War of the Worlds (On A Budget) – Union Theatre, London

Reviewer: Mike Wells

Devised by the company

Directors: Mercé Ribot and Richard Parnwell

In the marketing material, this show is pitched as the “musical comedy action adventure we didn’t know we needed” – and it turns out it may be just that.

The prospect of watching a one-man War of the Worlds on a budget is immediately inviting. As a concept it’s bonkers, but as a show it’s more so. Playing 20+ characters, Tom Fox is mesmerising. Whether it be creating a sci-fi soundscape with the help of nothing more than his voice and a loop pedal, or performing wacky choreography, he has a wild energy that is a constant from start to finish. However, beneath that wacky and wild exterior is an astute comic, keenly aware of how to work an audience.

The show applies a generous amount of artistic license to the original storyline and includes a number of original musical compositions, which are excellent. The story is set in an 18th/21st century hybrid place, which works very well. The only scene which doesn’t quite hit the mark is a skit inspired by partygate – not because it isn’t good, but because it doesn’t cover any ground that hasn’t been covered already in recent months/weeks.

The set looks like it’s been designed by a magician who specialises in terrible children’s birthday parties, and it’s perfect. There’s a plethora of ingeniously designed props and costumes, which, while low-budget, are certainly not low-impact.

Supporting the show is Becky Owen-Fisher, who plays the part of producer, stage manager, technician, and life coach to Tom. Her role in the first half is largely confined to voiceovers, but by the second we see her far more involved and by the end she’s on stage with Tom taking a well-earned bow of her own.

It is impossible to sit through this show without a smile on your face. If you don’t get chance to see the show while it’s in London, it will be touring a number of regional venues before a stint in Edinburgh in the summer.

Runs until 2 July 2022 and then tours

The Reviews Hub Score

Brilliantly bonkers

Show More
Photo of The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Back to top button