For the most part on this blog I keep my posts related to film events that I feel I should talk about/review. However I need to make an exception for this, something that all British geeks should be familiar with, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I got to see the radio show performed live by the original cast.Now since there have been so many versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I don’t think I should go into the plot all that much, needless to say the plot is absolutely bonkers and the writing of Douglas Adams is some of the funniest British writing that you will ever be likely to see. The way this version of HHGG stands out is through the cast.
Since the main cast have been doing this since the 1970s, they are all very familiar with their characters and as such are fully able to get into the mindset of their characters when they read the script, even dressing like their characters, mainly Simon Jones who wears a dressing gown throughout the show. Jones, Mark Wing Davey, Susan Sheridan and Geoff McGivern are fantastic as Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian and Ford Prefect respectively. There are 2 standouts in the show though, one of them is Stephen Moore as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android who is just as miserable as you would expect. The other is Jon Culshaw as the guest voice of the Guide. Culshaw is hilarious, whenever he cocked up any of his lines he started impersonating people, from Brian Cox (the scientist not the actor) to Patrick Moore and even to K9 and Obi Wan Kenobi. This string of impressions combined with the brilliant impression of Peter Jones that Culshaw does throughout and the completely straight delivery of all of his lines makes Culshaw a joy to listen to as the Guide.
Being that it’s a stage version of a radio show, the sound effects are very important in getting across the feel of the world and that’s where the foley artists come into effect who use different props laid out on a table to create all of the sound effects of the show with these props ranging from jugs of water to rubber ducks and this random nature of the props combines with the writing of Adams to produce a completely surreal experience. This surreal experience is also compounded by the costumes that some of the cast wear, from the puppet version of Marvin that is a full realisation of what Marvin is like in design as it was in the 80’s,to people wearing Vogon masks with smoke blowing guns, to a weird bat creature that is just someone flapping an umbrella open over and over again, it just really fits the surrealist tone of HHGG and makes the show all the more funny.
In conclusion, if this show is playing near you I highly advise you to go see it and if anyone who has seen it has had someone different play the Guide (I know that Terry Jones and Neil Gaiman are planned Guides in future shows) please let me know how good that person was at playing the Guide.
My Rating: 5/5