May 23 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 15, 2012
Time travel may be something that actors in the cult radio and TV show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are used to portraying, but they will be going back in time for real in Bromley.
The original cast of the 1978 radio show will be reunited on stage at the Churchill Theatre. They will recreate Douglas Adams’ work in a new, live show of highlights from the entire Hitchhiker’s saga. “It’s 35 years,” said Simon Jones who plays the Everyman hero in a dressing gown, Arthur Dent. “I feel like the Round the Horne Kenneth Williams character going ‘it’s 35 years’.”
Jones is co-directing and performing as the man who is having a bad day as the Earth is about to be demolished to make way for an interplanetary bypass.
He is joined by former Footlights chums Geoff McGivern, who plays Ford Prefect, Arthur’s friend who turns out not to be from Guildford but a small plant near Betelgeuse, and Mark Wing-Davey. Wing-Davey plays two-headed alien Zaphod Beeblebrox who has gone off with Arthur’s love interest, Trillian, Susan Sheriden.
Jones said rehearsing was lots of fun with cast members who were like a family coming together.
They will be joined by Andrew Sachs as the Voice of the Book.
The former Fawlty Towers actor played the role when the cast were performing live at the Royal Festival Hall in 2009, celebrating 30 years of H2G2, as it is known.
Jones said: “We realised after 2009 that this live experience gave us so much extra…and we wanted to recreate it.”
Poignantly, Jones will also be playing a scene with Adams, his friend who died in 2001 aged 49. Adams will be a bat. His voice comes from previous recordings.
The two men met at Footlights when Jones auditioned him. Adams did an impression of a water pump.
“It was extremely silly and made me laugh. I was tired of all the clever stuff people were doing with references to Sartre and Keynes,” Jones added.
Adams wrote the Dent role specifically for Jones and, despite the BBC putting the radio play in a graveyard slot at 10.30pm on a Tuesday night, it became a cult hit. It resulted in a TV series, novels with sales of 15 million and audio books.
Jones is looking forward to the tour. “I am not panicking, well only mildly, and I do know where my towel is. If you see me coming on stage with it wrapped round my head then there might be a problem.”
And if you don’t know what that means, get down to the theatre between June 28 and 30 to discover the world of Hitchhiker’s. The answer is 42.
Churchill Theatre, Bromley, June 28-30 at 7.45pm. Tickets £22.50-£25. Contact the box office on 020 8464 7131.