War of the Worlds attacks London again, Jeff Wayne
MORE than 30 years after composing the soundtrack to War of the Worlds, Jeff Wayne is still enjoying its success and popularity.
MORE than thirty years after composing the soundtrack to War of the Worlds, Jeff Wayne is still enjoying its success and popularity.
Four years ago he transformed HG Wells’ story of an alien invasion into a spectacular stage show and is still touring.
Originally written in 1898 the new show takes advantage of modern technology and includes an 11ft tall 3D hologram, a 35ft high Martian fighting machine, a 100ft wide CGI screen, lasers lights and illusions.
Jeff Wayne, who conducts a 50-piece orchestra during the show, said: “Part of being creative is to try and top the last thing you’ve done. It’s such a visual story that HG Wells created it’s almost a bottomless pit of what you can do. You are only limited by your imagination and your budget.”
Unlike a traditional musical WOTW only casts five people for the show including Jason Donavan, X-factor’s Rhydian, Liz McClarnon of Atomic Kitten and former Moody Blues singer-songwriter Justin Hayward.
Jeff said: “It’s not like a traditional musical where you have dancers and singers and leading characters. It’s probably too dark a piece in the storyline to conceive of it like that.”
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The sinister plot follows journalist George Herbert, the 3D hologram, trying to reunite with his wife while Martians attack London’s suburbs.
While the story remains dark the show still appeals to the whole family.
Jeff said: “It’s got a lot scarier with the new CGI film but younger people have really enjoyed it with all the visuals and special effects. Last year we introduced this illusion that comes from the world of levitation, which had never been done before on a stage of this scale. I can’t tell you how it works but what you see on stage is Beth, the narrator’s wife, perishing and from her body rises her spirit in a different costume up 35 ft high.”
“Although one night it didn’t work and let’s just say it wasn’t Beth who levitated; it was a cello. I was conducting with my back to where it’s happening and out of the corner of my eye I’m seeing this cello levitate.”
When he’s not working with the show, the multi-talented Mr Wayne captains the Herfordshire County tennis team who are currently national champions.
But unfortunately he had no quick fixes for the current state of English tennis.
Asking the producer if he has time for any other projects, he said: “The war of the worlds has returned to me in my life for the tours. I do have other things to do but then another tour comes along and it occupies my whole life but I’m not complaining.”
*Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds will be at the O2 and Wembley Arena on December 12 and 18 respectively.