Review: Return To The Forbidden Planet

Return To The Forbidden Planet. Pic: Comp
Return To The Forbidden Planet. Pic: Comp
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FROM a moon-walking robot with a Jerry Lee Lewis complex, to stunt guitarists who could scald your eardrums from one hundred light years away.

* * * *

Festival Theatre

From frizzy-haired mad scientists driven insane by the X-Factor (a mind-bending potion, not the TV show), to scenes of Forth One’s Grant Stott kicking great balls of fire into the audience. This is precisely the sort of intergalactic silliness fans have come to expect from this Olivier award-winning space rock-opera over the past 25 years.

Before boldly going where so many audiences have gone before, however, several space crew members headed up the aisles to engage ‘passengers’ in some interactive, pre-flight emergency guidance.

This farce, a cross between Rocky Horror, The Mighty Boosh and any 1950’s B-movie you can think of, is an undemanding slice of dumb rock ‘n’ roll fun - a late-night Fringe show that’s somehow sifted through the stratosphere and onto the big stage.

The cheapness of it all merely adds to the kitsch appeal, and while it doesn’t flow as well as it should, there are many scenes of individual greatness. Case in point, robot Ariel’s suave, sexy song and dance routine, in which he puts our young space princess in her place courtesy of Connie Francis’ Who’s Sorry Now.

Nevertheless, this Shakespeare-themed space odyssey could do with a wee rocket itself - ie a makeover. The constant swapping/throwing of mics is so 20th century, and even the combination of the Bard’s quotes and hard-to-decipher accents is a turn-off. It would have been nice to see more of Grant Stott, whose two appearances gives the whole production a lift. The actor/musicians, meanwhile, are a multi-talented bunch, and the old-school sound-track will have something for every astronaut. However, Return To The Forbidden Planet is one of those rare shows that would beam more people up if it had a celebrity cast. With that little sprinkling of stardust, it’s sure to live long and prosper.

Run ends Saturday