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Newbury YoungStars - Return to the Forbidden Planet

26th to 28th July 2007.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Tempest - but on another planet

There's a Prospero and a Miranda and even an Ariel, but this musical version of Shakespeare's play had everyone shakin' all over as you have probably never seen them before

Newbury YoungStars: Return to the Forbidden Planet, at Arlington Arts Centre, July 2 6 to 28

As you entered the auditorium at Arlington Arts Centre, Snelsmore Common, you were greeted by members of the crew of the USS Albatross bound for a space mission.

The set was the bridge of the spaceship with flashing lights, a bank of computers and the air lock, very Star Treckkie in looks, completely in keeping with this fun cult sci-fi rock musical.

But first we had to have a safety demonstration in case we had to do an "emergency polarity reversal" with all the audience joining in.

The instructions were displayed on a gigantic screen above the stage which was also used for some excellent graphics and video display.

The musical is based on The Tempest, with loads of Shakespearian references and many misquotes, such as "What light from yonder air-lock breaks?" or "Two beeps or not two beeps that is the question" and is influenced by the 1956 B-movie Forbidden Planet with some great songs from the period such as Great Balls of Fire, The Monster Mash and Gloria.

Captain Tempest, confidently played by Samuel Trumper, and his crew, take us on a journey of exploration.

However, things soon go wrong as he is forced to land on the uncharted planet of D'Illyria by the mad scientist Doctor Prospero, a strong performance by Euan Bonnar and his charming daughter Miranda (Ellie Bradshaw), who falls in love with the captain.

To complicate things, Cookie (Paul Holland) has also fallen for Miranda and declares that he "ain't gonna wash for a week"

However, the new scientific officer is, in fact, the estranged wife of the Doctor and she splendidly changes into the vampish Gloria, a lovely performance by Clare Butler.

Ariel (Lawrence Harvey) is delightfully played as a silver-suited, roller blading robot. There is some good support from Rob Lees as the all-round good guy Bosun and Georgie Radford as the navigation officer.

The backing singers and chorus, beautifully costumed - as were all the cast, added to the fun and enjoyment of this musically challenging zany piece.

Director and choreographer Jeanette Maskell created some funky routines, completely celebrating the genre.

Musical director Michael Evans kept the show Shaking all over and the audience loved it.