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Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama

An Audible Original Drama
Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (624 ratings)
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Immerse yourself in The War of The Worlds

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Listen to an immersive audio drama

The Eve of the War
  • The Eve of the War
Discovery of the Martians
The Eve of the War
  • The Eve of the War
Heat Ray
The Eve of the War
  • The Eve of the War
Opening

  • The Eve of the War
  • Discovery of the Martians
  • The Eve of the War
  • Heat Ray
  • The Eve of the War
  • Opening

Characters and cast

George, The Journalist, is our main narrator and lead character. George is a philosopher and is educated, resourceful, energetic and interested in everything. He is also one of the first to notice some oddities occurring on the Martian landscape and to make the correlation that the Martians are indeed launching an invasion. Despite the relative stoicism he displays throughout the story, prolonged exposure to the atrocities that the alien invaders inflict upon humanity however takes a serious toll on his sanity.

Michael Sheen spent much of his early career on the stage, with his performances in Amadeus and Look Back in Anger being nominated for Olivier Awards. Michael has become better known as a screen actor, in particular through his roles in various biopics such as Tony Blair in The Queen, as Kenneth Williams in BBC Four's Fantabulosa!, and David Frost in Frost/Nixon. In 2013, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Masters of Sex.
The unnamed Artilleryman was separated from the rest of his combat unit when he was unhorsed. Escaping the heat rays of the Martian war machines he wanders into the garden of The Journalist. When the danger escalates and they need to escape, his military training, caution, and prudence prove to be exceedingly useful in their survival across the battle ravaged landscape.

Taron Egerton rose to fame thanks to his roles in films such as Kingsman: The Secret Service and the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle Taron has starred as the title role in Eddie the Eagle, and showed off his musical prowess in the animated film Sing. Taron also plays the title role in the 2018 film Robin Hood.
The Parson is a cowardly, highly strung, weak-willed character, who, much like The Artilleryman, remains unnamed for the duration of novel. This is a man struggling to reconcile his religion with the terrible events of the invasion and he differs with the Journalist constantly, often refusing to comply with sensible requests such as rationing supplies or behave sensibly when the need for calm is paramount. Despite this though he refuses to part with The Journalist.

Theo James rose to fame in the The Divergent Series film trilogy. Some of Theo’s credits include the crime-drama series Golden Boy as well as the films Underworld: Awakening and Underworld: Blood Wars. He starred as Will Younger in the Netflix Original film, How It Ends.
In Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds: The Musical Drama, Carrie, who is married to The Journalist is a more prominent character than in HG Well’s novel. After Carrie goes to stay with relations in Leatherhead, The Journalist’s movements, bearing and reasons for doing things are spurred on by his concern for her. Carrie becomes the main narrator and lead character for two episodes of the story.

Anna-Marie Wayne was born on the day Jeff Wayne's album, The War of the Worlds, entered the music charts. Anna-Marie has appeared on film, TV, radio and stage but The War of the Worlds fans will recognise her from Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War Of The Worlds, Alive On Stage, in which she plays Carrie opposite Liam Neeson.
Ogilvy, an eminent astronomer, is one of the first few to take notice of the Martians and he begins by investigating a meteor that turns out to be a Martian “cylinder” or transport tube, but he is initially skeptical of his findings.

Adrian Edmondson is perhaps best known for his comedic roles in the television series The Young Ones and Bottom, which he wrote together with his long-time collaborative partner Rik Mayall. Adrian also appeared in The Comic Strip Presents... series of films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In the 2000s, he made numerous appearances on our TV screens and more recently has concentrated increasingly on music, forming a band, The Bad Shepherds, and performing and writing for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

Jeff Wayne

Michael Sheen

Taron Egerton

Adrian Edmonson

Anna-Marie Wayne

Theo James

Behind the scenes with the cast of Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds

Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton and Jeff Wayne on recording Audible's musical drama
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Summary

One of the world’s most recognisable sci-fi stories, H. G. Wells’ The War of The Worlds established numerous conventions for the genre, including the threat of an invasive extraterrestrial species, space travel and intergalactic conflict, inspiring directors, gamers, producers and writers alike with its sobering story of struggle and survival. 

Marrying the suspense, drama and urgency of Wells’ original novel with Jeff Wayne’s rousing and flamboyant score, Audible’s new and exclusive dramatisation uses action, narration, original music and evocative sound design to immerse listeners in a world that’s as thrilling as it is desolate. 

Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama stars Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Adrian Edmondson, Theo James and Anna-Marie Wayne. 

Also featuring: Rachel Atkins, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Josh Bond, Nicholas Boulton, Philip Bulcock, Jessica Dennis, Stephen Fletcher, Pete Gold, David Holt, Roger May, Harry Myers, Richard Reed, Mark Straker, Ben Whitehead and Sarah Whitehouse.

©2018 Music Masters: Sony Music Entertainment

©2018 Existing compositions: Universal Music Publishing Group, Jeff Wayne Music (Publishing) Ltd

©2018 Newly composed music: Jeff Wayne Music (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Martians through the ages

1897
HG Wells' novel The War of The Worlds is published and examines humanity’s struggle for survival in the face of an alien invader, drawing on themes of industrialisation, the expansion of the British Empire, and the relentless advance of technology.

1938
Orson Welles' adaptation of The War of The Worlds airs for CBS Radio and becomes infamous for the media frenzy it caused, with reports of deserted streets and listeners suffering heart attacks.

1976
After reading HG Wells’ novel just once Jeff Wayne is immediately entranced and sets about creating his musical interpretation.

1978
Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds is released in the UK on June 9th and becomes a worldwide success. The album has since gone on to sell more than 15 million copies and has charted in 22 countries.

2005
Steven Spielberg’s War of The Worlds film starring Tom Cruise releases.

2006
The War of The Worlds – Alive On Stage! launches in April, breaking box office records and winning huge critical acclaim. The biggest touring show on earth, the spectacular production is part live musical concert, part theatre, part multimedia, multi-sensory experience.

2012
After several years of planning, The War of The Worlds enters a brand new era in 2012, with the release of a double album and tour known as The New Generation.

2016
Forty years after first starting work on his musical interpretation of The War of The Worlds, the epic production is brought to life in London’s West End at the Dominion Theatre.

2018
To mark the 40th Anniversary of Jeff Wayne’s original album, Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Theo James, Adrian Edmondson and Anna-Marie Wayne bring to life HG Wells’ original story accompanied by Jeff’s epic, emotive and sensational score in the audio drama Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama.

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning Interpretation of Jeff Wayne's Classic!

If like me you still get a small frisson thinking of the words, No-one would have believed . . . they drew their plans against us, then put this right on your wish list! I can still remember the sheer awe I felt as a young lad when I started to listen to the cassette tapes I had received for my birthday and Burton's chilling opening words came out of the speakers like it was yesterday. Forty years on and this new version had me absolutely captivated from start to finish.

It's the same story, just completely remixed and with a lot of additional sound and detail. That sound is fantastic, like many of the great bands the bass is high in the mix giving it full expression and the use of stereo is superb. Definitely one to be listened to with quality headphones and preferably not in noisy areas to get the very best out of it. There are great riffs from that glorious score, thunderous explosions and more subtle sounds too. The overall soundscape is the best I have experienced in an Audible production.

The voice acting is top quality. Anna-Marie Wayne, who is Jeff's daughter of course, as Carrie and Michael Sheen as the journalist give outstanding performances and the supporting cast don't let them down by any stretch of the imagination.

I never thought that anything could match the original. This is different and stands in its own right but those forty years were suddenly a mere instant in time and I was transported back through the decades to that same feeling of excitement that the younger Simon felt. If you can, just don the headphones, turn off the lights, shut your eyes and crank up the volume!

Absolutely superb!

47 of 48 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

An amazing array of talent and very well put together. This is War of the Worlds as it should be heard.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Just brilliant

I love the classic version with Richard Burton but this is just brilliant with added dialogue it adds so much more to a classic
I downloaded the pre order as soon as it became available and listened in one sitting
I will be sure to listen to this book again
It is in my top 5 audio books

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant Jeff Wayne does it again!!

I hope Jeff Wayne never gives up with his adaptations of his wonderful classic. What a cast as well. Michael Sheen sounds very much like the late great Richard Burton. Brilliant cast. I wonder if Jeff Wayne had a hand in choosing them also. JUST BRILLIANT!! Highly Recommended

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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enjoyable

Thoroughly enjoyed it, listen from beginning to end, made my morning go faster at work

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
  • 29-11-18

Absolutely Sublime

Finally we have a deeper insight into this classic story. I have loved the War of the Worlds since i was a child and have owned the original album on every new medim as it was released. The story is very well told and the performances are exelant. A fantastic old story told in a brave new way.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Gripping way to listen to H. G. Wells classic

Jeff Wayne's The Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is a classic and must hear musical now this Musical Drama accompanies The Musical Version very well, I found it very gripping and at the end found I wanted more. The Musical Drama has the great instrumental music from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version along with great sound effects and audio acting. A gripping new way to tell the classic H.G. Wells story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Oooo Laaaa

If you like the original musical version by Jeff Wayne, then this is a must, the mix of Story, Drama and Music, is Nostalgic and brilliantly retold.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic!

I grew up listening to Jeff Wayne's original musical and this has so much from the original and so much of its own! Micheal Sheen is superb as the Narrator. I highly recommend this!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A fantastic surprise

The original Jeff Wayne version this is not. The songs aren’t there, but you can always go back and listen to the original or next generation for that. This is a dramatisation of the story underscored by the original versions music. The music has been updated somewhat and sounds amazing. I absolutely loved it and will be listening again very soon. Emotionally resonant and feels authentic to the period. Absolutely top class stuff.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Duncan
  • 30-11-18

Unexpected and Amazing

I grew up in the 80s and 90s listening to the Jeff Wayne musical of War of the World on vinyl as my dad was a fan of it from the very beginning. WotW has been a part of my life practically since I was born, and it is important to me as something I shared with my dad who passed away about 12 years ago. I found out about this shortly after waking up this morning, and I had purchased it before I even had time to realize what I was doing. I do not regret this decision. The story is great (even with the deviations from the original, which I actually quite enjoyed.) The acting is great. The music is great. I just wish my dad was still alive so he could listen to this.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 03-12-18

Wonderful production paired with a classic story.

I've loved Jeff Wayne's rendition of 'The War of the Worlds' ever since I was a kid. So once I heard of this audiobook I immediately had to get it. After listening to it in practically a single sitting I was not disappointed and was impressed with how this turned out

If you're thinking about getting this, please understand this is not an unabridged telling of H.G. Wells' classic, nor is this a complete recreation of Jeff Wayne's musical; It is it's own thing. While the story beats are identical, with just extremely minor changes to help make the audiobook flow better. The narrative here is classic and well put together, as to be expected judging from the source material.

As you can tell by the credits, there are a good deal of narrators, each playing individual characters from the novel, and each one does a spectacular performance. Michael Sheen does a jaw dropping job playing the main character (dubbed George in this rendition). You can feel the despair and loss as the story continues through his delivery. I was especially surprised with Anna-Marie Wayne's performance as George's wife. I wasn't familiar with her previous works but she blew it out of the water here. Everyone did a spectacular performance, and all the different characters were fun and interesting to listen to. Kudos all around.

Now, we get to Jeff Wayne himself. His music from the Next Generation version of the musical is used all throughout the book. Individual music queues, sound effects and references are used in the appropriate time in the story to add the appropriate atmosphere. When the main character is at Horsell Common and you've heard Jeff Wayne's musical before; you already know what is being played in the background. However this isn't a complete copy and paste from the musical. There is some original or remixed pieces of music created for this, and that variation did actually keep me more interested. Also there is no singing in the audiobook, which means no Spirit of Man, Thunder Child, Eve of the War or Forever Autumn. There are call backs to it, but... we don't get to hear Justin Hayward singing about how the winter winds will be much colder in this rendition.

I could go on about the sound design, and production quality, but this review is getting long enough as it is (I didn't mean to write an essay. Haha). If you can't tell, I absolutely adore this audiobook. It captures the fantastic story about an empire's fall that helped defined a genre, paired with the music we've loved so well. If you're a fan of the classic H.G. Wells' novel and have yet to listened to Jeff Wayne's musical, or if you're a fan of both. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. You won't be disappointed.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 01-12-18

HG Wells meets Jeff Wayne

A more or less full cast production of the novel set against the backdrop of Jeff Wayne's wonderful musical score. I have the original version of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Musical Drama, and at first I missed Richard Burton as the Voice of the Narrator, but Michael Sheen did a wonderful job, as did the rest of the cast. I felt I was there in several spots. Very well done, very much enjoyed, very highly recommended if you're looking for a one sitting listen. And even if you're not.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie Rosenberg
  • 06-12-18

Interesting adaptation

I thought this was an interesting adaptation of The War of the Worlds. I thought the narration was very good. I really liked Michael sheen’s narration and loved Theo James as the parson. While I enjoyed the music, I thought there were quite a few times where it went on for too long and it was much louder than the narration which was a bit annoying because I had to constantly adjust the volume. Overall, I did enjoy it though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Arin
  • 04-12-18

Updated War of the Worlds

A very interesting remix. I have long been a fan of Jeff Wayne’s musical and having his additions on music to the book was striking. Michael Sheen as the journalist was fantastic as was Taron Edgerton.

My biggest complaint was that the songs weren’t in this version, just the background and symphonic stuff. I kept breaking out into song when I expected the music to lead that way.

Weird to see the heat ray shifted away from the Ulla that I am familiar with, but I understand the change.

All told, well done!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GWhizYMe
  • 03-12-18

Beautifully Done

First, I have been a huge fan of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds since the original came out in 1978. I have collected nearly every version and format released since then, including the computer game.

This version is amazing. It focuses more on the drama instead of the music, but the music is still there and sounds as great as it ever did. This is a good thing as this is a drama and the music is the focus on all of the previous albums and concerts.

The performances are all top-notch.

This version really adds some great new elements to the story, as well as keeping of the best parts of the original.

As a huge fan of the original I absolutely loved this. If you have not ever heard the original, I would suggest that you should listen to it first. I believe that you might enjoy this more if you did. This is just a suggestion though; I think you will love this either way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris Mackowski
  • 09-12-18

Fantastic Artistry

What a delight to find this production. I stumbled across it accidentally and immediately had my curiosity piqued. I liked Wayne's original production, although it hasn't aged especially well, so I wondered how this version would sound. The update is magnificent. The production quality, sound effects, and narration are all top-notch, and the music feels urgent and contemporary. It's as though Wayne has spent the intervening years considering all the things he could do to perfect his original vision, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. I'm so pleased and impressed.

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  • Victor Sturgeon
  • 30-11-18

Best audio adaptation of the War of the Worlds

This is great. It has very much gone back to an adaptation closer to the book. Most Radio and audio dramatizations are very short being an hour or two long, this one is not overly shortened. The music, sound effects and acting is excellent. As for a Welsh actor, well, Richard Burton did OK in the original album and he was Welsh. Sheen is brilliant in this. Easily the best audio dramatization of this story ever, and I have them all. Multiple excellent BBC radio adaptations, independent radio, great audiobooks and even “the coming of the martians” with Colin Morgan funded on Kickstarter. This adaptation blows them all away, made better with the music we have known an loved since 1978. If you like War of the Worlds, and/or Jeff Wayne’s music, you will love this.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-11-18

Just heard the original two weeks ago!

This was great to listen to, especially after hearing the original one. It was great hearing a more detailed version but at the same time knowing the full songs from the original. Thoroughly enjoyable!

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  • Very Happy Customer
  • 29-11-18

It's different...

Less music and more story make for something different with plenty of callbacks. Still great.