War Horse, New London Theatre

Editor’s Rating

I promised myself that I wouldn’t see Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film before experiencing the National Theatre’s multiple award-winning play. Over Christmas, I caught a repeat of More4’s documentary, Making War Horse, about how the NT worked with Handspring Puppet Company to adapt and expand upon Michael Morpurgo’s original novella.

Every single one of my friends who has seen War Horse has raved about it. That’s unique – I usually can’t get my friends to agree on anything, so the unanimity was reassuring. Disconcerting at the same time, though – could any one show be as good as everyone was suggesting?

Last night, I got to find out that not only was it as good as everyone said, but they were downplaying it somewhat: it’s a beautiful, emotional piece of storytelling that feels like one of the great theatrical pieces of all time.

I don’t have the time, or the tear ducts, to devote to writing a full review. All I can say is that Handspring’s work on the horses is stunning. Each of the principal horses is controlled by three performers (billed in the programme as ‘Head’, ‘Heart’ and ‘Hind’), who imbue the animals with such nobility and character that the people operating them just fade away. It’s a phenomenal achievement, and one I am truly grateful I have at last witnessed.

I’m not sure if the Spielberg film can possibly be as good as the theatrical version. However, it’s certainly going to be easier to get a ticket for it – although the play is set to tour next year.

War Horse, New London Theatre5Scott Matthewman2012-02-02 14:08:52

I promised myself that I wouldn’t see Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film before experienc…

Two broadcasters who get it about the gay thing

After all the [Moyles](http://www.matthewman.net/articles/2006/06/06/the-bbc-governors-are-spastics) business, it’s nice to see two broadcasters (both straight) who get it.

First off, [Andrew Collins](http://www.wherediditallgoright.com/BLOG/2006/06/this-man-is-gay.html):

> But if it is expected to use gay as an insult, aren’t we just ever so slightly sliding backwards, semantically speaking? What if the word “black” became twisted in the playground to mean “rubbish” and that entered the adult lexicon? Is _that_ cool? Suppose “Northamptonian” became shorthand for “lame”. That’s _so_ Northamptonian! Would I care? I sort of would, even if the use of it didn’t actually injure me personally. I think I’d care in priniciple.
> I know, the English language evolves and mutates the whole time, and that is a wonderful thing, but I don’t think this matter is as cut and dried as the governors do. Surely it plays into the hands of those who think being gay actually is rubbish. I saw a documentary on Channel 4 the other night about a college in America for Christians who really do think it’s rubbish. They think it’s wrong and deviant and unnatural and dangerous. They must be rubbing their hands.

Bless him. I love Andrew Collins anyway (in a butch, platonic way, of course. Anything else would just be a little bit _moyles_). This almost makes up for him being a pundit on _Doctor Who Confidential_ when they should clearly have invited someone from _The Stage_ in his place :)

Secondly, Jon Stewart of America’s Daily Show, who laid into right-wing pundit Bill Bennett on the hypocrisy surrounding politicians hawking round anti-gay marriage amendments to shore up their fundamentalist bases:

> Stewart: So why not encourage gay people to join in in that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?
> Bennett: Well I think if gay..gay people are already members of families…
> Stewart: What? (almost spitting out his drink)
> Bennett: They’re sons and they’re daughters..
> Stewart: So that’s where the buck stops, that’s the gay ceiling.
> Bennett Look, it’s a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women.
> Stewart:I disagree, I think it’s a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

Thanks to [boingboing](http://www.boingboing.net/2006/06/07/jon_stewart_tears_op.html) for the link to [Crooks and Liars](http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/06/07.html#a8614), which has downloadable video of the show segment.

Or, you can just watch it via [YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru1M8VDpnAY):

If you’re part of the [72.5% of households with digital television](http://www.thestage.co.uk/tvtoday/2006/06/were_a_digital_nation_now.php), make sure you catch the Daily Show every weekday, 8:30pm on [More4](http://www.channel4.com/more4).