Special Events / Review

Inside Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds experience

Here's what visitors can expect from London's immersive experience.

Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience is now open at London’s The Spirit of Man, located a short walk from Aldgate, Tower Hill, Liverpool Street and Monument on the edge of the City.

Based on Jeff Wayne’s iconic 1978 album release, itself a retelling of H.G. Wells story of martian invasion, the innovative immersive experience transports visitors into the heart of the attack.

Inviting groups (maximum twelve) through an unassuming door towards the back of the welcoming bar, the experience unfolds in a seemingly endless maze of rooms and corridors, each presenting a snapshot of love, hope, war and horror.

Following an early introduction to reoccurring protagonists George Herbert and his fiancee Carrie, actors guide visitors through their subsequent separation and search for reunion following the invasion by large metallic aliens. Early highlights include lurking shadows in an eerie dining room, and a curious astronomer bested by one of the martian beasts.

The experience utilises state of the art blend of virtual and augmented reality for some of the most breathtaking moments, not least an ultimately misguided boat trip to safety across the English channel set to Jeff Wayne’s ’80s infused rousing soundtrack.

Much like the twisting tale of romance and war, Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience switches at ease from the fanciful to the desolate. A quick trip to the bar (acting as a short interval) is followed by a sobering visit to a graveyard and a confessional gone-wrong. Clambering through windows, down spiral staircases and through narrow tunnels, the experience envelops as visitors are plunged further into the chaos.

As with creators dotdotdot’s previous work, SOMNAI, the immersive experience balances brilliantly between the claustrophobic and the awe-inspiring. Nightmares give way to soaring landscapes and the characters met along the way delight, from injured resistance members to terrified maids and remarkably upbeat sewer-dwellers.

Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience fragments reality with ease. The actors effortlessly remain in character, remarkable when often met with unexpected responses from visiting groups, pulling together the deliberately disorienting mix of theatre and technology with their sheer enthusiasm. Rightfully, the created world is a far cry from the bustling London streets immediately outside.

Invoking an adrenaline-fuelled blend of awe, excitement and (at times) terror, dotdotdot have once again created an experience that truly needs to be experienced to be believed. Taking a step back in time to a fictional past filled with love, loss and destruction, martian warfare has never felt so exhilarating.

Tickets for Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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