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REVIEW: "The War of the Worlds - The Lux Radio Play" - New Farm Nash Theatre presents: A Night of Science Fiction

Embarking on my first venture into the realm of radio theatre, I felt like a curious explorer discovering a forgotten treasure trove of storytelling. As a millennial with no prior exposure to this vintage art form, I was both intrigued and excited by the prospect of experiencing a performance that relied solely on the power of sound to ignite the imagination. Originating in the 1920s, radio plays swiftly rose to prominence as a leading form of international entertainment by the 1940-50s, captivating audiences at home with their immersive storytelling. 

Presented by New Farm Nash Theatre, "The War of the Worlds - The Lux Radio Play" offered an immersive journey into the world of science fiction. The cast was brilliantly chosen, showcasing versatile talent that transported viewers back to 1955 from the moment they stepped on stage. Each cast member embodied their multiple roles with aplomb. The flawless execution of Hollywood's transatlantic accent, particularly from Ella Bromback, added an authentic touch, complemented by exquisite emerald green period costumes that evoked the glamour of the era.

The evening began with "The Day the Earth Stepped Sideways," a comedic play exploring the whimsical concept of traversing alternate universes, similar to that of ‘The Midnight Library’, ‘Rick and Morty’, and ‘Loki’ for my younger readers. The comedic banter was sharp and witty, effortlessly eliciting laughter from the audience. The play explored themes of mother-son dynamics, the pursuit of knowledge, and the unpredictable nature of choice. Each moment presented an opportunity for characters to venture down new paths, continually stepping sideways into a myriad of bizarre and amusing realities, from a whimsical land where communication with birds reigns supreme, to a world where rhyming is the language of the day, to a chase scene through a tap-dancing society. 

Interspersed with real radio advertisements for 'Lux' products from 1955, we transitioned smoothly into "The War of the Worlds," based on the classic 1953 film, where the audience found themselves thrust into the midst of a Martian invasion. For me, some standout performances were John Mann's commanding presence, Petra Donnison's flawless execution of multiple accents, and Lara Latham's embodiment of every character they portrayed. 

One of the production's most impressive features was its use of sound effects, masterfully crafted by the skilled foley artists stationed at the back of the stage: Rob Crook, Hazel Newman, and Mark Corben. With a myriad of physical objects at their disposal, from metal sheets and fake doors to balloons and rubber gloves, they brought the auditory landscape to life with remarkable precision. Personally, I momentarily closed my eyes to immerse myself fully in the auditory journey, vividly envisioning each scene with remarkable clarity, despite never having seen the 1953 film.

“The Lux Radio Play" is a captivating homage to the golden age of radio drama, skilfully brought to life by New Farm Nash Theatre. With its impeccable performances, ingenious sound effects, and nostalgic charm, this production is a must-see for aficionados of timeless storytelling.



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