Originally created as a radio comedy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has since been adapted into a series of best-selling books, a popular television series and more recently a major motion picture. For its stage adaptation director Dirk Maggs has created an unusual hybrid of theatre and radio featuring some of the original radio stars and audio appearances from Stephen Moore as Marvin the paranoid android, and the late author Douglas Adams. Throw into the mix a five-piece rock band and a showy audio-visual display and the result is a real treat for hardened Douglas fans.
Maggs’ adaptation is a respectable affair that features many key elements of the original story although the second half lacks pace and gets bogged down in both sentiment and philosophy. Simon Jones as Arthur Dent and Geoff McGirven as Ford Prefect appear to be enjoying themselves immensely playing the roles they created more than 30 years ago and despite a few fluffed lines, the audience warmed to them immediately with a roar of approval as the earth is annihilated to make way for a hyperspace bypass in the opening minutes of the show.
Veteran actor Andrew Sachs lends a soft tenor to the Voice Of The Book, a role that is played by a variety of guest artists throughout the tour including Terry Jones, Phil Jupitus and John Challis. Susan Sheridan as Trillian and Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod complete the original line-up while a zap of much needed energy in Act II is provided by Samantha Beart as Arthur and Trillian’s daughter, Random.