Some top notch voices and a precision orchestra made a terrific attempt at a hugely ambitious production, Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, based on his concept album that went global in 1978. 

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, he said - the words from Eve of War resounded ominously around the theatre in the famous piece of music with its distinctive double bass howl.

When Jeff Wayne first created the stage version of his album it was a massive mix of multi media including film footage, full live orchestra, a huge lighting rig, virtual reality, holograms and pyrotechnics. So, the Invitation Theatre, by simple logistics, had a huge job in scaling the show to suit touring theatres.

There were a few grumbles from the audience about the lack of video footage, but for me The Fulltone Orchestra, on stage for the whole show, compensated for the lack of visuals. They recreated a soundscape of H G Well's famous story. They painted a musical picture, with painstaking accuracy, of the Martian invasion of Earth using prog rock mixed with classical strings.

In the first half there were a few sound problems, and the lighting failed to create the impression of growing tension, which would have given more visual impact, but the sound and lighting crew pulled it around in the second half.

One of the orchestral pieces, when the insidious red weed was encompassing the earth, was stunningly performed, and the lighting for this scene did create that mysterious otherworldliness of Mars.

As the narrator's tale unfolded, singers from the Devizes-based theatre company performed some lovely solos including Thunder Child, Brave New World and The Spirit of Man with Sean Andrews as the parson and Mari Webster as Beth. Jemma Brown, one of Wiltshire's hidden musical gems, whose voice always creates goosebumps, took the part of Carrie. Her duet, Forever Autumn, with the young journalist, another masterly performance from a top voice, was really moving.

However for me, and the audience judging by the applause, it was Chris Worthy, as the artillery man, who stole the show. He put his own stamp on the role, although I suspect Sean Bean's portrayal of Sharpe was his influence. It was a stroke of brilliance. He pulled it off with aplomb, right down to the northern grit of his accent.

I also enjoyed the enthusiasm of the two young newspaper boys who entered into their parts with great gusto.

There are many versions of War of the Worlds, from the glossy film productions to musical extravaganzas, and each brings its own interpretation. One radio dramatisation, when it was broadcast, allegedly created blind panic as people thought it was a real news report.

The Invitation Theatre and The Fulltone Orchestra worked hard to put their own take on this timeless tale while staying true to Jeff Wayne's concept.

As we left the theatre you could hear people whistling or humming The Eve of War. Looking up at the stars it was hard not to wonder whether envious eyes were watching and waiting.