Theatre review: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live

Off to Woking last night to see the latest stop of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show, featuring original cast members Simon Jones (Arthur Dent), Geoff McGivern (Ford Prefect), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox), Susan Sheridan (Trillian), with Stephen Moore providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The idea of this show is to provide something of a ‘greatest hits’ from the five radio series. In this, it is partially successful, but doesn’t really have much appeal to those who have no prior knowledge of the original plot(s) whether from the radio, TV, books, or the film. For committed fans, it is a pleasure to see the original cast at work, and there are several delights within the show (Marvin’s songs, Milliways, the making of a Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster, the singalongs from the drinks machine and the Krikket superstar, Colin the Security Robot, as well as many key lines from the first two series in particular).

The show opens with the resident band leading from some Dr Who strains into the ‘Journey of the Sorcerer’, the theme used for the series, accompanied by flashing lights. Clive Anderson, the ‘Voice of the Book’ for Woking, takes up his place in a comfy chair, and then the show starts proper. Simon Jones of course wears the dressing-gown, even if the Vogon fleet lines are now a bit stale with over repetition. Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod briefly appears with two heads but soon ditches the prop, but remains in coloured socks and a skirt in keeping with the Galactic President’s terrible dress sense. Susan Sheridan is a glamorous granny.

The idea of staging the radio show for a live audience has paid off and pleased its core audience, and as the ‘Share and Enjoy’ corporation might say, if you don’t enjoy – stick your head in a pig! Now I’m off to make a nice cup of tea …