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The War Of The Worlds

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Thu 18 Feb 2016 10:55

What’s it all about?

Grumpy great aliens flying their nasty old spaceships over here and wreaking deadly havoc on humanity.

More importantly, it’s about creating a visually spectacular staging for Jeff Wayne’s multi-million selling concept album.

Who’s in it?

Liam Neeson narrates the show as George Herbert, the traumatised journalist looking back over the Earth-shattering events. Given Neeson’s “very particular set of skills”, which could undoubtedly be used to eviscerate an alien attack force, he appears only as a projection, allowing the far less violent Michael Praed to play his younger on stage self.

Jimmy Nail – he of Crocodile Shoes fame – pops up as a Pastor whose faith is sorely tested, while David Essex returns to Wayne’s music as The Voice Of Humanity having originally recorded the role of The Artilleryman on the 1978 album. Taking on the role for this West End run is I Gotta Get Through This singer Daniel Bedingfield, who hits impressively high notes as the rifle-wielder.

What should I look out for?

Make no mistake, the star of this show is Wayne’s string-laden, synth-tastic, guitar-packed music. Everything else works to serve that, and rightly so.

That said, if you like to give your eyes a workout, there’s more lighting and pyrotechnics going on than at a blaze at a fairy light factory. You won’t really have to look out for them, as such, though. They’ll be blindingly obvious.

Who was in the press night crowd?

The War Of The Worlds alumni and former Les Misérables star Carrie Hope Fletcher was giving her new shorter haircut an airing. Former Memphis co-stars Beverley Knight – who’ll be at the Dominion herself in The Bodyguard from 15 July – and Matt Cardle were also in.

In a nutshell?

Heat rays, giant aliens, interpretive dance, a glorious on stage orchestra; what more could you want from a spectacle-filled staged version of Jeff Wayne’s cult hit album?

What’s being said on Twitter?

Will I like it?

If you go expecting a musical – cleverly plotted story, character development, eight or nine separate songs – you may be disappointed. The War Of The Worlds is not that.

The War Of The Worlds is, however, a cracking chance to hear the cult hit album played live by an incredible orchestra conducted by the man who wrote the music. Add to that more lights than a B&Q warehouse, fire, choreography by the acclaimed Liam Steel and a massive Martian war machine, and you have a staged concert of memorably magnificent proportions. If the thought of that has you more excited than a Martian with fully charged heat ray, this’ll be your bag.

The War Of The Worlds plays at the Dominion Theatre until 30 April. You can book tickets through us here.

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