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Twin Beach Players’ Return to the Forbidden Planet

This update on Shakespeare is fun all the way to the interplanetary nether regions

From left, Ana Collins (Ariel the Robot), Anna Gorenflo (Gloria), Regan Hall (Miranda), Noah Most (Tempest), Kevin McAndrews (Prospero) and Erik Martin (Cookie) in Return to the Forbidden Planet.

Twin Beach Players’ Return to the Forbidden Planet is a howler, and I mean that in a good way. It’s original and it feels spontaneous, but a ton of work had to go into this production. The large cast, comprising 14 teenagers and one adult, take over the spacious stage for a romp that takes us out to the spatial interplanetary nether regions, and it’s fun all the way.
    To the accompaniment of some well-integrated 1960s’ rock music, Captain Tempest (Noah Most) and his crew find themselves dealing with disaster when their spaceship bumps into a hostile planet where dwells the strange fellow Dr. Prospero (Kevin McAndrews), his lovely daughter Miranda (Regan Hall) and the robot Ariel (Ana Collins). Of course, complications ensue. People fall in love: Miranda and Capt. Tempest, Cookie (Erik Martin) and Miranda. To add one more hitch to the mix, the spaceship’s Science Officer (Anna Gorenflo) just happens to be Dr. Prospero’s wife.
    If the character’s names and the plot seem familiar, it’s because you paid attention in high school when you may have read William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It’s The Tempest that provides the plot elements of this play. In 1956, the movie Forbidden Planet was released, setting a new standard for sci-fi cinema, but the movie lacked humor and used only the bare bones of The Tempest’s plot. Now, Return does the impossible: It integrates Shakespeare’s fanciful play with the humorless movie, and we have a funny, whimsical rollicking adventure that makes free use of Shakespearean dialogue.
    The cast is exceptional, every speaking role fleshed out to the max. I give a nod for outstanding effort to Kevin McAndrews as Prospero and to Erik Martin as Cookie (replaced by Chris Sharint July 1 and 2). McAndrews’ smooth acting and singing expertise provides a balance to the younger actors’ exuberance. Martin gives a priceless, pseudo-serious performance as the forlorn swain.
    The action never lags. Every audience will enjoy this play for its humor, inventiveness and originality. This production is a gem, and Director Bess Wilkins may be proud of what she’s concocted.

Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton. Directed by Bess Wilkins. Produced by Lynda Collins and Philomena Gorenflo. Set Design: Sid Curl and Bess Wilkins. Stage Managers: Bess Wilkins and Brianna Workcuff. Costumes: Dawn Dennison and Lynda Collins.

Playing F July 1 and Sa July 2 at 7pm at North Beach Volunteer Fire Dept., 8356 Bayside Rd., Chesapeake Beach. $12 w/age discounts: 443-684-2130; www.facebook.com/twinbeachplayer.�