And the Horse You Rode in On

And The Horse You Rode In On begins with the easy unfolding of soldiers’ badinage. It’s the Great War; these are the German trenches. A man polishes his spyglass obsessively. Another nurses his eye-socket, bruised from hours on the watch. A loan is amicably brokered. Then a soldier lashes out brutally at his subordinate — an act which instantly ratchets up the intensity to an unexpected peak.

There is much to admire in And The Horse You Rode In On. Its final scene, which stages a heartfelt conversation set in no-man’s-land, is poignant and bitterly funny.

It is this breath-catching, edge-of-your-seat feeling that makes And The Horse You Rode In On a rare work of theatre. The setting, deftly suggested with plywood and sacking, provides writer-director Tom Stuchfield with an ideal arena for his exploration of soldierly psyches under untenable duress. In the play’s second segment it represents the corresponding English trench, making possible sophisticated parallels between the two.

Whittled down to five members of its original 12-person cast, each of whom now plays a British and a German role each, the play’s Fringe production is particularly insistent on its symmetries. This is a mixed blessing. Raph Wakefield’s laudable transformation from the efficient, blustering Urban into the hapless Dixon allows for a nuanced exploration of authority and its place in the military. Chris Born is particularly convincing in his analogous roles as a weary old-timer with a good heart and few illusions. But it also makes more prominent the contrast between the German officers’ savagery and the friendly candour of their English counterparts. This feels too easy, too stereotypical. “What are the enemy’s officers like?” one of the German boys asks early on. “Much like ours, I imagine,” comes the reply. The play would be stronger if this were closer to the case.

Still, there is much to admire in And The Horse You Rode In On. Its final scene, which stages a heartfelt conversation set in no-man’s-land, is poignant and bitterly funny. Ultimately it composes a stirring indictment of war.

Reviews by Aron Penczu

C venues - C nova

Bazaar and Rummage

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Shaggers

★★
Heroes @ Bob & Miss Behave's Bookshop

IndieRound (Fool Members Club) with Bob Slayer & Tim Fitzhigham

★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

The Unholy Trinity

C venues - C too

Story Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

The Sorrows of Young Werther

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Charting their last twenty minutes of calm before the call to charge, And The Horse You Rode In On tells the story of ten men pushed to the brink in the trenches of the First World War, and the damage its irresponsible leaders caused. Following a five-star run in Cambridge, the brand new show travels to Edinburgh, marking the centenary of the worst conflict in human history, in an intense new revision that promises to remain with you long after the gunfire ceases. Expect camaraderie, love and betrayal. Welcome to hell on earth.

Most Popular See More

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets