Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War of the Worlds made its West End debut last week at the Dominion Theatre, starring David Essex, Jimmy Nail, Daniel Bedingfield and Heidi Range.
The Guardian: ***Mark Lawson wrote: “the show is often visually spectacular – and its two big numbers reliably deliver – but the weakness of the venture is that it seems likely to make many theatregoers impatient to experience the novel or the Wayne recording instead.”
The Independent: ** Holly Williams found that: “If you love the album, and treat this like a pimped-out arena concert, it’s all good fun – and really, it’s best to surrender to the silliness.”
The Telegraph: ** Tim Auld commented: “There are rare gorgeous moments when the singers come together and show what they are made of.”
Time Out: *** Andrzej Lukowski thought that: “it’s hard to imagine anybody not already a fan of the album buying a ticket, and even as a non-fan I kind of enjoyed its cynicism-free excess.”
The Stage: *** Mark Shenton summed the show up saying: “War of the Worlds taps into an ongoing fascination with things extra-terrestrial that never seems to date – and neither does this show.”
WhatsOnStage: *** Daisy Bowie-Sell said: “Ultimately, Wayne’s music is the star here. Booming out across the Dominion’s auditorium, accompanied by Tim Oliver’s impressive lighting design, it is evocative, ingenious and still stands up over thirty years later.”
Evening Standard: ** Henry Hitchings wrote: “Despite a few transfixing moments, this misconceived hybrid of concert and theatrical spectacle feels overblown and undercooked.”
London Theatre.co.uk: *** “it is the music that the fans have come to hear and experience live. To that end, this succeeds triumphantly as a live pop pageant or pop video come to 3D life.”
Financial Times: * Ian Shuttleworth commented: ” The whole stupefyingly self-regarding affair is almost certainly the worst West End show I have seen in the current decade.”
The Enquirer: Neil Speight thought: “it’s a full blown stage musical back with terrific sound, lighting and visual effects.”
The Upcoming: ** Stuart Boyland found: “the atmosphere is rarely given time to settle before it’s undone by an appearance of the creaky fibreglass “War Machine” or a spade-based dance routine.”
Broadway World: Carrie Dunn said: “this is a fabulously extravagant musical piece of excess – but it would have been good to see and hear a few more risks taken with what was originally such a daring piece of work.”
West End Frame: * Andrew Tomlins wrote: “this show is a big mess with the orchestra being the only saving grace.”
Gay Times: ** Benjamin McDonald thought: “Instead, the audience are left in awe of Wayne’s ambitious score, but indifferent to the adventures of the characters in the wake of Earth’s destruction.”
Overall Verdict: very mixed thoughts on the overall effectiveness of the production but praise for the orchestra and music. One for the fans.
War of the Worlds is booking at the Dominion Theatre until the 9th April. To book tickets visit: Ticketmaster.co.uk, Discount Theatre.com, Last Minute.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, Theatre People.com and UK Tickets.co.uk.