What do you get when you cross Shakespeare, science fiction and rock-n-roll? An entertaining afternoon at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.
Return to the Forbidden Planet, on stage now, was written by Bob Carlton. It is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and also on the 1950s film Forbidden Planet, which was also loosely based on The Tempest. The show, directed by CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance, is a quirky mix of rhyming script and feel-good music from the ‘50s and ‘60s that has the audience bopping in their seats, and patrons leaving with a smile on their face.
The May show is traditionally the River Show; however, flooding at the river made it impossible to hold the show there this year.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, the theatre was, unfortunately, almost empty. But that didn’t dampen the spirit of the cast who sang and danced as if the house was full. For some of the regular attendees to Sunday matinees at the CFRT, the show was a change of pace, but from the gentlemen sitting next to me who sang every word and those in front of me who were keeping time with the music, it was a welcome one.
The show takes some well-known rock anthems — “Great Balls of Fire,” “Born To Be Wild,” “Good Vibrations,” “Gloria” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” just to name a few — and tells the story of an adventure into the id and the heart.
The show starts with a takeoff of a spacecraft, piloted by Captain Tempest (played by Wilmington-based actor and physicist, David Lorek) on a routine mission into the universe. On this particular mission, a new crew member comes aboard — the Science Officer (Taylor Kraft) — who challenges the captain’s chauvinistic views about women, which leads into a campy production of “It’s a Man’s World.”
All is not as it seems, and when the ship is drawn to the planet D’illyria (the Forbidden Planet), the Science Officer abandons ship, leaving the crew to meet its fate. But all is not lost. The crew meets Prospero (played brilliantly by Newlin Parker), a scientist who was sent by his wife Gloria to wander outer space along with his daughter, Amanda (played enchantingly by Fayetteville’s own Halle Vargas Sullivan.)
The twists and turns that follow make for a wild ride on Capt. Tempest’s ship and a great time for the audience.
The music provided by Bill Joyner, Milton Smith, Danny Young and Richard Gates, is obviously what drove this ship; however, at times, the sound did not seem to balance and the music overrode the lyrics and the speeches of the cast.
That being said, if the worst thing I can say about the play was that they were playing that rock music too loud … then rock on! This is an out-of-this-world production that you do not want to miss.
The production runs through June 1, with shows Thursday through Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. and the traditional Sunday matinees. Tickets range in price from $18 to $25. To make reservations, visit the website at www.cfrt.org or call the box office at 323-4233.
Photos: The Return to Forbidden Planet, directed by CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance, is a quirky mix of rhyming script and feel-good music from the ‘50s and ‘60s that has the audience bopping in their seats, and patrons leaving with a smile on their face.