room - something that I've never noticed in the large theatre building. That people were so swept up on seeing this on a screen is overwhelming proof that the play was suitable to be filmed.
The best thing - hearing so many people in the screen saying how much better the play was than the film from a couple of years ago. Even the stellar cast/director couldn't make the film better than this play told by puppets.