Return to the Forbidden Planet

Who would win a fight between Shakespeare, Captain James T. Kirk and Jerry Lee Lewis? The stakes are astronomical in Bob Carlton’s smash hit West End musical Return to the Forbidden Planet. The jukebox musical attempts to go where no show has gone before: deep into rock ‘n’ roll hyperspace... and beyond!

The mash-up of Shakespeare, sci-fi B-movies and rock ‘n’ roll works a treat.

Return to the Forbidden Planet is loosely based on the classic 50s sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, which itself is loosely based on The Tempest. Indeed, Charlton took Shakespeare’s most memorable lines, recrafted them into 'Fakespeare', mixed in catchy rock ‘n’ roll classics and delivered it against an intergalactic backdrop. It all makes perfect sense by the time the crew of the starship Albatross pounds through a meteor shower belting out Great Balls of Fire.

After surviving the meteors, the crew discover that their new Science Officer has abandoned ship. Landing on planet D'Illyria, aka the forbidden planet, they meet a snake oil peddling Doctor Prospero, his daughter Miranda and robot Ariel. A love triangle develops between Miranda, the ship's cook Cookie and Captain Tempest. Angered by his daughter's behaviour, Doctor Prospero takes his X Factor titled potion with unforeseeable consequences. Next the ship is attacked by a purple-tentacled monster. Amidst the mayhem, the missing Science Officer makes a comeback as Doctor Prospero's wife Gloria. Feeling dizzy yet?

The mash-up of Shakespeare, sci-fi B-movies and rock ‘n’ roll works a treat, but how does Brighton Little Theatre survive the collision with the hit musical? Thanks to the amazing set design, we were instantly transported (or beamed up) to Star Trek’s flight deck. The cast did not disappoint either. Rob Punter delivered an enigmatic Doctor Prospero while Leigh Ward as Captain Tempest resembled a lot more Daniel Craig than William Shatner – a relief.

Even though Captain Tempest did his best to convince that ‘it’s a man’s world’, it would have been nothing without the female crew. Lead by foxy Gloria (Mandy-Jane Jackson), coyly flirting Miranda (Claudia Fielding) and mannequinesque robot Ariel (Millie Edinburgh), and backed up by the cheerful Navigation Officers, the women stole the show. They had the looks, the voices and the Barbarella-style 60s female liberation attitude.

With a dedicated cast bursting into a song left and right to hits like Good Vibrations, Teenager in Love, The Young Ones, Born to be Wild and The Monster Mash, who could ask for more? With just a little more audience participation – singing, stomping, cheering, whooping – the show would have reached even the furthest corners of the universe.

However, sing-alongs being as popular as ever, Return to the Forbidden Planet will be with us for light years to come. I will join the crew in saying: live long and Prospero!

Reviews by Johanna Makelainen

GMF Digital Events

Warhol: Bullet Karma

★★★★
GMF Digital Events

Alexithymia

★★
Pleasance Online

A Suffocating Choking Feeling

★★★
Fringe Online

Saving Wonderland

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Join Captain Tempest and his fearless crew on their journey into hyperspace... and beyond! This musical bursts with red hot Rock 'n' Roll hits, including 'Great Balls of Fire', 'Good Vibrations', 'Teenager in Love', 'The Young Ones' and 'The Monster Mash'. So fasten your seat belts, set your ray guns to stun and get ready for a cosmic adventure of meteoric proportions! Bob Carlton’s smash hit West End musical takes the 1956 film, with plot taken from Shakespeare’s 'The Tempest', raids the Bard’s other plays at will (and not always verbatim) and sets it to a score of great pop hits.

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets