Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds
The Stage-play recorded Live at O2 Arena
Conducted by Jeff Wayne
Starring (in order of appearance)
Michael Falzon as William Rowland
Lilly Osborne as Vera May
Liam Neeson as The Journalist
Marti Pellow the sung thoughts of The Journalist
Will Stapleton as The Voice Of Humanity
Ricky Wilson as The Artilleryman
Jason Donovan as Parson Nathaniel
Kerry Ellis as Beth
Anna Marie Wade as Carrie
I’m very familiar with this story.
I read the book when I was young, I can’t recall exactly when. Then there was a comic adaptation by Marvel that was serialised as reprint in the back of Doctor Who Weekly (from Issue 1 cover date 17th October 1979 to issue 11 dated 26th December 1979). I’ve seen the films (1953 & 2005) and watched the TV Series (1998 – 1989).
I’ve enjoyed the original album for many years. First on vinyl, my sister had a copy when it was new. Years later my Wife and I got a copy, after my divorce I replaced it with a CD.
The whole experience of the soundtrack was brilliant the first time I heard it. From Richard Burton through Phil Lynott and David Essex. of them all Phil Lynott’s performance as Parson Nathaniel was my favourite.
So a new version of the musical, I was dubious till I found out it was conducted, live, by Jeff Wayne. There was no need, the music is perfect and I could watch it listen to it easily as much as the original version.
Liam Neeson is magnificent as The Journalist and fills in neatly for Richard Burton. No one could stand in for Phil Lynott for me but Jason Donovan doesn’t even try to – he delivers the part his own way and is superb. A particular favourite in this version is Ricky Wilson’s performance as The Artillaryman – better than David Essex in my opinion. The only criticism is that I don’t think Marti Pellow is up to the standard of the cast, I may be being unfair but I think he was out of his depth.
The story is the same as the original audio version, with a little added at the beginning and here and there. So if you have heard the original I could have detailed the plot and ruined nothing however I’ve kept this spoiler free in case anyone not familiar with the audio version gets a fair chance to experience the full marvel unspoiled.
The production values are excellent on my copy. The live and screen segments are equally as good and the sound quality is perfect.