Noda Review - Return to the Forbidden Planet
21st July 2016
Return to the Forbidden Planet
Zenith Youth Theatre Company
Thursday 21 July 2016
Reviewed by Petra Schofield – NODA SW Rep. District 10
Thank you for your invitation to join you for the summer musical – Return to the Forbidden Planet. It was a pleasure to see such a large audience supporting the huge cast and once again Zenith were on fine form from the outset.
There was great enjoyment being had from those cast who were performing outside the venue, their characters were well defined which allowed great interaction with friends who were trying hard to talk to the cast – well done to them for holding role and not being distracted.
The theatre preset inside the auditorium was very impressive both from a structural and technical perspective. The use of the space was good throughout the show – the constant switching of personnel and the various uses of the different levels allowed for a lot of movement and energy from the cast; the band were well poised to see the action and be part of it. As always there were in fine tune and under the leadership of Roy Page seemed to relish every moment of the score. The smoke occasionally must have been a working hazard but certainly didn’t seem to quell the spirit!
Unfortunately the hologram proved a little temperamental but once working did a fine job.
The lighting design (Luke John Emmett) was both well planned and executed. The laser trick was nicely handled as well and the many states needed to keep the action moving on the static set. This was a vibrant and rather disco like setting which complemented the costumes well. The era of the music was captured in a fun way with the costume design (Scott Rogers and Joel White) there was a hint of times gone by whilst everyone remained looking futuristic with a hint of burgundy and silver.
The direction was slick, the overall impression was very cinematic which ensured the pace never dropped and characters were able to convince despite the lack of depth in the script. That is not a criticism of the production; the focus is clearly on linking the songs whereas the witty use of Shakespeare quoted correctly and more often purposefully incorrectly provides entertainment for those who know the bard well and could fully enjoy the absurd nature of the show.
The choreography (Julie Dallimore and Delia Lee) was as usual outstanding; the ability to get such a huge team to tap an opening number is a true achievement and no doubt the legacy of many past excellent productions and training. The numbers were wholly inclusive whilst there was the option for those more experienced to take a lead.
The cast was strong. The vocals for all were very good but that must be said with a special nod to George Miles as Cookie. This was an extraordinary performance which encapsulated all things about the era of the music and set the bar very high. A faultless and seemingly limitless range and control gave the numbers such integrity and finish, hugely engaging at all times even when not involved in the immediate dialogue.
Captain Tempest – Ed Corbishley
This was a well measured and mature performance. Commanding and strong to keep the action moving as well as enjoying some of the humour; it was also well sung with good control
Dr. Prospero – Lucas Porter
A good performance and very well sung. This is a hard role to pinpoint, the humour was well handled and the dialogue was clear. A strong character with good relationships to others, unfortunately we missed the first number on the hologram but it was nevertheless a good vocal.
Ariel – Sam Feireabend
This was a lovely quirky role and the physicality of it worked very well for you. The singing and acting was strong as was the characterisation. The costume was great fun and provided a very complete visual image whilst the sound and lighting team was spot on with all visual effects.
Science Officer – Caitlin Mazza
This is an outstanding voice and the vocals were powerful, controlled and clear. The characterisation and dialogue was equally strong this was a mature and engaging performance, clearly a very talented young lady.
Bosun Arras – Molly Dallimore
This role, alongside the navigator is a difficult one. It demands attention at all times and endless acting in several scenes to fulfil duties without dialogue or being featured. This was a strong cameo and the focus was excellent. The character was clear and vocals were also very good.
Navigation Officer – Harry Dallimore
As with the Bosun, your focus and relationship to the duties etc was very good. The dialogue and vocals were strong and this was a good performance of a hard role. The pod chairs gave it a great touch too.
Miranda – Maisie Humphries
A well sung and well acted performance which was well developed throughout the show. The youthfulness of Miranda and her naivety was clear whilst you were able to bring a good personality to the character.
Newsreader – Molly Griffin
A good clear delivery and well focused performance.
As usual Zenith presented themselves as a vibrant, talented team all of whom were clearly fully committed to their individual roles and responsibilities. There was a real maturity of performance which was a pleasure to watch and all clearly appeared valued and included in this large production.
Thank you for the invitation, it was a visual feast and I appreciate there is a massive team behind the scenes that make this appear so straightforward and seamless. Congratulations on what was clearly a winning formula and I have no doubt the hologram gremlins would have been sorted before the next performance.
Very best wishes
NODA SW Representative – District 10