Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Friday 30 April 2021

Halted By The Pandemic The Aliens Fight Back In Worthing As Part Of Brighton Festival 2021

Multi-award winning theatre ensemble Rhum and Clay are bringing their latest critically acclaimed production, The War Of The Worlds, to Worthing this May.

The show will be at the Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 20 May - Saturday 22 May, a chance to see live theatre return to stage in Worthing as part of Brighton Festival 2021.

"No one would have believed, in the last years of the 19th century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space...."

But we did believe. We believed that Martians landed in New Jersey. We believed a water tower was an alien war machine. We believed a man walked on the moon. Perhaps we will believe anything .. everything.

Almost 80 years to the day since the original broadcast of Orson Welles classic radio play was reported to have caused widespread panic in its listeners- this legendary icon of science fiction is reimagined for our era of  deliberate disinformation, 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'. 

An era where mistrust and fear are routinely stoked by the purveyors of 'news' and the truth has become an ever-harder concept to identify. 

The War of the Worlds slips between 20th and 21st century lives and listeners as if moving the dial on a radio: atmospheric and disorienting.

Rhum and Clay are renowned for the humour and physicality of their productions as well as their ability to create beautiful, visually textured on-stage worlds.  

They are joined here by Isley Lynn, writer of the extraordinary sexual odyssey Skin a Cat, currently being adapted for television.

Her powerful contemporary voice offers a welcome counterpoint to a story that originated in the male-dominated society of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The War of the Worlds explores our inability to separate fact from fiction and our active complicity in the process of being hoodwinked: lies dressed as truth and truth presented as fiction. But even fake events cause real reactions. 

With references ranging from H.G Wells and Orson Welles via Jeff Wayne and a nod to Tom Cruise, this intense, unsettling and raucously entertaining reinvention of the original alien invasion myth shows that in the darkest of times, the truth is a very precious commodity.

CEO Amanda O"reilly says: 

"We will continue to prioritise the safety of our audiences and cannot wait to open our doors and welcome you back into the buildings for a live socially distanced theatre this May."

Brighton Festival will be returning with a celebration of art and culture from 1 May 2021 with guest director, the poet, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE. 

The festival includes digital and in person work with a diverses programme including visual art and installation, classical to contemporary music, theatre and comedy, film and literature. 

The full programme is available to view at, and will be on general sale from Wednesday 7 April 2021.  

Lemn Sissay, Brighton Festival 2021 Guest Director says: 

"The last year has been incredibly challenging for so many people and in so many different ways. 

"We say the arts bring people together, but we also mean that through the wonder of the arts our minds and hearts can come together." 

There will be a performance with a British Sign Language interpreter on Saturday 22 May, 2:30pm. 

For more information and to book tickets for The War Of The Worlds please visit or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206206.

by: Mike Cobley


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Credit P Fewster

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Credit Imperial War Museum

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Credit Steph Wilson

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Credit Matt Crockett 2021

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