War-of-the-Worlds_349

Audio Drama Review: “War of the Worlds”

By H.G. Wells, Radio play adapted by Orson Welles

A full cast audio performance

Produced by L.A. Theatre Works

Total Running Time 77 Minutes

 

Okay are you ready for a full on nerdgasm?  This one is it.  L.A. Theatre works distributed free copies of this audio drama on Halloween this year.  I have always been a fan of the Orson Welles dramatization of the H.G. Wells classic space invasion story.  I also am a big fan of the audio dramas produced by L.A. Theatre Works, I have listened to many of their classic stage performances turned audio and every single one is the perfect production from stage to audio that when listening you feel as though you are in the center of the audience.

 

But what got me the most, and this is where the nerdgasm comes in, was the cast of this production.  This production stars; John de Lancie,  Gates McFadden, Leonard Nimoy,  Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton , Tom Virtue,  Jerry Hardin,  Megan Fay and Daryl Schultz.  It is directed by John de Lancie and Recorded before a live audience at Guest Quarters Suites, Santa Monica, CA in October, 1994.  So yes all you Star Trek fans get a supreme dose of actors from the series and a great sci-fi production.

 

The radio adaptation of this story has an intriguing history.  When Orson Wells first performed the adaptation on Halloween 1938, even after several announcements that it was a dramatization, many of the audience thought the Martian invasion was real and panic ensued.  I have listened to the original recordings several times and while I find it hard to figure out why the broadcast was taken as reality, I have to admit the adaptation is drama at its best.

 

Any Star Trek fan knows how talented these actors are, and bringing them together in a sci-fi production is just perfect.  It’s amazing picking out the voices but what is more amazing is how they all meld together as a cast and bring this drama to life.  Each actor is definitely convincing in their role in this program and their camaraderie is apparent when the production absorbs you and you stop listening to them as characters from Star Trek, but rather characters that are involved in an invasion from Mars.

 

The production is presented as a radio performance with news breaks reporting first explosions on the planet mars then strange objects landing in the U.S.A.  With a roving report on the scene at an observatory and then later being vaporized (spoilers) at the landing site of one of the vessels, the action and actors present the story in little breaks between musical radio broadcasts.

 

Just over an hour of your time will be taken but that time is well spent listening to this classic performed by epic sci-fi actors.

 

 

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