METAL and cloth come to life dramatically in War Horse, the latest big-budget theatrical production to come to Brisbane.

The war-time epic has been wowing audiences ahead of its official opening on Thursday night at QPAC's Lyric Theatre.

It takes a team of three puppeteers to operate the show's life-sized horses, which weigh up to 70kg each without a rider.

Stamping, trotting, galloping, rearing and even fighting, the impressive puppets transform into living and breathing characters on stage.

The play, an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book and the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's movie of the same name, tells the story of Joey, the beloved horse of a boy called Albert, who is sold to the cavalry at the outbreak of the First World War and shipped to France.

The show stars 24-year-old Perth-born actor Cody Fern in his first leading theatrical role.

"I never see the puppeteers on stage," Fern said.

"All I see is Joey, but at the same time I'm so technically aware of them… you have to be so technically proficient but at the same time so emotionally available."

War Horse plays at QPAC's Lyric Theatre through August 4.

Tickets start from $69.90 plus booking fee.

To book or for more information go to QPAC's website.