The Orson Welles radio controversy was way before my time, but I had heard about it. For those of you who haven’t, Orson Welles produced a radio broadcast of H.G Wells’ novel, ‘The War of The Worlds’, that led people to believe that aliens had invaded causing a mass panic that everyone involved at the time denies knowing would happen.
This physical theatre adaptation pulls from this story from 1938, the time of the original broadcast, and uses it as a benchmark for the introduction of fake news and the influence that it holds. It explores the relationship between the truth, the power of the outright implausible and its effect on real people’s lives.
The story follows a young podcaster in pursuit of the truth about what happened to her neighbour; an elderly lady who it’s believed was abandoned by her family because they believed that aliens had actually invaded. She travels to where it all happened, a small town in New Jersey, where her presence rakes up a forgotten past and impacts the lives of a broken family.
This fascinating adaptation is unique, relevant and thought-provoking. The acting in the show was on top form. Each of the four actors played multiple characters with multiple accents and it was executed brilliantly. Forth at the Pleasance Courtyard was sold out and people, although some not knowing what to really expect, where pleasantly surprised by how sophisticated and well-crafted the performance was.
We would all like to think that we would never have been taken in by something so unbelievable but there is something on everyone’s Google search history that proves otherwise. This play explores that with great empathy and speaks to human nature in a way that makes you think. The show forces you take a look at how far we’ve come as a society but how that progress is nothing more than finding new ways to execute the same things that fuel and build the momentum that surrounds these fake events that result in real-life consequences.
‘The War of the Worlds’ is one of a kind and is very much worth heading over to Forth at The Pleasance Courtyard, for an hour and twenty minutes of stimulating theatre with a purpose.