60s 70s 80s rock ‘n’ roll your thing?

The older I get (!), the more I look back on childhood memories with great fondness and the image in my head of singing along at the top of my voice to Mum and Dad’s collection of uptempo hits sticks with me. (Usually in a car where I couldn’t expect from it but that’s beside the point!).

But that’s not even the main reason I absolutely loved watching Return to the Forbidden Planet yesterday.

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For, seven years ago, my wonderful wife was cast in the lead female role in this very show and performed it brilliantly. And this took us right back to that memorable time!

A musical based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, only set on a spaceship crashlanded on a distant planet, is bizarre, uplifting and relentlessly enjoyable throughout.

Back when I was an unassuming Junior at primary school, I tagged along with my mum’s high school trip to watch it and, although being completely confused by the sophisticated language, the colours, music and incredible talent of the performers always stuck with me.

And it got even more special seven years ago this June, when my now wife played Miranda, the desirable yet innocent daughter of the play’s villain.

Born to be a star!

Born to be a star!

When doctoring at our university, the Medics put on an annual musical and my wife got herself involved as a lead member. It was a delight to watch her performing solos, acting superbly and dancing along with her friends and peers back then. I even got the chance to try my hand at a few Shakespearean lines in order to help her rehearse.

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Fast forward the clock and the heady days of medical school seem worlds away but, just like those songs from my childhood, the memories of performing have stuck with my wife and watching the professionals do it on Thursday was a real treat for both of us.

The musical talents of the cast were unbelievable. I’d been a bit suspicious of the lack of live band, but that was because every cast member was able to play three or four instruments extremely well, along with dancing, acting and singing. It was just stunning to watch.

(Not entirely sure how the unwired instruments were miked up but I guess some technical character could probably help me understand!)

The villainous Dr Prospero

The villainous Dr Prospero

My favourite song: She’s Not There by the Zombies, performed by jilted chef Cookie, whose love for Miranda turned out to be unrequited. I remember introducing myself to the poor medic who played Cookie in their play as Miranda’s boyfriend and him pleading with me for forgiveness over his shameless fawning over her during the show. Not to worry…

My wife’s favourite song: Mr Spaceman by the Byrds. It brings the show to a close and is the lead female’s chance to enjoy the limelight and sum up the performance. I could tell it brought back great memories for her.

Most memorable moment: The robot being tossed a trombone, playing it to a supreme standard before throwing it back from whence it came and busting into an ultra camp dance across the stage.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Sadly, this tour, the 25th anniversary no less, comes to a close on Saturday but if you ever get the chance, and you’re even vaguely interested in classics like Good Vibrations, Great Balls of Fire, The Young Ones, Teenager in Love, Monster Mash etc, then it’s a complete must!