Theatre Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show Live!

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There won’t be many shows where even the warning about using mobile phones raises a laugh, but not many shows will threaten people with Vogon poetry.

Which is, as any good hitchhiker knows, the third worse form of poetry in the universe.

Since being created by Douglas Adams in the late 1970s, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has achieved cult status.

Starting life as a radio show, it spawned books, stage shows, a TV series, comics and more recently received the big budget Hollywood treatment.

However, the show is back out on tour with members of the original radio and TV cast and on Friday night headed to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre for the first of two performances across two nights.

The cast was led by Simon Jones, starring as Arthur Dent - the last human to leave Earth before it was destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route.

(All this five minutes before the conclusion of a10 million year program to find the ultimate question).

Comedian Phill Jupitus appeared as the guest star of The Voice Of The Book for Friday night’s show. Tonight, actor and broadcaster Rory McGrath will take on the role.

Joining Jones were Geoff McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as Trillian and Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox with the voice of Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The first half of the show was based on the first book, which follows Dent’s escape from Earth.

The second half was based on The Restaurant at the End of the Universe which was published a year after. (Both books themselves adapted from the original radio shows).

The cast were joined by a full band, which not only played the show’s classic theme tune but also assisted with the odd musical number during the night.

A wonderful sound effects desk also faithfully recreated many noises from the radio show including the making of a legendary Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

It was thrilling to see Hitchhiker’s performed live, especially with members of the original cast.

Jones (who was naturally dressed in a dressing gown for the entire show) was fantastic as Dent – as was the dual-headed Wing-Davey.

Along with many others on the stage, they’ve had years to perfect their roles.

During the show, there was the opportunity for a spot of audience singing and one unexpected comical moment when a Vogon steamed up to the extent where he couldn’t read his lines.

Adams died in 2001 but his image was a constant on stage, displayed next to Jupitus whose style and delivery was perfect.

A standing ovation ended a show which Adams himself would have surely been proud of.

Tonight’s show starts at 8pm. Tickets cost from £19.50 to £26.50.

To book, call Box Office on 01064 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.