A very British invasion

The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons invade UK theatres in this funny yet faithful new adaptation of H. G. Wells’ science fiction masterpiece, The War of the Worlds.

Audiences should prepare to look on in abject terror as a multi-talented cast of four use musical instruments, puppetry and, um, enthusiasm to recreate deadly heat-rays, giant fighting-machines, squidgy tentacled Martians and interplanetary warfare on an epic scale.

The chances of success? A million to one…

Prolific touring theatre company The Pantaloons have been getting a name for themselves with their uniquely charming and anarchic adaptations of literary works such as Pride and Prejudice, The Canterbury Tales, Gulliver’s Travels and Bleak House.

This new production of The War of the Worlds continues their tradition of funny, frantic and fast-paced versions of English Literature’s masterworks.

Adapter and co-Artistic Director of the company, Mark Hayward, explains that The Pantaloons want the show to be moving as well as amusing.

“This new adaptation is very faithful to the text,” he says, “which essentially tells the story of one man’s struggle to survive against impossible odds, driven by the hope of being reunited with his wife.

“The trick to not undermining the heart of a book, is to avoid sending up the text itself and instead focus on lampooning theatrical conventions.

“The joke should be about how hard it is to stage a full-blown alien invasion; then we can still tell a tale with pathos and all of H. G. Wells’ insight.

But the show will feature plenty of humour too, with nods to other classic works of science fiction, ingenious cost-saving ‘special’ effects, and plenty to say about terrestrial life in modern Britain.

“After all,” says Hayward, “this is a book in which the initial response from Londoners to the alien invasion is that really the authorities should have done more to keep the trains running on time!”

Oh, the inconvenience of it all…