Review: LA Phil transplants “War of the Worlds” to L.A., with air-raid sirens and Sigourney Weaver

Posted on: November 21, 2017

“In October 1938, Orson Welles frightened parts of this nation with a radio adaptation, written by Howard Koch, of H.G. Wells’s late-Victorian novel ‘The War of the Worlds,’ ” writes David Mermelstein in Thursday’s (11/16) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “The New York-based composer Annie Gosfield and the L.A.-based director and theatrical provocateur Yuval Sharon … have revisited the material in collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the public-art organization Now Art and Mr. Sharon’s company, the Industry.” Performances were on November 12 and 18. “Their iteration … transplants the action from Koch’s Depression-era New York and New Jersey to current-day Los Angeles…. The amusing central conceit finds the audience gathered for a concert of Ms. Gosfield’s music, cheekily indebted to Holst’s ‘Planets,’ hosted by the actress Sigourney Weaver, appearing as herself…. Broadening the work’s scope are the three remote locations where related parts of the drama unfold simultaneously … within walking distance of Disney Hall and … all near decommissioned Cold War-era air-raid sirens that have been incorporated into the action.… Gosfield’s music, performed by the Philharmonic’s New Music Group and authoritatively conducted by Christopher Rountree, is an appealing pastiche that combines … industrial sounds … with more traditional forms.”

Posted November 21, 2017