Venue: The Adrian Mann Theatre, NESCOT, Reigate Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 3DS
Credits: Bob Carlton Inspired by the motion picture 'Forbidden Planet' courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.
Performance Date: 07/05/2013
Return to the Forbidden Planet
Paul Johnson | 12 May 2013 16:02pm
Return to the Forbidden planet is a Juke Box musical, incorporating some of the great rock-n-roll hits from the fifties.
The story is based loosely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but set in space. Passengers are welcomed aboard the SS Albatross for a routine survey flight under the command of Captain Tempest and his crew including the simple chef Cookie and their new Science officer – who would you believe is a women!
Things seem to be going fine when the spaceship is forced to land on a foreign planet where they meet the mad Doctor Prospero, his daughter Miranda and their sidekick robot Ariel. We hear about how Dr Prospero’s evil wife Gloria abandoned him in his quest to create a new X factor drug. While this happens the ships new Science Offer mysteriously disappears, Cookie falls in love with Miranda, but Miranda falls in love with the Captain (disowning her father Dr Prospero) but the Captain is too in love with himself!
As if this on board tale isn’t enough just as the damaged ship is being repaired the Science Officer or as we find out evil wife Gloria , returns to the ship to find the ship being attacked by a hideous monster.
Ariel the robot drives the monster off and Gloria is arrested, but she hatches a plan with the shunned Cookie to steal the mind expanding X factor drug. In doing so she confronts Dr Prospero and explains that the drug has awful side effects, in releasing his inner Id to create the hideous monster attacking the ship, which is why she abandoned him in the first place.
So to right things, Dr Prospero kills himself in turn killing the monster, and destroying the planet the ship is on. And after a speedy take off, the Captain finally realises he does love Miranda and the story has a happy ending, climaxing with some kick ass rock songs.
Phew! So as you can imagine a difficult story to follow – especially as the dialogue is all done in a Shakespearean style. However it is a great show for amateurs and provides a lot of scope to have some fun!
Now I have to admit I hate seeing shows on opening night and there were some opening night mishaps both technical and in performance.
Of the principals, James Wheildon as Captain Tempest portrayed a comical persona, Thom McGowan acted young and dumb as Cookie and Ian Lambert performed Dr Prospero well in the suitably crazy way needed!
Louise Brown had the power and presence for the Science Officer and came across very well, as did Catherine Quinn as Miranda, and both did a good job vocally, although perhaps their voices are more suited to more classical musical numbers.
I have to commend Steve Leith as Ariel the roller skating robot, as anyone who is brave enough to perform on roller skates deserves a round of applause.
I was disappointed with the lack of backing vocals as this really makes the rock-n-roll numbers and some of the staging and dancing was a bit hap hazard. It felt unprepared and the production staff really should have drilled and worked on these performance areas to give it a boost.
Unfortunately therefore the whole show itself lacked that bit of punch and failed to really get the audiences up and rocking in the aisles, which was a real shame.
However I’d like to put it down to opening night wobbles and I’m sure that the production grew stronger as the week went on, so keep rocking!
- : admin
- : 07/05/2013