Virtual reality technology, holograms and immersive theatre will plunge members of the public into Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds when a new production opens in London next month.
The 90-minute experience will also use augmented reality technology across two acts to bring the audience into the fictional intergalactic invasion of 1898, on the 40th anniversary of the album’s release.
Groups of up to 12 will be taken through a recreation of Horsell Common, the initial bridgehead of the Martian invasion, and protagonist George Herbert’s house.
They will then journey to London, encountering 300ft Martian fighting machines on the way.
The groups will then be placed in boats with motion simulators as they try to flee attacking Martians, and will get to feel the water and wind as they escape down the River Thames.
In the final scene the audience will fly hot air balloons over England and away from the turmoil below.
Composer Wayne partnered with dotdotdot, a company that creates what it calls layered reality, to re-imagine his 1978 musical interpretation of HG Wells’ story as theatre.
Due to open at the Old London Metal Exchange on May 31, the show will see audiences don virtual reality headsets as they enter the 22,000-square foot space.
Real and virtual actors will then guide them as they walk and crawl through scenes from the story, watching humanity rally against the Martian forces against the city backdrop.
New York-born Wayne had success writing commercial music for television shows and adverts before releasing the album, with narration by Richard Burton.
Tickets for Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds: The Immersive Experience are available now.