Have you wondered if HG Wells’ classic science fiction novel could be adapted on stage by a single man? Well maybe you haven’t, but telling a 300-page story about Martians invading the Earth sounds like no easy feat. Nevertheless, comedian Tom Fox has managed it, with his new show War of the Worlds (On a Budget), which is brimming with humour and inventiveness. And on a very small budget, no less!
You know the story. The Martians, whose resources are dwindling, plot an invasion of Earth. They send down a tripod and attack the planet, all of which is observed by The Narrator (a man from Surrey) and his wife.
The story is told through monologue, original songs, and props that look like something Blue Peter would show you how to make. Fox plays ‘Mars’ by putting a red toilet seat on his head. Toilet roll on a long string pulled by an audience member is used to represent the spaceship’s collision with earth.
He was not lying when he said that the show is on a budget, but it’s all very creative and adds to the charm of the show, and such a variety of props is used that it never gets old.
A big part of the show is Becky Owen-Fisher, Fox’s manager, stage technician, and narrator, who is constantly pushing for more fleshed-out female characters whilst the show is being performed. This sounds like it ought to be a bit ‘hat-on-a-hat’, but ends up being the funniest part of the show and adds dimensions to it.
A couple of the songs illicit some laughter too, though most of the time it gets in the way of the pacing a little. Overall, War of the Worlds (On a Budget) is a really funny, inventive show with the scope to apply the format to other low-budget adaptations of other works. I can’t wait to see what they will do next.