The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show Live, directed by Dirk Maggs, is an incredible production.
Before I went to see it, on Tuesday October 8th, I read a review which said the first half wasn’t as good as the second half, but I thought it was cracking stuff from start to finish, so I’m not quite sure how they could’ve come to that conclusion. Is that because there’s a handful of songs in the second half? For my money, it was pretty much everything I could’ve hoped for, given that it’s taking a number of key scenes from all the different forms of the show and turning them into a stage show whilst also retaining continuity throughout, although I’m sure the scene with the Captain of the Golgrafinchan B-Ark came earlier than it should compared to the TV show, but then it might’ve been correct according to the book.
While I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, as well as parts of the others, that was some time ago and I am mainly familiar with the TV series which I’ve watched countless times. I’ve also seen the film, of course, but the least said about that the better. It was such a mess and the only well-cast actors were Sam Rockwell as Zaphod and Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Martin Freeman played Arthur Dent way too straight and Mos Def was just NOT Ford Prefect.
When it comes to the cast, there’s no-one better for the lead of Arthur Dent than Simon Jones. I know him best from the TV show, but along the way he’s also excelled in the radio show role. Both Geoffrey McGivern and Susan Sheridan are the original radio series and are also superb here but, again, I am more familiar with David Dixon and Sandra Dickinson. I have to say that, even at 66, Ms Sheridan is looking superb for her age. Mitch Benn is quite a revelation as Zaphod Beeblebrox – this is the first time I’ve seen him in the role and, as with both Mark Wing-Davey (TV series & radio) and Sam Rockwell (film), he makes it his own, for sure.
Add to this, Toby Longworth as Slartibartfast; Andy Secombe – who I hadn’t seen before – billed on the website as Max Quordlepleen, although also performing other roles in the show, and on radio was the voice of Colin the Security Robot in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Quintessential Phase; and the stunning Samantha Béart as Arthur & Trillian’s daughter, Random, as well as operating Zaphod’s second head. Marvin the Paranoid Android is operated by Tom Alexander (billed in the programme as “Marvin’s plastic pal”) while the voice, naturally, comes from Stephen Moore. And there’s also Philip Pope, who I remember best from Channel 4’s Who Dares Wins back in the 80s, but who is the Musical Director, plays keyboards and first appeared onstage alongside Andy Secombe as, respectively, Phouchg and Loonquawl, who ask Deep Thought for the answer to the Ultimate Question.
Go to page 2 to find out who was the Voice of the Book at the show I attended, as well as a look at some of the merchandise you can buy.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.