Return to the Forbidden Planet plays Southsea’s Kings Theatre this week (until April 18) on its first revival since around 2000. Creator and director Bob Carlton has revived the show as his leaving present to the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch which he has been running.
The show disappeared some years ago, Bob taking the view that you can have too much of a good thing. But he reckons the time is right to bring it back now.
“This is its 25th anniversary. I wrote it when I was eight, you understand!” he laughs. “I was very precocious! It started its life at a little fringe company that I was artistic director of, and it just went on from there. It developed a life of its own. Really the show was the first juke-box musical. It was a little company where all the members were actor-musicians which was something very new at the time. You see it a lot now, but at the time it was something quite different to see the actors on stage also playing their instruments.”
Previous to Forbidden Planet was From a Jack to a King: “I had taken over the company, and I inherited the structure of the shows where members of the company would perform late-night 60s songs. Being actors, they made two-and-a-half minute psycho dramas out of them, and I thought I would try to put these songs together in an actual story so they linked into the old songs. The musical director came around to my flat, and we thought ‘Right, what is the story?’ and we decided on Macbeth. We finished talking and went into my local pub, and the guy at the piano was playing From a Jack to a King. We just thought it was perfect. It was Macbeth!”
So Bob threw in some Shakespeare, and the show was born. And then it came to finding a successor.
“The board at the theatre where I worked then wanted us to write a full-length show along the same lines.”
Bob remembered the 1956 American sci-fi film Forbidden Planet, the first sci-fi film in which humans are depicted travelling in a star ship of their own creation, also the first sci-fi film set entirely in another world out in space.
All Bob had to do was marry it up with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Return to the Forbidden Planet was ready to roll.
Tickets on 023 9282 8282.