Phones 4u Arena, Manchester

FROM a dazzling light show to a 35-foot martian, Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds was brought to life on stage one last time.

The musician is currently conducting the final tour of the show, based on his 1978 album which was inspired by HG Wells' 1897 science fiction novel.

The story of a Martian invasion of Earth arrived at the Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, on Sunday night, with a star cast featuring former Westlife member Brian McFadden, Australian actor and singer Jason Donovan and The X Factor 2005 winner Shayne Ward.

Oscar winning actor Liam Neeson appeared in 3D holography as George Herbert, The Journalist — an enjoyable dimension which did not come across gimmicky as I thought it might.

His sound could have been better but that is possibly more to do with the cavernous arena rather than the show's equipment.

The rousing and iconic music was played to great effect by the nine-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA Strings.

McFadden's vocals were spot on as he played The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist, performing tracks including Eve of the War and Forever Autumn was a treat, with leaves fluttering down on the audience.

Ward, as the Artilleryman, also displayed his strong voice while Donovan was impressive as Parson Nathaniel, although he was not on stage for very long.

Most of the action took place on a 100 foot wide animation wall, which showed two hours of CGI (computer-generated imagery) depicting the alien invasion and destruction of Earth.

Carrie Hope Fletcher put in a delightful performance as Beth, Parson Nathaniel’s Wife, displaying stunning vocals and star quality.

This is the sixth UK tour in eight years and with the music firmly rooted in the progressive rock era of the 1970s, perhaps it is time to move on.

Wayne has already announced that he has other plans for "the concept" which will be music to the ears of fans, who rose to their feet in appreciation at the end of Sunday night's show.

The show is now playing in the West End, visit