Friday 12 April 2013

Review: War Of The Worlds - Alive on Stage!

World of Blackout Film Review

War of the Worlds: The New Generation - Alive On Stage! Poster

War of the Worlds - Alive on Stage!
Cert: PG / 138 mins / Dir. Jeff Wayne

Friday afternoon, Martian Invasion and Occupation Committee board room.
Around a table sit eight MARTIANS, with the CEO heading the meeting at the top of the table...

CEO: Well, it's almost time for our planned migration to Planet Three, and I just wanted to gather you all here to dot the i's, cross the t's and thank you for all your hard work. The final budgetry clearance has been approved and we have a flight clearance for Tuesday morning. Is there any other business before we go over the manifest one last time?

Dave: ...these 'cylinders' we're going in...

CEO: Yes, Dave, the cylinders?

Dave: How did you want the walkers packed into them again?

CEO: I thought this was detailed in the Work Instruction, Dave? What we're looking to do is race towards the blue planet in a trail of dramatic green smoke, smash into the earth in one of their more densely populated areas, pop the end off the cylinder right away and spring out in our walkers, unleashing our deadly heat-rays to startle the "hoo-mans" into flight and/or instant submission. Speed and surprise are the key factors, here. What can go wrong?

Dave: So, you didn't want them packed in, say, kit-form?

CEO: I beg your pardon, Dave?

Dave: Well, it made more sense to me to pack them in kit-form. It takes up way less space and stops them rattling around.

CEO: Are you telling me that the primary weapons for our onslaught are flat-packed in the boot?

Dave: But the space-saving is far more efficient...

CEO: But we don't need the extra room for anything, Dave. We've accounted for that already. We need to launch an immediate attack when we land, not be sending someone down to B&Q for a set of allen-keys.

Dave: They're easy enough to put together, you can basically do it with a hammer.

CEO: A hammer? We're the most advanced civilisation in the solar system, capable of routine interplanetary travel, and we're building our weapons with fucking hammers?

Dave: Well, they're essentially pre-fabricated parts, obviously, it's just the final assembly that requires a bit of brute force. Besides, none of our reports indicate that 19th century London has the correct voltage for us to charge our drills, so we'll have to do it all by hand.

CEO: Correct voltage? You're not actually thinking of assembling the walkers AFTER WE'VE ARRIVED, are you?

Dave: Well, it should only take ten days or so...

CEO: Who is this clown? Anybody? You're thinking, Dave, that our genuine plan of attack is to land in one of the most advanced, highly populated areas of the planet controlled by a notoriously paranoid species, and then just sit in the car hammering shit together FOR TEN DAYS and hope that we'll still have the element of surprise when we finally pop the lid off?

Dave: I wasn't on the distribution list for the loading Work Instruction, so just assumed... or maybe it ended up in my Junk folder?

CEO: Okay. We'll deal with this later, I'm sure we can make it work somehow. Now, PLEASE tell me we've got the completed risk assessments back from the bacteria and disease-control department.

Bob: ...erm, yes that should all be fine. I mean Colin hasn't sent me the attachments yet, but he says they're definitely done...


So. The production itself? Difficult for me to say as I have no prior experience with either Jeff Wayne's version, or the book/film incarnations. I know the broad overview, of course, but still found the stage production a little inaccessible. I suspect it's probably aimed more at existing fans, as it's remarkably self-indulgent at times. All of the performers are giving it everything, but I'd have liked more narration as the story seems quite disjointed.

Jason Donovan sings his part in the style of Bruce Dickinson, which I thought was nice.

All in all, it's 'okay', but the top section of the review suggests that my issues lie more with the story itself than this production.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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