Review of 'Jeff Waynes Musical Version of the War of the Worlds: Live on Stage'

In 1978 an extraordinary album was released by Jeff Wayne that re-interpreted the H.G. Well's classic Science Fiction story War of the Worlds as a rock musical (I would suggest “rock opera”). 28 years later Wayne brought the album to the stage at several venues across the United Kingdom. I was amongst the many thousands who, regrettably, could not obtain tickets for the very few shows (though perhaps when it returns in 2007…).

This movie is the show presented at the Wembley Arena on 25th of April in 2006. It is truly a fantastic visual presentation of the album plus some additional material (the new introduction) as well as modern interpretations of several of the pieces though this never strays too far from the original. It is refreshing to see that two of the original singing cast make a reappearance in this version – and hold up their own quite well considering the advancement of years. Russell Watson is among those additional vocalists added to complete this 2006 cast. The staging is brilliant with a video screen behind the stage as well as a talking Richard Burton “head” as well as a very-close-to-real-size Martian Fighting Machine. Despite this the acting is fairly minimal and this should best be considered a “semi-staged” version. Nonetheless any fans of the music will very much appreciate this show. Popularity outside of this set of people remains to be seen but Jeff Wayne has surprised critics before…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2006-11-25

Directed by: David Mallet

Studio: Universal

Year: 2006

Length: 111 minutes

Genre: Musical