An absolutely stellar full-cast, updated adaptation of Jeff Wayne's 1978 musical version.
Exclusive to Audible, Jeff Wayne has reimaged his popular 1978 musical production of HG Wells’ science fiction masterpiece, War of the Worlds, and it is stellar.
British science fiction writer HG Wells first wrote War of the Worlds in 1897. It tells the story of a Martian invasion of Earth using superior technology to decimate the population and became the template for future alien-invasion stories. The novel received a revival after American actor and director Orson Welles dramatised it for radio in 1938. The broadcast presented the invasion through a series of fake news bulletins which caused outright panic across the nation as listeners tuned in late and failed to realise they were listening to The Mercury Theatre on the Air.
Welles’ infamous radio play is still celebrated and studied to this day and its popularity is arguably matched only by Jeff Wayne’s rock opera of the seventies. The distinctive dramatic music, combined with Richard Burton’s narration and David Essex’ vocals has continued to keep this recording well-loved and popular.
Now, some 40 years later, Jeff Wayne has removed the songs, revamped the music and released a full-cast dramatisation of War of the Worlds. A lot of the familiar, much-loved music is still there, although tweaked to modernise it, and it complements the fully-realised production and sound effects beautifully with tense underscoring and powerful but shorter musical bridges.
The new music added to this production is of equal quality to the most remembered tunes of the original and it all adds to the tension and thrills of the tale.
War of the Worlds has been done to death over the decades with movie adaptations, at least two television mini-series this past year alone, and countless book readings and dramatisations. Even so, Wayne has creating a fresh new version that brings back the excitement of the story and the storytelling. There’s enough of his original production to delight those already in love with the earlier version without turning this 2018 adaptation into a simple rehash.
Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds 2018 musical drama remains emotive, passionate and unstoppable listening with a top-notch cast that includes Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Theo James, Adrian Edmondson and Anna-Marie Wayne. It runs just over five hours and is available exclusively through Audible.
Don’t miss it.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis