Preview: Return to the Forbidden Planet
Bob Carlton returns to direct 25th anniversary restaging of sci-fi, jukebox musical
As writer and director Bob Carlton remembers, the creation of Return to the Forbidden Planet was a gradual process. He was the artistic director of Bubble, ‘a fringe company for people who didn't usually see theatre.’ When the company added theatrical takes on classic rock’n’roll numbers to their repertoire – ‘for a bit of entertainment,’ Carlton recognised a possible link to Shakespeare.
‘Shakespeare was a populist,’ he says, ‘and the old b-movie, Forbidden Planet, despite the dialogue, is so good because it uses Shakespeare’s The Tempest.’ Carlton’s next step – to score the story with rock’n’roll – created a musical juggernaut, which has toured constantly and spent four years in the West End of London.
For this 25th anniversary restaging, Carlton is delighted to be back as director. The comic mixture of science-fiction, pop music – which now has a touch of nostalgia – and a familiar yet deep story recalls Shakespeare’s own approach to theatre: celebrating shared memories and ideas, reaching for the sublime but never forgetting the importance of humour and entertainment.
King's Theatre, Glasgow Mon 9 - Sat 14 Feb; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 10 -Sat 14 Mar.