We sat high up in the upper circle on seats no wider than a school ruler with non existent leg room but none of that mattered when the curtain went up and the narrator started to sing in a most delicious folky voice.
Then the horse came on stage and after the initial recognition that three men were working a life sized puppet I very quickly was drawn into the story and the horse became alive. The movements and noises made were so realistic and the actors reaction to the horse only confirmed that Joey (horse) was real and this was no long a stage production but a farm in Devon or an auction mart or the fields of Flanders with bombs and tanks and barbed wire.
Tears streamed down my face.
My heart leapt and sank and I had goose bumps and I even found that I had covered my mouth with both hands to prevent myself from crying out when Joey was tangled in barbed wire in no-man's land.
The puppetry was so good that when horses and soldiers were killed on the battle field, I wept.
Explosions were deafening, bombs and bullets were real so so terrifyingly real.
And when two debilitated and dying horses were whipped on stage as they valiantly tried to pull a field gun - a man and his young son next to me left, the youngster could take no more heart break.
Suddenly it was finished and we stumbled out of the theatre - almost drained yet elated at the brilliance of it all.
If you ever get a chance to see it - do so, not the film, no, but the theatre production - it is worth every bottom-numbing, knee cramped moment.