Review: War of the Worlds at The Old Joint Stock

by Dave Massey

War of the Worlds at The Old Joint Stock

“When you enter the theatre you should put on the headphones placed on your seat and ensure the volume is turned up as high as possible, you will not be allowed to readmitted into the theatre if you choose to leave at any point.”

Already, I’m excited! I’m here to see a version of War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells 1897 story first serialised in Pearson Magazine. This version is being presented by West Midlands based Tin Robot Theatre.

The War of the Worlds photo by Dave Massey
The War of the Worlds photo by Dave Massey

We enter the theatre and see two tables Adam Carver, the operator, is on hand to ensure our headphones are all set up and working. We are placed in two sets of three rows on opposites ends of the space, facing each other. The lights go down and Pearson (Touwa Craig Dunn) is sat behind his desk doing something or other.

Pearson has a bunker, some sort of panic room, presumably near his home where he’s been working, he’s got an advanced Alexa/Google Home style voice software that takes today’s ideas about voice commands that extra bit further. Pearson’s wife has gone to look at a Mars passing somewhere in the region. She’s not back yet and a strange voice upload near where his wife is, makes him start to panic. He finds he can’t get in contact with his wife and now there’s this voice speaking to him.

I’ve never seen The War of the Worlds in any format but I’ve certainly read about it before, the hoax that panicked America, this was dark, atmospheric and certainly unsettling. I’ve never really considered where an Alien landing might take place, and I wonder why they’d bother to pick the UK anyway. Maybe they like a lot of rain and traffic.

A few voices, a table and several lamps are all Touwa Craig Dunn needed to help draw us into his world, he laughs with the unease of those Brummies on Jeremy Kyle, (laughing just because they are very nervous) or the ones that flash a huge smile as they finish telling their eye witness report on local news. They can’t quite comprehend what is happening.

War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds

Facing the other half of the audience, meant their faces were picked out by the lamps and this idea of us all crowding a man who is on his own was very intense.

I really enjoyed this and I think if you are looking for something a bit different this week you will be very lucky to grab one of the last tickets.

Check out War of the Worlds at The Old Joint Stock Theatre until Saturday 27th October. Book tickets here:

This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour saw War of the Worlds at the invitation of the The Old Joint Stock Theatre.