Review by Graham Finney & Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest

With a cast headed up by star names Jason Donovan and Newton Faulkner, the musical adaptation of HG Wells legendary story The War Of The Worlds, comes around for its fortieth anniversary tour and the crowds flock to see Jeff Wayne’s musical interpretation of this timeless favourite.

Multiple generations have grown up on this dramatic story of an alien invasion of Planet Earth which is primarily centred around Victorian London. Played out by a 48-piece orchestra led by the ever-present Wayne, the musical adaptation of Wells’ work is equally as dramatic and powerful as the original story. Mixing thundering slices of symphonic drama with bursts of prog rock, the two hour performance comprises both narrated passages delivered by Liam Neeson on an impressive bank of video screens and live performers including the aforementioned Aussie superstar and folk rock favourite Faulkner. Add in a replica Martian, searing pyrotechnics and an impressive lightshow and it’s easy to see why fans of the story keep flocking back year after year.

The story ebbs and flows as the alien invasion threatens to destroy mankind before the human race fights back taking the story to its dramatic climax. The live performances, narrated video passages and a dramatic musical soundtrack link together seamlessly to bring HG Wells story to life in front of thousands of awe-struck fans. With Aussie Jason Donovan delivering a powerful performance as Parson Nathaniel and the iconic Liam Neeson overseeing the story in the background, it’s difficult for Faulkner to match them and, while there is no doubting his talent, his performance as the Journalist doesn’t quite reach the heights that a role in something as dramatic as The War Of The Worlds possibly requires.

However, when all said and done, as another packed venue will testify to, the end result is a brilliant adaptation of story that is undoubtedly going to keep generations of fans enthralled for many more years to come.

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