Creator of Return to the Forbidden Planet Bob Carlton travels back in time

4th April 2015

Click Image to Enlarge


The writer/director of the hugely successful, Olivier award-winning musical Return to the Forbidden Planet, which takes Shakespeare’s The Tempest into outer space with actor/musicians playing hits of the 1950s and 1960s. As the cult hit celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new UK tour, Carlton (who also directed the original production and others in between) speaks to Judi Herman about the show’s genesis and creation — and gives an insight into creative marketing before the age of the internet and social media. Recorded at the Mediterranean Café, Soho, 5 March 2015.

When I wrote it, it was the plot that came first and then the songs suggested themselves. I didn’t try and write a scene around Great Balls of Fire. I took Shakespeare’s actual tempest scene in The Tempest and thought “What’s the obvious song?” If you’re in outer space it’s going to be an asteroid storm so therefore it’s obvious to use Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire, which is cut around Shakespeare’s tempest scene.