Return to the Forbidden Planet receives rave reviews

Students and staff at the Anglo European School have been on an intergalactic mission this week to recreate Shakespeare’s little known rock and roll classic; “Return to the Forbidden Planet”; an ingenious mix of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the 1956 science fiction film “Forbidden Planet”, written by Bob Carlton in 1985. The Olivier-Award-winning rock opera is full of poplar rock ‘n’ roll songs, such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Good Vibrations” and set in space. The play is brimming with hilarious dialogue, combining sci-fi classic quips with Shakespeare soliloquy. (“two beeps, or not two beeps? that is the question”, and “But soft, what light through yonder airlock breaks?” Its energetic and talented cast engaged audiences over three nights.

On Monday, they entertained students from the local primary schools as part of Anglo European’s programme of transition activities to encourage future students to participate in the life of their new school for September. Mrs Johnson, Year 5 and 6 Leader at Ingatestone Primary School said “Watching the children perform was excellent and the children enjoyed the experience. The acting was outstanding and the props were spectacular. It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to see a performance in a secondary school setting.” Aaron Moses, aged 11 added, “It was a really good show and I enjoyed it because it was exciting. I liked the acting and the way they told the story of the Tempest in a different way.” Eleanor Ravenscroft, aged 11 “I thought the singing, dancing and acting was really well done and I had a great time watching the show.”

The cast comprises Max Rodriguez-Thorp as Captain Tempest, the romantic hero; Harry Tunningley as Cookie, the ship’s cook; Arde Alexander-Sefre as Dr Prospero, a mad scientist; Julie Loustaunau as Ariel, Dr Prospero’s loyal robot, Olivia-Rose Deer as Science Officer, Elliot Graziano as Bosun Arras, Sophie Meikle as Navigation Officer and Emmy Bowlt as the romantic lead, Miranda.

This is a real Arts Team effort, led by Elaine Jessop (Head of Arts) whose department gained Artsmark Gold status last year; the play was directed by Julia Hicks (Teacher of Drama) and Dave Watson (Teacher of Art) and the set was brilliantly designed by the Art Department to capture the sci-fi B-Movie theme. The costumes, capturing the steam punk style were designed by Miss Turp (Teacher of Art and Textiles), ably supported by Sixth Form student Zoe Kotonou and Year 9 student, Anna Ionescou & with make-up design provided by Lower Sixth student Florence Mimms. Music was directed by Jon Gordon ably supported by Mr Wing and Mr Priestley with Mr Pattle leading sound and visuals and Mrs Ashworth running the lighting desk.

Mrs Gee, Co-Headteacher at the Anglo European School said “The school production is the pinnacle of the Arts calendar and always ends the school year in high spirits. This production has the audience singing along, foot tapping in the aisles and smiling all the way home. It’s been a triumph and full credit to the staff and students who have given up hours of rehearsal time to make this week such an amazing success.”

From a rock’n’roll robot to a green, tentacled monster (with a Mathematics (Miss Dempster) and Spanish teacher (Miss Jones), hidden within!), this was Shakespeare as Anglo students have never seen it before!