Black Beauty at Althorp House - review by Hannah Smith

Althorp House provided the perfect setting for the first ever stage production of Black Beauty.

The opening scene, set in Birtwick Park, Beauty’s first home, is played out near the old stables of the house. Using different parts of the grounds, for new acts in the play, was a stroke of genius from set designer Bill Butcher. It really feels as though you have travelled back in time and are watching the story unfold for the first time.

The proud, kindly nature of Black Beauty is brought to life by Simeon John-Wake. Performing on stage, with an impressive wire horses head strapped to his body must be physically difficult but, Simeon captures the essence of the horse perfectly.

A scene re-telling the story of Captain, an old war horse, black Beauty meets during his time as a cab horse, is charged with action and drama. And the derby race at Epsom will have audience members on the edge of their seats.

The family friendly play ticks all the right boxes, with drama, humour, sadness and romance. Guests can take their own picnic, which makes for a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.

The play will be touring some of the country’s most beautiful heritage sites over the summer. Tickets can be brought by visiting www.blackbeautylive.com or by calling 0844 871 7604.