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Event Review: WAR OF THE WORLDS ARENA SHOW
December 3, 2014 By Steve Eyre
WAR OF THE WORLDS ARENA SHOW
November 30th 2014
Spectacular hardly describes it!
With CGI, holograms, live performers, a full size Martian space ship, pyrotechnics and a full orchestra, this show is the business.
It’s the first time I’ve seen the updated version of the show, starring the voice and images of Liam Neeson instead of Richard Burton, and although it’s bigger and longer than the original, with extra scenes and appearances by H G Wells no less, I’m not sure it’s better.,
Don’t misunderstand me, it is fantastic, exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable but the original show which contained all the music and dialogue from the groundbreaking album by Jeff Wayne, appealed to my sense of purity. For all that, the first scene on Mars and the appearances by HG Wells at different stages of his life did enhance and explain the story and the performances of all the cast were terrific, but I think the show should always start with the immortal words;
“No one would have believed —–“
Veterans of the show, Jason Donavon and Brian Mcfaddon were excellent but the real revelation was Shane Ward playing the Artillery Man, originally played on the album by David Essex.
His performance was passionate powerful and poignant.
As with all succesfull shows the audience plays a big part and the 12000 people in the sold out Arena showed just how good they thought it was wth lots of whooping and a hollering and a standing ovation at the end.
I was delighted to meet one fan in particular, a guy called Peter Ledwith, who had been to the show many times over the last ten years and was clearly an authority on War of the Worlds specifically and science fiction in general. So much so in fact that I think I’ve talked him into writing a regular column for us. (When I met Jeff Wayne a few years ago he signed a beautiful hard cover graphic novel of WOTW for us and now that’s on its way to Peter.)
Peter told me that there was a 7 disc special edition WOTW available and also that there was a film of the book, set in Victorian England and directed by Timothy Hinds, released at the same time of the Tom Cruise debacle.
One thing he didn’t know that in the 70s Marvel comics published a comic called Amazing Adventures and issues 18 to 39 featured stories based on the book. ( these will also be on the way to Peter shortly)
What astonished me while speaking to fans after the show was the fact that not only did a lot of people not realise the show was based on the album, they didn’t even know who H G Wells was or that there was a book called War of the Worlds. They thought the whole concept had been created for the stage show!!!
It’s rumoured that this is the final arena tour but as it’s such a cash cow I have my doubts and I sincerely hope not.
An insider told me that the original classic show with Richard Burton is to be enhanced and revived so fingers and tentacles crossed.
So as I sign off I leave you with this word;