Students offer rock ‘n’ roll and kitsch

Duchess's High School.'Return to the forbidden planet.'Picture by Amber Brown.
Duchess's High School.'Return to the forbidden planet.'Picture by Amber Brown.
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The acting and singing talent at a north Northumberland high school will be showcased again next month as students head into deep space.

The Duchess’s Community HIgh School returns to the Alnwick Playhouse stage for their run of performances of the renowned West End show, Return to the Forbidden Planet, from Wednesday, March 5, until Saturday, March 8.

This musical, which borrows some of the classic songs of the ‘50s and ‘60s including Good Vibrations, Wipeout and Only The Lonely, is set aboard the scientific spacecraft The Albatross heading off into deep space, led by the charismatic Captain Tempest and his hotch-potch space crew.

Ably assisted by his Russian 1st Officer Bossun, the ship’s cook Cookie and his two-faced science officer Gloria, their mission is to explore the galaxy.

Unfortunately, the first planet they stumble across is the mysterious D’Lyrria.

Forced to land by a mysterious tractor beam, the crew soon learn that this is home to the long-lost Dr Prospero, one-time genius of the space federation, his beautiful daughter Miranda and their rather excitable robots, Ariel and R2Dont2.

Chaos soon ensues when the ship is attacked by a frightening monster.

Will the crew survive and will music save their mortal souls?

Join the crew of the SS Albatross at the Alnwick Playhouse to find out.

Martin Allenby, assistant headteacher responsible for English and drama at the Duchess’s Community High School, said: “Following on from our successful recent musicals, Grease and Back to the 80s, we are excited to once again be taking to the Playhouse stage.

“We have some exciting new talent on show this year and we hope that they can continue the school’s long tradition of strong theatrical performances.”

Performances begin at 7.30pm for the evening shows and the run contains a matinee performance on Saturday, March 8, at 2pm.

Tickets cost £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and £6 for children/students.

They are selling well and can be purchased from the Alnwick Playhouse box office, by phone on 01665 510785 or online from

Return to the Forbidden Planet is a jukebox musical by playwright Bob Carlton, based on a combination of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the 1950s science-fiction film Forbidden Planet, which itself used The Tempest as the loose basis for its plot.

It started life with the Bubble Theatre Company as a production for open-air performance in a tent.

A revised version of the musical opened, indoors, at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in the mid 1980s before it moved to London and the Tricycle Theatre.

After some further work, a final version opened in London’s West End in September 1989.

It won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in both 1989 and 1990.