Wednesday, June 12, 2013

RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET


The Return to the Forbidden Planet ensemble 
Photo: Rebecca Doyle
 
Queanbeyan Players
The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre - 7 – 22nd June

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Despite a terrific light-show, a fresh young cast, colourful costumes, and a score of familiar songs, this musical, set in a space ship and based very loosely on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, takes a long time to actually take flight.  Following an over-long audience participation opening, followed by a couple of well-staged ensemble routines, the show settles into a series of solos, delivered centre-stage by various of the principal characters.   

There is little of Stephen Pike’s usual inventive direction in evidence, and for much of the show the ensemble just sit around watching the principals come and go. Most of these principals struggle to find a cohesive delivery style for the faux -Shakespearean dialogue losing many of the jokes through dropped cues and insecure delivery.

 Ruth Albertson-Kill as Miranda
Photo : Rebecca Doyle
However there are good performances from Dave Evans as Captain Tempest, Veronica Thwaites-Brown as the Science Officer, and John Kelly as Ariel the Robot. Both Ruth Albertson-Kill as the winsome Miranda, and Lachlan Whan whose manic solo in the second act provides one of the highlights, will be even more effective as they finesse their roles.  Alicia Da Costa impressed in a small role as Navigation Officer.

Nicholas Griffin leads the excellent band, and though it needs more bells and whistles to convince as the inside of a space-ship, Thompson Quan Wing’ s set  is attractive and functional. It’s not there yet, but a couple of performances may be all it takes for this production to become the hilarious romp intended.

 

 ( An edited version of this review appears in June 13-    19 edition of  'CITY NEWS" )

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