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Return to the Forbidden Planet - Brentwood Operatic Society

On entering the Brentwood Theatre auditorium, we saw a striking set of the inside of a spaceship. This all felt very reminiscent of a Disney ride with such great attention to detail and lots of interaction from the cast prior to the show actually beginning.

A large screen dominates the back wall with excellent graphics throughout the performance. These included video recordings, clever animations and visual effects, which would rival many a West End or professional production. My only thought was at times I was so busy watching the screens. I wasn’t watching the performers which is a shame because from what I did see they delivered exceptional songs and deserved the audience attention.

Once the audience had undertaken the safety drills and the reverse polarity preparation. We were ready for launch and for the show to take off.

The elements of Shakespeare, Pantomime and juke box musicals are all brought together seamlessly in this show. The regular braking of the 4th wall to include the audience as if they are passengers on the space ship all adds to the overall effect and delivers a rousing evening of rock and roll.

Typical of Claire Carr from the very start this is a high octane, energetic production. Claire's recognisable style of choreography is strong and sharp throughout.

The principal line up is led by David Everest-Ring as Captain Tempest - handsome, charismatic, and clad in tight leather his rock vocals and swivelling hips were a great fit for this part . Playing opposite him as Miranda is Briony Colton, she has both the looks, sweet character and inner strength to play this part well.

Andy Gillett, as Prospero struggled a little with his vocals, but gave us a good rendition of a character torn between love of his daughter and hatred of his wife, Gloria.

One of the strongest characters on stage was Hannah Brent, as Ariel, the Robot. She had a superb characterisation, a quirky voice and first-class facial expressions, which really came to the fore in "Who’s sorry now". And all this, she did on roller skates too. I absolutely loved her!

Kerry Cooke, played Gloria, the science officer. Kerry’s a seasoned performer who really delivers a punch in this role. Her wide vocal range and great stage presence made this one of the best parts I’ve seen her play.

David Gillet, as cookie was sweet, charming, very funny with great comedic timing and some killer dance moves. He was a pleasure to watch whenever on stage.

Supporting these were Ben Martin’s as the boson complete with raised eyebrow and strong stage presence and the delightful navigation officer John Keeler who brought such camp-ness and a little bit of space diva to the role. In fact the entire cast were incredibly strong, including the small male chorus, who all danced with gusto.

The one downside to the entire production was the lighting, on several occasions throughout the show, principals were talking or singing in darkness. Either they hadn’t found the correct place to stand in the light or the lights cues were late. There were also a few issues with dialogue, not being heard over orchestrations again very small things, but this was such a shame as overall, the standard of the show was so high.

The orchestra made a great sound and added to the overall production. The costumes were simply 'out of this world' with all the logos and colour co-ordination throughout - very impressive and with good props and swift scene changes the pace of the show never lagged.

This was certainly a 'rocket' of a show and one you should see if you can get a ticket.

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