“DON’T PANIC”, “42”, “Don’t forget your towel”, “Slartibartfast”, “Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal”, are just some of the happy memories and sayings The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy gave me during my early teenage years. I got into HHGTTG through the novelisation and only later found out it was originally a radio show, I remember saving up my pocket-money to get the radio series on cassette (remember those?) and a whole new world being opened up to me by this fabulous radio series.
The original cast has been reunited and recreate the radio show for us live on stage. So we were watching a radio show primarily. I loved seeing the sound effects table being used to recreate all the strange noises of the galaxy and this added a good dose of humour to the evening, especially in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe where we saw the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster cocktail being made up.
Throughout the tour there is a guest “Voice of the Book” each night. We had Andrew Sachs on our night, complete with smoking cap he made for a perfect voice.
The use of a live band was an excellent addition and hearing them belt out the theme song sent tingles down my spine (if you don’t know it listen to it here) they had several numbers in the show and also provided the necessary musical accompaniment throughout.
Seeing and hearing the original cast was a delight they gave their all to the performances and seemed to be having just as much fun as the audience. Stephen Moore provided the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android, but we were treated to a brand new design, which I thought was very clever (he was made out of microphones/radios and a tape player). Alas I can’t find any picture of him online to share with you.
Plenty of audience participation made for a chance for a few ad libs and added to the fun of the evening, a few audience members had gone to the effort of bringing their towels and a few came in their pyjamas and dressing gowns ala Arthur Dent, I was tempted but chickened out, so kudos to those that did!
As you can see I’m a fan of this whole galaxy and could listen to the absurdities that Douglas Adams wrote all day and night. Even so I thought this production didn’t disappoint at all, director Dirk Maggs manages to capture the radio feel of the scripts yet never forgot it was a live experience, excellent use of props and video projections made for a multi-media show that was great fun all round. If you’re a fan then I’m sure you’re catching this on tour already, if you’re not catching the tour then get your tickets asap otherwise I’ll subject you to the Vogon’s poetry.
STARS : * * * *