Sunday, 20 May 2007

Return to the Forbidden Planet - Oldham Coliseum

Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton
Oldham Coliseum: 18 May -9th June
Directed by: Kevin Shaw
Musical Director: Howard Gray
Reviewed by: Lisa Whiteside - Teacher

Return to the Forbidden Planet at the Oldham Coliseum proved to be a very entertaining night. A story based upon a sci-fi, rock ‘n’ roll version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest had many of the audience chuckling at various cheesy lines, such as ‘two beeps or not two beeps’, and giggling nervously when asked to actively participate in their ‘reverse polarity’ routine! To begin with the cast and crew mix amongst the audience as everyone made the way to their seats and are then introduced to Captain Tempest, aboard his Intergalactic Starship Albatross, and so the adventure begins…

The bridge of the Albatross is where the action takes place and the design by Richard Foxton was impressive with a mix of flashing lights, video screen (complete with a guest appearance from Ricky Tomlinson) and quite a flashy airlock for the Robot Ariel (Kieran Buckeridge) to come skating through! I was somewhat pleasantly surprised with the set overall, particularly when I considered the
limitations and constraints that such a traditional style of theatre may have presented. This was supported by some very tongue in cheek direction by Kevin Shaw such as the miniature rocket that glided or should I say was dragged above our heads but did raise quite a few laughs from the audience.
The crew comprised of eight main characters and proved to be a very strong and talented bunch that was led by Justin Brett as Captain Tempest and his sidekick Bosun (Adam Keast). It cannot be denied that this was a very talented cast that had to act, sing, dance and even fight off monsters!!! I was somewhat dubious however over the quite camped up portrayal of Prospero played by Paul Kissaun, who although very entertaining, did seem to ham it up slightly too much with his asides to the audience.

Howard Grey's Musical direction was excellent and the musical talent of the cast was something that needs to be recognised, they all played a compliment of instruments from keyboard to guitar to the saxophone as they creatively cavorted and played around the
stage. I did however get somewhat distracted on occasions at the ‘doubling up’ of characters playing instruments in the background. I did feel that in an ideal world that they could have been supported by an extra few ‘crew members’ to take the pressure off them, having to rush off for their next song, after having just delivering a heart-filled speech.

The musical score was very entertaining and consisted of an amalgamation of well known songs such as ‘Great balls of fire’, ‘Good Vibrations’, Teenager in Love’, ‘Young Ones’ and ‘Monster Mash’. All of which were guaranteed to get your toes tapping and hands clapping throughout.

Overall Return to the Forbidden Planet presented itself as a very entertaining show that is well suited for people of All Ages, be warned this show will leave you humming many of the tunes for days to come. A very enjoyable night out!

Return to the Forbidden Planet runs until 9th June for more information visit
Photos - Top Right: Clara Darcey (Miranda) & Kieran Buckeridge (Ariel)
Bottom Left: Back left clockwise: Justin Brett (Cpt. Tempest) Kieran Buckeridge (Ariel) Delroy Brown (Navigation Officer) Adam Keast (Bosun) & Sam Brown (Cookie)
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