National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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Return to the Forbidden Planet


11th April 2019


Dereham Theatre Company (DTCo)


Memorial Hall, Dereham

Type of Production



Chris Dilley

Musical Director

Helen Cowie


Dominique Tonitto


Author: Susan DuPont

DOSYTCo in their latest production ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’: a difficult and demanding show with the Shakespeare dialogue based on ‘The Tempest’ and the pop songs of the 60s at full pace and volume.

The production team of Chris Dilley, Helen Cowie and Dominique Tonitto really pulled out all the stops to make this an exciting explosion on stage in all directions and certainly the youngsters rose to the demands and gave their all.

On the technical side Kevin Jude came up trumps with the multi-level stage, Chris Smart with his amazing video screens to set up the scenes, and ETS with that fantastic and exciting lighting, we were blown away literally with all aspects of the technical needed for this Sci-Fi spectacle. Costumes and makeup / hair good.

Liked the ‘safety’ introduction before the flight from the cast to get the audience into the frame, and needed later in the action.

 Loved that great sound from the band under direction of Dave Cowie, all those ‘pops’ from the 60s: ‘Teenager in Love’, ‘Great Vibrations’, Shake, Rattle and Roll’, ‘Who’s Sorry Now’, ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘Only the Lonely’, ‘The Young Ones’, ‘Monster Mash’. ‘Great Balls of Fire’, and more, how many shows have all this for the young cast to really sing out?

Helen had really worked on that singing to get full impact. And as for the dancing, well that was not just energetic but dynamic and so in time throughout, an example to some of the ‘older’ companies in the district. Certainly an excellent show to exploit teamwork talents.

Clever video of newsreader Gabrielle Barrell to keep story on track. Esme Pitman a very clearly spoken Navigational Officer. The scientist Gloria from Rachel Elvin clearly in control of her experiment, good vocals and personality. Louis Miller as Bosun had lot interaction with captain and crew as he rushed around the stage, strong in action. The Captain Tempest from Reuben Elvin a powerful presence and voice, definitely in command of his ship, and falling for Miranda, good relationship. Maisie Jessop as Miranda had some very good numbers, played well to both Tempest and to her father Prospero, again strong personality. Adam Jones as Prospero had the understanding of the plot with the invasion of ‘that creature’ and the great balls of fire, and the relationship with his robot and that control. That blue-clad figure with a mind of own played to the full by Zak Barham as Ariel. And rushing around in non-stop energy with strong singing and leading the dancing, Thomas Wilson-Gotobed as Cookie just made us feel totally exhausted with his interactions and interference and just always being there at front stage movement.

But the joy of this production was the non-stop action and participation by the crew, the outcasts, the girls and the robots, as well as the named characters coping with the dialogue; this was truly a ‘company’ show with a stage filled by these talented and hyper-active youngsters giving their all in total involvement and dedication. And well done to those who inspired and worked with them.