War of the Worlds is a one-man adaptation of Jeff Wayne’s classic prog-rock concept album from the 70s. Hence most of the small audience were people like me and my friend who look back on it with fondness (and probably a possessive desire to see the source material done justice).
Pip Utton makes a brave attempt to perform the tale, though three things (one not his fault) let this down.
Firstly, and here Mr Utton is blameless, is the source material itself. Try as he might, there is no way anyone could rival Richard Burton’s authoritative tones as the narrator, or the likes of David Essex of Justin Hayward.
Which leads into the second issue…yes, we knew it was an adaptation of the album, but maybe didn’t quite expect the actor to actually sing some of the vocal pieces himself. He just about pulled this off, but due to a vocal range that was fairly limited, there was always the potential for this to be toe-curling, which affected the whole performance.
Thirdly, although the technical achievement of performing this as a one-man show was impressive, there was a suspicion that Pip had consumed a few shandies prior to the performance, as he stumbled over more words than would have been within the threshold of expectation.
The chances of anyone bettering the source material are a million to one. But still they try…