Event Review: The War of the Worlds at The O2 Arena

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Guest post by Tim Blackburn…

I took my Dad to the O2 to see Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of ‘The War of the Worlds’. I’d seen the show at the O2 before about 4 years ago but it was his first time.

This year’s tour is slightly different than previous shows as Liam Neeson replaces Richard Burton as ‘The Narrator’; not sure it was really necessary, but it was a nice change. There was also the addition of actor Callum O’Neill playing author H.G. Wells who appeared at the beginning, middle and end of the show. He explained why he wrote ‘The War of the Worlds’ and it’s broader meaning to the world we live in. This covered the World Wars which followed during the 20th century, particularly relevant this year as we mark the centenary of the First World War.

Cast members included Brian McFadden, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Jason Donovan and Shane Ward, but the standout performer for me was Joseph Whelan singing ‘Thunderchild’. How he didn’t get further than he did in The X-Factor last year is beyond me as he had a great voice and really brought the song to life.

Beyond the singers, the orchestra and band were excellent, conducted with great energy by the man himself, Jeff Wayne. Chris Spedding and Herbie Flowers played guitar and bass respectively – they had also played on the original album.

The show was full of special effects, the obvious highlight being the alien fighting machine lowering from the ceiling of the O2 Arena, spitting flame and smoke. There was an enormous video screen covering the back of the stage – the film and graphics really helped to put the story across.

As always we had a great time at London’s O2 Arena, it really is one of the best venues for live music in the country. Even for a matinee performance, I couldn’t see an empty seat in the house, testament to the albums enduring popularity (I was surprised to find out it is one of the top-selling albums in the UK with over 2.5 million copies sold!)

Unfortunately this seems to be the last time the show will be on tour. If they change their mind in the future and tour again, I will be there!

war-of-the-worlds

Guest post by Trish Poole…

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

— H. G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds

13th December… 8.30am train to London, we were on our way to see War of the Worlds at The O2… I was excited, it’s in my top ten all time favourite albums and I have always wanted to see this show.

We got to London and went straight to the President Hotel in Russell Square where we left the bags and went for a walk. We took the tube to Leicester Square and walked from there to Covent Garden taking photo’s and soaking up the atmosphere. When it was nearly time for the show, we walked over to Waterloo Bridge catching the tube to North Greenwich.

We went for a meal at Chiquito’s Mexican restaurant – my husband and I have eaten there before as its great food and reasonably priced, it’s around £20 per head for a starter, main meal and a drink.

As the show started at 8pm we took to our seats in the arena. It was a great opening seeing the Alien’s eyes on the screen watching us! Liam Neeson was good as The Journalist, appearing only on screen as a hologram. Jason Donovan was Parson Nathaniel and the stage setting was really well done – I loved the pyrotechnics.

The show was amazing from start to finish. All too soon it was over and time for us to head back to our hotel. I really could have sat through the whole show again.

I am looking forward to seeing Queen with Adam Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Spandau Ballet this year.

Did you get tickets to see Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds too? Let us know what you made of the show or if you’ve been to see any other events at London’s O2 Arena recently using the comments box below. 

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