Past Production - 'The Martians Came to Trelissick Garden!'

No one would have believed, in the last months of 2008, that it would have been possible to stage this unique production at Trelissick Garden. No one could have dreamed that Jeff Wayne would have given permission for his iconic musical to be performed by a Cornish Amateur Dramatic Group. Few men even considered the possibility of staging such a project and yet, over the last twelve months, minds immeasurably imaginative regarded this production with creative eyes, and slowly and surely, put the show together.

Thanks to the vision of Chris Curtis and The National Trust, Trelissick Garden was the unique venue for the premiere by a Cornish company of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of ‘The War of The Worlds’. The commanding panoramic views of Falmouth, the Fal estuary and the open sea coupled with the superb collection of tender and exotic plants and extensive park, woodland and riverside walks made this a day to remember.

With an ensemble of over thirty actors, eight principal performers, acrobats, dancers, singers, and a Martian Fighting Machine it was an epic production. The story, based on the HG Wells novel, was acted out on the specially commissioned outdoor stage accompanied by a feast of lighting and pyrotechnics, which was enveloped by the eight piece band whose task was to bring the music to life.

Featuring the hit singles ‘Forever Autumn’, ‘The Eve of The War’ and ‘The Spirit of Man’ Jeff Wayne’s musical version of ‘The War of The Worlds’ is one of the best known albums in the world. Having recently celebrated its 30th anniversary an official tour has taken the musical to Holland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the length and breadth of the UK and now – under licence to the Carnon Downs Drama Group – to Feock, near Truro, in Cornwall!

Reviews - what was said by . . .

What the audience said…

”I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic but wow, was I proved wrong. Number one was the venue absolutely beautiful and the production was fantastic. The band, the actors, outfits and singing was all brilliant….”

“Just wanted to say how much we thoroughly enjoyed your performance last night, it went well beyond what I was expecting! From the wonderful singers to the amazing outfits and the dancers were so good. Everyone is talking about it here at work, how much they enjoyed the performance and especially how great the music was. We are just so thrilled for you all on your success.”

“I just wanted to congratulate you on a wonderful show. I thought the band were superb and the costumes were amazing. All the singers had such different qualities in their voices and they executed their songs well. The scenery was very clever as was the lighting. Please pass on my congratulations."

What the press said…

Truro Theatre Review ~ Chris Wasey ~ September 22, 2010

“…Recently I took the chance to broaden my horizons with some local am dram; the Carnon Downs Drama Group production of Jeff Wayne’s musical, War of The World’s, at Trelissick Gardens. What I encountered was a production that was wonderful and exciting – despite being ever so slightly damp! An audience of several hundred people braved the weather… The direction was creative, making good use of the vast space around the set… Exceptional attention to detail on the period clothing, 12 feet Martian walkers with flashing eyes and flash of pyrotechnics near the end (which nearly knocked us all off our chairs) gave a sense of scale far beyond what would normally be expected of an am drama group. The entire cast gave strong performances…”

Cornish Guardian ~ Lee Trewhela ~ September 15, 2010 “All’s Well that ends well”

“Has an amateur drama group in Cornwall ever tackled such an ambitious project? Staging Jeff Wayne’s much-loved “rock opera” version of HG Wells classic, was always going to be tough…
With an eight-piece band, a cast of almost 50 and even three Martian fighting machines, Carnon Downs Drama Group had a damn good stab at it last week.
With a clear sky full of stars as a fitting backdrop, the outdoor environment of Trelissick was a suitable atmospheric setting for the production, complete with eerie caws coming from the trees above.
The action centred on a 43ft bridge, which also doubled as a steamer. The Journalist’s Victorian house and, as the Martian invasion took hold, said fighting machines and their glowing eyes.
Directors Elaine Gummow and Linda Barker used the extras to good effect, giving the appearance of bustling Victorian streets as the Sung Thoughts Of he Journalist (Julian Eley) provided the drama. Julian was in great voice on a superb version of the “hit” Forever Autumn.
There was some excellent support from Michael Williams as crazed Parson Nathaniel, EilyTatlow as his wife Beth and Joshua Rogers as The Artilleryman.
Peter Gummow provided the narration – he looked the part but lacked the dramatic stentorian tones of Richard Burton. But how do you compete with one of Britain’s greatest ever actors? The real stars of the show were the band who faithfully recreated the music to excellent effect.
Musically the show worked brilliantly though I’m not sure it was such a hit theatrically, but hats off to the group for putting in such effort and providing an enjoyable and different night out…”

Cornwall Drama Association ~ Margaret Cortis and Sally Robinson ~ September 08, 2010

“… Thank you, Carnon Downs, for an unforgettable evening under the stars...”

- Download the CDA Critique

And there’s more –

National Operatic and Drama Association NODA ~ Kathy West ~ June 2011

“I am delighted to inform you that Carnon Downs Drama Group have been awarded the Regional Award for Excellence for District 2 for your productionof War of the Worlds at Trelissick.

On 25th July 2011, Elaine and Linda attended the NODA awards ceremony where they were duly presented with the award. See the pictures on our NEWS page.

But finally…

A few words from the CDDG chair ~ Aline Turner

The War of the Worlds was a great experience to be involved with. The dedication, professionalism and sheer hard work of the production team resulted in a superb show that has put CDDG in the forefront of amateur drama groups in the county. The fact that 1300 people saw the production meant that CDDG has been exposed to a whole new audience for our future shows. We owe all the production team and cast a huge debt of gratitude and respect, particularly Elaine Gummow, Linda and Paul Barker.”

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