JULY 31st - 26th AUGUST

War of the Worlds Poster copy.jpg

“No one would have believed in the early years of the twentieth century
that this world was being watched...” 

But they did believe.

They believed that martians landed in New Jersey. They believed a water tower was an alien war machine. They believed a man walked on the moon. They believed everything the internet trolls told them...

Written in collaboration with playwright Isley Lynn and inspired by Orson Welles' famous radio broadcast and H.G. Wells’ sci-fi novel, The War of the Worlds wrestles with the boundaries of truth in a thrilling broadcast of the end of the world.


New Diorama, London

What makes the show remarkable – big beyond its length, size and means – is the way it builds in the course of the evening, moving through concentric circles of doubt. Who is the real Welles on stage, when there are four pipe-puffing claimants, none of them spherical and not all of them male? Did the broadcast really provoke widespread hysteria? How can we know when our sources of information so often lie to us?
Susannah Clapp

Even the title both tells the truth but also slyly misleads. Because what is under scrutiny here is not just the broadcast and the myths surrounding it, but also the current info wars on the internet.
Tightly scripted by Isley Lynn (who wrote the excellent Skin a Cat) and devised by the company … There is a lot going on in 80 gripping minutes in which there are no less than four Orson Welles, and which constantly questions not just the nature of the truth but how some find the means to exploit it for personal or financial gain. Not to mention, how everyone is committed to their own particular version of the truth. That is very much the case within families where one person's truth is another's myth.
The evening delivers plenty of theatrical punches and plays lightly on the idea of theatre as a lie as it reminds how truth depends on who is telling it and why, how new technologies change the game, and how susceptible we remain to manipulation, particularly at times when the world seems an uncertain and frightening place.
Lyn Gardner

A genuinely excellent play which brilliantly mucks about with objectivity, meaning and media.
Truth, in this play, is a slippery concept … this is a story about fictions, built on fictions, perpetuating fictions. It's simultaneously honest about its disputed source material, and ambiguous with what it all means; the play challenges us to be objective, when its story is anything but. And it ties all this - brilliantly - into an exploration of our post-truth, fake news culture. The play is built around a central conceit: the stories we tell ourselves are central to our worldview. What we choose to believe, where we choose to locate meaning, reinforces who we are, what we stand for. But when does fiction override, or even subjugate fact? When we choose to accept a story on whether it appeals to our instincts, prejudices or opinions, regardless of its basis in fact, how do we discern between truth and lies? When we have leaders and policies that galvanise through fear and divide via suspicion - and the play doesn't obfuscate over where it's aiming these particular thought grenades - how do we engage in meaningful social discourse? What starts off as an amusing amble into a seemingly innocent age of wholesome entertainment quickly becomes a clever discussion of how, where and why we should spend our trust and place our faith. Positioning the original radio play as an artistic factualising of fiction, Rhum and Clay follow the curve of this logic to arrive at the industrial fictionalising of fact.
It's also - and I cannot stress this enough - bags upon bags of fun … The performances are fluid, engaging and amusing, the writing is clear, surprising and resonant. There's plenty to enjoy here, in a show that is as inventive with its theatricality as it is with the notion of truth. The play exploits its dramatic medium as judiciously as Welles did with radio; the entire stage is active, and we never quite know what is coming next, or where from.
Ian Farnell

Photos by The Other Richard

Directed by Hamish McDougall and Julian Spooner
Movement by Matthew Wells
Design by Bethany Wells
Sound Design by Ben Grant
Lighting Design by Nick Flintoff and Pete Maxley
Producer Hannah Tookey

Deft and ingenious … a fast and clever show
Michael Billington

A smart, engagingly layered show that intelligently explores the faith people place in the media and the relationship between facts and the human need to tell stories. Lynn digs into the disinformation industry and the way in which click-driven ‘news’ content is created, the way conspiracy theories spread and mutate, and the effect they can have on people’s worldview and their politics; she also reworks Welles’ broadcast for the iPhone age, with people staring at their devices for updates as news of the invasion spreads.
Natasha Tripney

The overall premise is just juicy – how far does a medium of communication affect our ability to believe a fabrication? If something is tweeted, or published on a seemingly real news site, or played out over the radio, or listened to on a podcast, why are we naturally inclined to trust its accuracy? The show may be more of a war of words than a war of the worlds but it's all the better for it – Liam Neeson can keep his hologram.
Alex Wood

his production could be Donald’s hallucinated fever dream version of A Christmas Carol; it’s a fast-paced tour of fake news of the past, present and future, guided by an otherworldly ensemble of mischievous shapeshifters.
The company, in collaboration with playwright Isley Lynn, do a brilliant job.
Henry Gleaden

Cleverly-worked, entertaining and wholly enjoyable … a polished and inventive reworking of H.G. Wells' original concept providing an intelligent examination of how human beings can (sometimes) willingly set themselves up as 'victims' of fake news and potentially encourage exploitation.
Peter Brown

Both enjoyable and thought-provoking. I’ve often clicked on a headline that screamed out about some exciting and highly improbable story. I consider myself fairly savvy about fake news and I have always believed the stories of mass hysteria and suicides when the play was originally broadcast, but it turns out that may not be as true as I thought and if a simple thing like that turns out to be false then what does that mean for everything else that is presented as news?
Terry Eastham

Joyous to behold … a theatrical experience of such bold acuteness and physical invention it leaves you constantly on the edge of your seat.
It’s a dangerous world out there but this engaging, entertaining and brilliant War of the Worlds couldn’t come at a better time as a reminder to practise caution and scepticism before buying into any hyped up scenario. Required viewing. Don’t miss!
Carole Woddis

this is a smart, physical performance that provokes critical reflection on our need for good stories and the desire for them to be true. … its politics are undeniable. Its call for us to question the news and the stories we absorb, as well as criticising the fake news machine and the ad revenue behind it, combined with compelling staging and polished production values to make this a perfect play for our troubled times.
Laura Kressly

A smart, teasing homage to Orson Welles’s ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast and its legacy … as a smartly ambivalent homage to the golden age of the radio and the part myths play in our lives, it’s a winner.
Andrzej Lukowski

A fine new play invades the New Diorama Theatre. Isley Lynn’s The War of the Worlds takes a deeper look at the famous Orson Welles radio broadcast from 1938 and connects it to what’s happening in the world 80 years later … a gripping edge-of-your-seat atmosphere throughout.
Jim Compton-Hall

An unexpectedly insightful way of exploring contemporary concerns about fake news and political paranoia. Rhum and Clay have successfully given an oft-told story a new sense of relevance … entertaining, insightful, and above all an effective immersion into a sinister and intriguing world – one that is far closer than we think.
Harriet Corke

Slick and otherworldly … As long as there continues to be media, The War of the Worlds will continue to be relevant reminding us all of how we too can be vulnerable to false information.
Roberta Wiafe

Rhum and Clay’s War of the Worlds weaves in and out of different time frames and narratives as if moving the dial on a radio – it’s atmospheric, physical, exciting and disorienting.
Victoria Purcell

Isley Lynn’s play is a clever exploration of the enduring fascination of sci-fi, conspiracy theories and the thin line between imagination and reality. It’s also a salutary warning against the ubiquity of fake news.
The parallels between HG Wells’ classic, Welles’ thrilling adaption and new media are perceptively teased out.
Lucy Popescu

The way that the show subverts expectations and brings into focus the importance of telling people’s own stories – as opposed to ‘what sells’ ­– is as refreshing as it is timely.
Michael davies

You would think a play about a radio broadcast and alien invasion in a small town in the US is irrelevant to our life and times but the play manages to do a fantastic job of bringing this world close to 2019 and our time of fake news, social media and information wars. The medium may have evolved from radio to blogs and podcasting but the basic premise remains the same – information is power and whoever controls the dissemination of information has power. … an effortless watch as well as being a thought provoking one.
Anisha Kohli

Trust me, it’s no fake news to say that you should see this show.
Edward Lukes

North Wall, Oxford

Fact collides with fiction – and we’re never sure which is which – in Rhum & Clay’s bold riff on the classic HG Wells tale The War of the Worlds … This beautifully composed production, featuring just four actors, takes us from that dramatic broadcast to the present day, on the trail of a mystery which divided a family, all dated back to the fateful broadcast. What unfurls is a series of Russian doll-like shells of truths and lies stretching back into time and brought into sharp focus into the present day – with Trump, ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories. Mona Goodwin, Julian Spooner, Amalia Vitale and Matthew Wells take on all roles in a kinetic display which leaves us reeling. Delivery is punchy and movement beautifully choreographed with dancers’ grace. It is fast-paced and noisy, yet interspersed with moments of uneasy calm and realisation. It’s funny and unsettling and inevitably leaves us questioning our own gullibility. A triumph then, and well worth seeing. Believe me!
Tim Hughes