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Bribane review - The War of the Worlds: funny and full of suspense.

By Lilian Harrington

 

Production: The War of the Worlds

By: Novelist H.G. Wells, /Film- script adaption George Pal.

The Day the World Stepped Sideways  

By:  Jay Edwards

Director: Jason Nash

Company: New Farm Nash Theatre

Location: 52 Merthyr St. New Farm

Season: 23 February - 23 March

 



Survival and conflict are usually key themes in Science Fiction and The War of the Worlds is no exception, described by director Jason Nash as “a hot chocolate with story asides”, it tells of a Martian invasion of Earth and of the humans who outwit them. The writer, and the 2 narrators/hosts, (John Mann, David Hill) ) believe that the human race is superior and society on Earth can remain in-tact despite ruthless alien attackers!  

Opening in a studio atmosphere,(re: the format of the 1950s), with live sound and raw action,  there is a certain authenticity played out as the actors enter on stage in a splash of green and black, (symbolically themed costumes),to perform the first of the evenings ”Radio Lux” scheduled program. The play is an adaptation from the 1950’s Paramount Picture Movie based on the original novel by H .G. Wells ( 1897), and directed by Jason Nash, to create an entertaining program full of sci.- fi thrills filled with suspenseful highs and  lows. 

There is some confusion at first because “Radio Lux” offers a program of not one but two 2 plays of Science Fiction, which means that the 11 actors and 3 Sound  Crew, have multiple roles and challenges to coordinate  e.g. using different accents, along with the Foley style essential sound effects, to help communicate the action.

 The program  opens with The  Day  the  Earth  Turned  Sideways, by  local  writer  Jay  Edwards;  this play is a love  letter to classic science fiction and it shows “a  beating  heart  and  soul  through  the  characters  and  their relationships,” it carries  a strong message. Although not obvious at the commencement that this was a planned part of the program it was well received.

Strong performances are shown from the lead character Helen Nesbitt  (Sandra Adsett),  mother  to daughter Shelley  Nesbitt ( Lara Latham), and 40 year old scientist Bobby  Nesbitt,  played by the accomplished (Matt McNeice); who spends his  time developing weird inventions, which alert the aliens,( intent on wiping out the Earth people); his protective mother becomes accidentally involved and is tracked by aliens, but in an unexpected twist, she becomes “ a  force’’ to be reckoned with; both she and Bobby are transported to other worlds along with an alien scout Clay Toohey  (David Hill), and undergo changes. In the commercial breaks Radio Lux host (John Mann), makes some dry commercial announcements on LUX Products, and on cue the responsive live audience Applaud  or acknowledge On Air.

The main event The War of the Worlds  from “Radio Lux ”  is an adapted script based on George  Pal‘s 1952 Paramount  Pictures  Production, which begins effectively with  Foley -styled sound effects from  the Sound Crew: (Rob Crook, Mark Corben and Hazel Newman); who along with Jason Nash  and  John Mann, have  engineered a very  creative and imaginative approach to the sound  design;  The live audience are kept continually entertained by the Sound Crew as they produce a variety of effects from man-made noises to common instruments. Staging and lighting is simple, with sound positioned upstage, actors mid-stage, moving downstage to the microphones on cue, where most cast used them in a realistic way. This strong cast worked well in unison, led by Sandra Adsett, Petra Donnison, Alex Thompson, and Ella Bromback, this production kept the large audience in a state of suspended belief. : This is a production all Sci -fi buffs shouldn’t miss, it’s funny and full of suspense.



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