Richard Burton’s disembodied head stars in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds at the O2

AN 11ft high 3D hologram of Richard Burton’s head and a three tonne, 35ft high martian fighting machine will join Jason Donovan, X-Factor reject Rhidian, Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon and The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward to star in Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds live on stage at the O2 on Sunday.

Burton’s head will play the visual role of journalist George Herbert while Hayward will provide his singing voice, a role he’s played in previous performances of the ambitious stage adaptation, and Wayne himself will conduct the 10-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings.

Donovan takes the role of The Artilleryman and McClarnon will play Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s wife.

An 11-foot high 3D photo-real floating hologram of Richard Burton, In Sight and Sound, as George Herbert, The Journalist

The production aims to immerse the audience in the atmosphere of world invasion by scanning them with the martian machine’s bug-like laser eyes and confronting them with a 100ft by 25ft screen projecting a two hour, CGI-animated movie in sync with the show and its live performances as well as pyrotechnics and flame effects which organisers hope will add new dimension to the unfolding of HG Wells’ visionary story.


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Wayne’s album, originally released in June 1978, features a blend of prog rock, electronic instrumentation and classical orchestration, as well as narration by the now sadly deceased Richard Burton, hence the giant holographic head.

The album has enjoyed huge success and critical acclaim across the globe with some 15 million records sold, spending more than 330 weeks in the UK Album Chart.

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It has also won two prestigious UK Ivor Novello Awards, and the US Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy - the judges having included Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

The War of The Worlds is at the O2 from 8pm on Sunday. tickets cost from �48.75-�67.25 from www.theo2.co.uk

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