Great Wyrley Performing Arts School was the setting last week for a rock and roll trip into outer space and journey to the planet D’Illyria. Return to the Forbidden Planet is a show I had never seen, therefore something I was keen to redress. Performed by the Aldridge Musical Comedy Society (AMCS), Forbidden Planet was the latest in a long line of quality productions put out by the society since their formation, 45 years ago.

Written by Bob Carlton, Forbidden Planet is based on the 1950s film of the same name which in turn, took its origins from Shakespeare’s – The Tempest. Set in the far future, Return to the Forbidden Planet delivers the obligatory mad scientist Dr Prospero, his daughter Miranda, a rollerskating robot, a lovestruck ship’s cook, the authoritative Captain Tempest, science officer Gloria and the rest of the crew. Interspersed between scenes, we also had a strange old woman thrown into the mix, to help narrate the plot along with much amusement.

Good humour, great acting and excellent delivery of numerous rock and roll numbers gave the perfect mix for this show. My only criticism would be that of the original script itself which was, to be honest, slightly disappointing given I had waited many years to finally see it performed. The beginning is very low key and doesn’t really get going until a good ten minutes in with Great Balls of Fire. It could really have done with a more kick-ass start but thankfully, the quality showed by AMCS, soon got the starship’s engines moving.

In addition to Great Balls of Fire, you had Young Girl, Good Vibrations and even Monster Mash, all of them keeping the rock juices pumping.

The acting was great. Singing – superb. A special word should also go to the band members of the orchestra without who, these brilliant numbers would not have had the impact they did. Good scenery too.

As I said, I was a little underwhelmed by the actual script as it has supposedly been a popular, top show for many years. Quite frankly, having seen AMCS a number of times before, I am more impressed by many of their own in-house, home-grown scripts like those used in the end of year pantomime.

Would I go to see Return to the Forbidden Planet again elsewhere? Probably not. Any future production by AMCS? Definitely.

AMCS return to Great Wyrley in late 2012 with original pantomime: Dick Whittington and the Pirate King. Put it in your diary. Not to be missed. Watch this space for details.

Note of Irony: Doctor Prospero’s futuristic formula – X-Factor, is a potion which can enhance the brain and mind. Stark contrast to the television X-Factor of the modern day, which dulls it.

Cheers.

Nick

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