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Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War of the Worlds Alive on Stage! The New Generation (2013)

Stage musical adaptation of H.G. Wells' alien invasion novel, recorded live at London's O2 arena in 2012. The reimagined story, which was first released in 1978 as a concept album by Jeff ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jason Donovan ...
...
William Rowland
...
The Journalist
Gary Osborne
...
Ogilvy the Astronomer
Marti Pellow ...
The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist
Will Stapleton ...
The Voice Of Humanity
Kerry Townsend ...
Beth (as Kerry Ellis)
Jerry Wayne ...
Voices of NASA Control
Ricky Wilson ...
The Artilleryman
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Storyline

Stage musical adaptation of H.G. Wells' alien invasion novel, recorded live at London's O2 arena in 2012. The reimagined story, which was first released in 1978 as a concept album by Jeff Wayne, is narrated by Liam Neeson and includes performances by Jason Donovan, Marti Pellow and Ricky Wilson. Written by Anonymous

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11 April 2013 (UK)  »

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An Iconic Novel Becomes An Iconic Album Becomes An Iconic Stage Show
16 February 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Jeff Wayne's Musical version of War Of The Worlds released in 1978 is one of the great concept albums mixing progressive rock with symphonic orchestra and vividly remember buying the album on the year of its release with my Christmas money . As I write this at the start of 2014 the album remains the 38th best selling album in British chart history with over 2.5 million sales . In 2012 Wayne decided to update the album . Brave move because there's a danger that you're going to release something so radically different that the original fans are going to hate what you've done . Wayne decided to play it safe and the 2012 version is little different from the original save for the line up where notably Liam Neeson replaces the late Richard Burton . That said the album itself didn't sell very well just like Wayne's musical version of SPARTACUS fro twenty years ago . so the market of a concept album seems confined to the 1970s . This is the stage version of that 1978 concept album

You certainly can't fault Wayne for his ambition . This mixes stage performance with cinema and because you can't expect Liam Neeson to commit himself to a theatre run he appears as a hologram and yet the physical presence of Neeson feels very real and he emits a sense of gravitas on to the audience . The music plays and singers come on stage as HG Wells iconic alien invasion story takes place . This isn't .so much a stage show but more of an experience and undoubtedly a logistical nightmare for everyone involved . Neeson's narrator is required to knock out Jason Donovan's deranged preacher which sounds more difficult than it sounds . Leaves fall on the audience as the show stopping ballad Forever Autumn plays , a Martian fighting machine comes on stage as humanity loses its war against the invaders with the fighting machine firing its heat ray in to the audience . Perhaps the most difficult feat is the ending when a Martian vaporises an unnamed NASA controller live on stage that will have you gasping " How did they do that " ? The audience must have gone home very satisfied and this DVD is a great substitute for those of us who missed the stage show

A word on the film playing in the background . It's done in a cartoonish CGI sort of way which is in no way a criticism . If it resembles anything in look then it resembles Zack Snyder's 300 and at the same time looks very expensive especially when it shows epic crowd scenes and one wonders how expensive this was ? Undoubtedly the most impressive aspect is the Martians themselves who are disturbingly alien and slimy and the stuff of nightmares . I'm sure if Wells himself was alive today he'd give this show his seal of approval


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