Millennium Forum welcomes you to ‘The Forbidden Planet’

Paul Doherty 'Captain Prospero' and Alison Maybin 'Gloria' who star in the Millennium Forum's production of 'Return to the Forbidden Planet.'
Paul Doherty 'Captain Prospero' and Alison Maybin 'Gloria' who star in the Millennium Forum's production of 'Return to the Forbidden Planet.'

The Millennium Forum Youth Theatre Group is presenting its annual summer offering in the shape of ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’.

Described as a ‘science fiction, juke box musical’ this is the sixth offering from the hugely talented Millennium Forum youth ensemble.

The lead roles of Captain Tempest and Gloria are played by Paul Doherty and Alison Maybin.

Paul describes ‘The Forbidden Planet’ as: “Based on ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare but it has been given a funny twist.

“My character ends up on a planet on his own after some evil scheming by his crew. Alone, single and abandoned things start getting out of control,” he laughed.

Bob Carlton’s smash hit West End musical takes the 1956 film, ‘Forbidden Planet’, raids the Bard’s other plays at will - though not always verbatim - and sets it to a score of great pop hits from the 1960s and 70s. The result is this compelling comedy.

The play charts the story of Captain Tempest and his crew. About to launch a routine mission the ship accidently flies into an asteroid storm and is damaged. Annoyed that the Captain does not listen to her because she is female, the Science Officer escapes on the ship’s only shuttlecraft.

The Captain is forced to carry on, off-course. Suddenly there is a strange noise, and the ship is pulled towards the planet Dillyria.

The crew try to escape the invisible force, but it is no good and both ship and crew are subjected to the strange twists that Dillyria has to offer.

The play collected the 1990 Olivier Award for Best Musical. The production is bursting with rock and roll hits, including ‘Great Balls of Fire’, ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘Teenager in Love’, ‘The Young Ones’ and ‘The Monster Mash’.

Add to that robots, ray guns and ‘relationship issues’ there is plenty in this play to keep even the harshest musical fan happy.

Paul said: “It really is a high tempo show which lasts over two hours. The play opens with only Gloria and I for the first few scenes then I get to launch into ‘Born to be Wild’ so I have to admit I am loving the production.”

Foyle College pupil Alison says of her character, Gloria: She is such a feminist.”

“I love playing strong women. It is a great role. There are two real sides to her and I can do a lot with her in the performance. She is very fun to play,” said the Fahan actor.

Admitting that she was finding the dance routines “challenging” Alison added landing the lead in the musical was “just brilliant”.

Creggan man Paul said: “There really is no room for error either in the routines or the arrangements. As everything is set to music you have to hit your mark everytime. There are only three black outs and no changes.

“So there is hardly time to breath between lines. It really is a seamless production.”

Alison, who is starring in her second youth musical production said: “There is a lot of Shakespeare in the play but it is all little joke references. It is an odd play in that there is a lot of people on stage at any one time. You really can’t take your eyes off it or you’ll miss something.”

Paul, Alison and the rest of the cast have been in rehearsals every day at the Millennium Forum. Both agree that it is their “ideal summer”.

“It is hard work,” smiles Alison, “but really enjoyable. The whole cast are brilliant and I am just really looking forward to opening night.”

Return to The Forbidden Planet opens on Thursday, August 9 and runs until Saturday, August 11. Tickets from £8 from box office 028 71 264455.