Review: Return to the Forbidden Planet

By Sydney Davies

Foot of the Hill presents Return to the Forbidden Planet, a production of charming chaos that is a blend of traditional and modern music filled with Shakespearian allusions. Whilst it is certainly an unconventional production it is no less entertaining with a song around every corner. Everything is appropriately exaggerated to the max as co-directors and create a unique experience for FHTC. 

The production team have managed to transform the unconventional space of Mary’s College Dining Hall into the mechanical inner workings of a spaceship through a well-crafted set of tiered scaffolding. A standout element of their set is certainly the incredibly inventive use of screens functioning as windows of the spaceship and an “intergalactic news station”. This ingenious and entertaining choice really expanded the space and assisted with the audience’s perception of truly being inside the spaceship. 
 

The entire cast certainly demonstrated their impressive vocals throughout the performance

Despite some clever lighting choices in an attempt to demonstrate the setting of space and the ensuing carnage, the production of these ideas were not always cohesive and at times the cast did not always stand in the light.  

With the sheer amount of songs in the play there is certainly a need for some choreography created by Anna Woolaghan. This choreography was simple but generally effective and entertaining. However, it is obvious that a few members of the cast are unprepared which hampered the intended effect of the group choreography.  

The costumes were understated but functional and I certainly appreciated the unifying touches of silver glitter face paint worn by all. This reinforced their status as a crew and certainly gave the impression of their closeness as a unit.  

As a group they feel relaxed but certainly created the humorous and cartoonish tone right from the beginning

This closeness was further exemplified by the performance of the ensemble; they are full of confidence and a sense of camaraderie which is particularly evident in their opening section of improvised audience interaction. As a group they feel relaxed but certainly created the humorous and cartoonish tone right from the beginning.  

The entire cast certainly demonstrated their impressive vocals throughout the performance with tunes ranging from ‘Great Balls of Fire’ to more dramatic and emotional power ballads. These performances were particularly impressive given that the band was in a separate room and yet the timing was almost impeccable. A particular mention must go to whose silky smooth voice was prominent throughout.  

Furthermore, gave a beautifully expressive performance as Miranda as she belted ‘Teenager in Love’. Her goosebump inducing performance effectively portrayed the totally enamoured, flirtatious and somewhat desperate Miranda.  

Overall, Foot of the Hill has created a wildly chaotic piece of theatre that is a perfect moment of hilarious escapism to end the academic year. 

Image credit: Foot of the Hill Theatre Company

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