REVIEW: Return to the Forbidden Planet, Harrogate Theatre
The Tempest but not as we know it! The Deanery Players served up an impressive evening's entertainment which ingeniously combined intergalactic space travel with Freudian theory, Shakespearian dialogue (mostly parodying The Tempest) and a groovy musical score based on the hits of the 60s and 70s.
Truly ‘hot ice and wond’rous strange snow’!
Return to the Forbidden Planet brings together the crew of the stricken spaceship ‘Albatross’ and the residents of the planet D’Illyria: Doctor Prospero, his daughter Miranda and his robot servant Ariel.
The great musical accompaniment, which was provided by Jamie Hudson’s band, together with wonderful lighting and sound, gave a strong foundation to a show which had everything.
Maurice Lunn’s Prospero was single-minded and egotistical yet sometimes soft-hearted; his revolutionary scientific discovery (the X Factor) was destined to bring about his ultimate downfall.
Prospero’s henchman, the robotic Ariel, played by Stuart Arthur, willingly did his master’s bidding but with wonderful comedic aplomb. Miranda, a second role with the company for the youthful and delightful Rosie Walwyn, provided the love interest for the Albatross’s Captain and heartache for the ship’s lovesick cook, Cookie.
Graham Parry played Captain Tempest, the square jawed hero of the piece, who was ably assisted on deck by his Science officer (Kayleigh Troupe), his Navigation Officer (Laura Venn), Cookie (John Bilton) and Bosun Arras (Mikey Reynolds). His crew also includesd Rachael Houghton, Derek Spence and Paul Clayton.
Linking narratives were provided on an overhead screen by a News Reader played by Denis Connery.
Dance routines were performed by Niki Keir, Davena Fraser, Tara Boyd and Laura Venn.
It was a fast moving show which constantly misquoted Shakespearian references to provide humour and unlikely links into memorable pop songs.
The recreation of iconic hits of the 60s and 70s was very successfully undertaken with some impressive vocal arrangements, not least Good Vibrations.
It was colourful, lively and well-executed: a show in which cast members had little time to draw breath; most of them never seemed to leave the stage.
The Deanery Players, and most particularly their director, Kath Lunn, can be proud to have lifted our spirits so successfully with this truly original piece.
Credit must also be given to musical director Jamie Hudson, chorus master, Kerry Boyd and wardrobe managers, Mike and Carol Thompson for their important contributions.
Captain Tempest- Graham Parry; Doctor Prospero – Maurice Lunn; Miranda –Rosie Walwyn; Ariel – Stuart Arthur; Cookie – John Bilton
Science Officer- Kayleigh Troupe; Bosun – Mikey Reynolds; Navigation Officer –Laura Venn
Ensigns: Derek Spence, Rachel Houghton, Paul Clayton; Dancers- Laura Venn, Niki Kier, Davena Fraser, Tara Boyd
Musical director – Jamie Hudson; Producer/director – Kath Lunn