The War of the Worlds musical first came out in the 1970s and its unique, operatic, steampunk take on this Victorian alien invasion story has been a worldwide hit ever since. It still sells out stadiums annually so the concept of making into an immersive experience has created a lot of excitement. I headed down during the previews of this new experience to check it out.
From the themed bar you head through the doors and into another world where your story begins. Together with your team, you will head into several rooms as you experience The War of the World’s storyline plays out with you right in the centre of the action. Expect a mixture of practical effects, live actors, VR and lots more to bring it to life. It’s got an all-star cast featuring many performers from the stage show including Carrie Hope Fletcher and it takes you to many scenes from the hit musical including the Observatory, Carrie’s House and Horsel common.
If you don’t already know The War of the Worlds musical then following the storyline’s intricacies may be a bit confusing, however the basics should still be easy enough to follow in this version. It relies heavily on tech which unfortunately is its downfall. The VR technology isn’t up to scratch, it appears basic at times and often broke. Now it is important to mention again that this is a preview so here is a chance that some of this could be fixed but during my show twice the sound only worked on one side and froze at various points and during one scene the VR didn’t work for me at all. However the use of VR within the real-world sets and with the addition of being able to physically move with them on as a team has some great potential. Currently, however, my favourite scenes were actually the ones that were the lowest tech but used what it had to full effects using soundscapes and full-screen videos.
There was a lot of pauses and time filing by the actors as they work on their timings but this should all tighten up before official opening. There is also a themed bar at the start and halfway through the experience to refresh yourself for the rest of your journey. Expect to climb, crawl and slide on this adventure.
On the whole, this is a great idea still in need of work, but I am confident it will approve by opening night. There are times when you look at the sets and effects in true awe and amazement and really get swept away in the story and music.
The performance lasts a total of 110 minutes and tickets start from £49.50 and it is available to experience until the end of August.
Tickets were provided by Love Popup’s London in exchange for a review