Newtowne Players Return to the Forbidden PlanetBy Lisa Kay Morton • Nov 13th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Newtowne Players in Lexington Park, MD opened last week with their jukebox musical production of Return to the Forbidden Planet. A young community theater group located in St. Mary County, the Newtowne Players have been ambitious in finding and developing talent in the county.
Veteran actor & director Dave Bayles and co-director Leslie Wanko presented an intriguing evening of Shakespeare, Star Trek and Doo-wop all integral elements to the script. The script is a treasure trove for those audience members versed in Shakespeare, classic rock and roll or Star Trek trivia. It is a little more challenging for those who are not familiar with the recurring references, puns and illustrations.
The show featured a well crafted spaceship, excellent technical effects, and outstanding costumes. The production suffered a few minor technical set backs (the cue list probably looked like that for a NASA space odessey) but offered some innovative moments.
Music Director Krys Baker kept a tight ship with her band although the doo-wop singers and the soloists were at times hard to hear. The cast offered a consistent level of musicianship and energy to the show that served the script well.
Casting, although unorthodox, showcased the outstanding talents of two actresses playing male roles. Jessany Fogle played the ingenue male role with aplomb and style and actress Jennifer Meisinger was outstanding as the male robot – Ariel. The singers were somewhat limited musically as the music was scored for male voices and was too low for both the women.
Overall, the production was entertaining and engaging. Notable performances included the energetic and charismatic Dr. Prospero (John O’Laughlin) and the well-sung Tempest (Patrick Welton). Keep an eye on this young theater company as they continue to contribute quality community theater to St. Mary’s County.
Newtowne Players performs at the Three Notch Theatre – the former Lexington Park Library. Three Notch Theatre is located at 21744 South Coral Drive, Lexington Park, MD.
Return to the Forbidden Planet performances are November 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22, 2008 — 8:00 p.m. and November 9, 16, and 23, 2008 — 3:30 p.m.
For more information visit their website at newtowneplayers.org or call 301 737 5447.
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