>Return to the Forbidden Planet

Part oldies concert, part Star Trek, part Shakespeare—that’s the only way to describe Bob Carlton’s Return to the Forbidden Planet, which I saw at the American Shakespeare Center last night. It was a good house, a receptive crowd for the penultimate performance of this show, which seemed a little sloppy to me. But still, lots of fun.

Using Shakespearean language–in many cases actual lines from his plays–Forbidden Planet tells the story of Captain Tempest of the Starship Albatross which runs afoul of an asteroid belt while on a routine mission. There the crew encounters Doctor Prospero, a semi-evil genius who has been marooned in space by his wife Gloria who, it turns out, is also the Science Officer on the Albatross. Their daughter, Miranda, falls in love with Captain Tempest, of course. All of which is an excuse for singing, from Wipe Out to open the first act, to Teenager in Love, to GLORIA at the close of the first act and the opening of the second, and numerous other hits from several decades, closing with Great Balls of Fire.

It was fun. Since I saw Richard III by this company just a few days ago, it was a little odd to see the transformation of those actors, from murderous warriors to singing space travelers, but I guess that’s show biz.

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  1. >Loved the original with Walter Pidgeon & a young Leslie Nielsen. I’d be curious to see a theatrical adaptation.

  2. >Ahh, that explains why the title is the Return to the Forbidden Planet; I didn’t know we’d been there before. I don’t remember the film, but I can definitely picture Nielsen as the starship captain . . .

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