Archikulture Digest

Return to Forbidden Planet

Return to Forbidden Planet

By Bob Carlton

Directed by Joel Warren

Musical Direction by Steve MacKinnon

Starring Cherish Glaze, John Gracey, Jim Meadows, Vicki Burns

Theater Downtown, Orlando, FL</strong>

In space, no one can hear you laugh. And in “Return to Forbidden Planet,” you couldn’t even hear laughs in a regular atmosphere. This musical is a hybrid of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and a 1956 Sci-fi film often regarded as the beast of the era. The dialog comes from the 16th Century, set from the 26th, and the music from an oldies station somewhere in Lake County. Captain Tempest (Gracey) guides his interstellar crew to the Forbidden Planet in search of his missing Science Officer (Burns) and meets long-lost Prospero (Meadows) and his babe-a-licious daughter Miranda (Glaze.) Prospero tapped a mysterious power from a long lost civilization and releases his Japanese horror monster id to attack Tempest’s ship and crew. Robot Ariel (Saenz) helps beat off the monster, and everyone flees to the nearest space bar to commiserate over Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters.

It’s hard to say what happened here, but the audience sat stonily for at least 20 minutes before there was anything resembling a giggle. That’s a shame, because everyone on stage was singing, talking, and dancing about as well as you could hope. Amada Warren choreographed the eye catching dancing, and the cast in general did an excellent job with the songs. Prospero’s theme was “Please don’t let me be misunderstood”, and Cookie (Eddy Coppens) did well with “She’s not there”. Perhaps the only weak singer was Glaze, her lead on “Mr. Spaceman” simply lacked volume.

Maybe it was the rushed delivery of the Shakespearean lines lifted from Hamlet through Henry the 4th. Perhaps it’s the serious tone of the source – Forbidden Planet was never a comedy, and The Tempest isn’t particularly funny either. Whatever the cause, I kept waiting for either “Rocky Horror” or “Menopause the Musical” to break out, but by the end I just felt Lost in Space.

For more information, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net


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