Warhorse, showing at the National Theatre in London, has some absolutely stunning life-size horse puppets, designed and made by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler from the South African Handspring Puppet Company.
Made of cane and gauze, plywood and bicycle brake-cable, nylon cord and leather, they are moved from the inside by actors, who can clearly be seen through the horses’ skeletal bamboo frames; another human steers the head, so that the steeds nuzzle, twitch their ears, shiver with fear, rear in fright, roll their lustrous eyes; they also neigh and snicker. The actors are the inner lives of the beasts: when one horse dies, sinking to its knees and then lying, as a silvery grey skeleton, on its side, you see the puppeteers rolling out of the frame as if they were a band of souls leaving a body. After battle, the stage is covered in emptied carcasses, like dressmakers’ dummies. – Suzannah Clapp, review in The Guardian
The Guardian also has a gallery of images that tell the story, as well as providing the best photographs of the puppets that I have come across. Of course, much of the magic is in their movement: there is a glimpse of that in this ‘what the audience thinks’ video.
There are some other reviews at The Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Times, and the London Theatre Guide.
(via Puppetry News)