War of the Worlds at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

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YOU really can’t fault CCADS for their ambition as well as their courage.

For an amateur dramatic society to attempt to depict mankind’s battle for survival against Martian invasion on a stage may seem to be crazy.

But it kind of works.

This unique show was the area’s first authorised dramatic production of what we must contractually call ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds’ (Under Licence).

Theatrically it called for a lot of dance, mummery and walking around the stage wearing various expressions of terror. The cast cleverly spread their performances into the auditorium as they mingled with the audience.

Musically it could not have been better.

The Portsmouth-based drama company teamed up with young musicians from Chichester College under the leadership of Daf Hughes to perfectly recreate the score of Wayne’s hit 1978 rock album.

They did an excellent job, providing tension and excitement for the audience where the visuals flagged.

Narrator/Journalist Kevin Redfern started well with the famous words once spoken by Richard Burton, but, inexplicably, further narration was taped as Mr Redfern sat vacantly outside the action.

I only know that Pete Westmorland played the journalist’s younger self because I read it in the programme, but both sang well, particularly on Forever Autumn.

Standout performances also emerged from Matt Sackman as Parson Nathaniel and John-Paul McCrohon as a delusional artillery man.

The show was technically accomplished with impressive lighting effects, projections and pyrotechnics.

We even got to see a massive Martian tripod with glowing green eyes.

An impressive landmark for CCADS’ 20th anniversary, but maybe the next show they perform will be a bit more down to earth.