The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy Radio Show... Live! Review
The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy, Radio Show Live! 12 June 2012: Birmingham Alex Theatre
The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, really fills a place in the Physical Product given the number of different products and memories it fulfils, so when the chance came to see the Live version of the Radio Show, going down was a call that was always going to happen.
Perhaps surprisingly no one fancied joining me for the evening, and I suppose when I mingled there it was full of people a bit older than me, appropriately nerdy, and so a felt pretty much at home. Having got the ticket late, I got a restricted view (very slightly) which gave actually a cracking view and position, win, settled down and tried to listen to a not very easy to hear radio interview of Douglas Adams, an amazing man. Then it kicked off, with Phil Jupitus hamming it up appropriately as the book, sat in a very Douglas Adams armchair, with standard lamp and coffee table.
The show was a little unusual as it was a live recording of a radio show.....the clues in the question.....and the artists performing were most of the actors who appeared in the original series. In particular seeing Simon Jones playing Arthur Dent in person, having loved him in the TV series was a joy. In fact once I had got used to the difference in voice in the book from the Radio show I was virtually reciting the first half word for word, which made the experience really unusual, as the quirkiness of the narrative is not so quirky it's now part of who I am.
It took me back to the trips around Europe with Mom and Dad in the caravan where we would all either listen to the tape together or I would bung it into my (cheap imitation of a ) Walkman with big orange spongy headphones. I would while away the hours and hours on the autoroutes, blissfully ignoring what was going on around me, wanting to get to the south of France beaches / home again. I've been to most places in Europe, and have memories of virtually none due to reading books and having my headphones on.
The interval (punctuated with some popcorn) was followed by a great reengineering of the legend of the Hitchhikers books (I believe by the man who adapted the original radio plays), sewing different acts together in different orders keeping the second half really fresh, which was much appreciated.
The highlight for me was Marvin, built very much in a retro style, reminding me of an old Bush radio, with the usual voice (he seems to be being kept a secret as there is not a single picture of him on the net as far as I can see). By the end he had joined the memorable ranks of the other versions, film, book, TV show. And the encore song he sang wrapped the performance up nicely. Amazing how affectionately you can feel towards a fictitious paranoid android.
A nice way to top off the physical products from Hitchhikers, books (coffee table and novel) videos, dvd's, cassettes and already complemented by mp3's and shortly to come the Radio Show Live performance on mp3.