Producers of the highly anticipated production War Horse allowed media a glimpse of the production on stage in advance of tomorrow night’s opening.


Drew Barr, director of the Australian production, introduces the two segments to be staged this morning.



The staging features a black, textured round stage, with a ragged shard of backdrop against an inky black background. The backdrop displays hand-sketched settings, as well as including time and place as the story progresses.



The town square is the site of festivities as army personnel buy horses to take to the war in France and beyond.



A desperate Ted Narracott (Ian Bliss) brings Joey to the sale, netting a price of 100 pounds (a sum that Barr noted is the equivalent of approximately $10,000 today)



Young Albert Narracott (Cody Fern), who has lovingly raised and trained Joey, is devastated by his father’s actions. Rose Narracott (Natasha Herbert) is disappointed by her husband’s actions.



Albert admits that at 16 he is too young to enlist.



Captain James Nicholls (Dale March) promises that he will look after Joey and that at the end of the war, Albert can buy him back.



Albert summons Joey with distinctive owl-like call…



…and bids him a fond farewell.



Albert angrily tells his father that the money gained today cannot be used for gambling or cider.



In a second sequence, Joey and Topthorn square off in a contest, of sorts, over dominance.



The beautiful Joey.



The magnificent Topthorn.



The horses rear up against each other.



The Australian premiere of War Horse is tomorrow, Monday 31 December 2012, at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. The season already has the distinction of breaking the record for the biggest advance sale of any show in the history of Arts Centre Melbourne.


Previews commence March 16 2013 at the Sydney Lyric and July 6 2013 at Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre. The show transfers to Auckland in August 2013.



Further information is available at the official Australian website for War Horse.


Read Kris Weber’s interview with actor Ian Bliss: HERE


Photos: Simon Parris