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April 2013
Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton

By Sarah Bryce - Friday, April 26th, 2013
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)

THE Trinity Theatre left Cowes on Thursday night to fly light years away for CAODS’ latest production, Return to the Forbidden Planet.

The jukebox musical, first released in the 1980s, featuring classic rock songs such as Shake, Rattle and Roll, Great Balls of Fire and Good Vibrations, and was based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and 50s’ sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, which was also loosely based on the play.

The plot centres around a survey spaceship, led by Captain Tempest, played by Martin Croutear, and a mysterious new female science officer, played by Maria Wilkinson, as it embarks on a routine mission, before a meteor shower causes chaos and the ship is drawn into a tractor beam from unknown planet D’Illyria.

The cast of colourful characters were clearly having a great time on stage and that came across to the audience.

Brad Barnley’s Cookie, the ship’s cook, had a remarkably good singing voice and it was a joy to hear his solo rendition of The Zombies’ She’s Not There, and young Bosun, played by Robbie Gwinnett, was impressive with his crystal-clear accent and singing voice.

Paul Gwinnett played Dr Prospero as a classic mad professor, Maria Wilkinson looked totally at home on stage and I don’t know why, but I really liked the crew member with the green beard.

One of the strongest things for me was the set, which really channelled the kitsch sci-fi style of the musical, culminating in an original Star Trek-meets-Red Dwarf cacophony of big levers, circuit boards, silver tubing and flashing lights.

So, aside from some slightly ropey American accents rendering some characters slightly difficult to understand, the show had some really nice touches.

These included the cast acting as flight stewards to incorporate the theatre’s safety announcement into the play, front of house staff in flight uniforms, a costumed mannequin being launched down the stairs during some extreme intergalactic turbulence, huge inflatable tentacles billowing from the airlock, not to mention vintage sci-fi music in the breaks includingDoctor Who, Star Trek, Darth Vadar’s Theme from Star Wars and the theme from The Twilight Zone.

It all added to the entertainment in this fun production.