The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy radio show LIVE !
The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy radio show LIVE , aka Hitchhikers Live, is one of the biggest H2G2 events that happened since Douglas Adams’ death. Dirk Maggs who directed the three last radio series, has recreated the Radio series on stage. Quite a gamble!
Script reading of the Second Episode of The Hitchhiker's radio series (2008)
The Script reading of the Second Episode of The Hitchhiker’s radio series took place during The Sixth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, the 12th March 2008.
It was a faithful reproduction of the second radio episode with all the major actors of the original radio series on stage for the first time (but without Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox).
Geoffrey Perkins, who directed the original radio series, was the voice of the book in replacement of Peter Jones (who died in 2000).
Perkins did really a nice job. Sadly he died a few months later in a road accident but it’s sure that he would have make it again for Hitchhiker Live a few years later. For pictures of the event please check my gallery here
Hitchhikers Live On Stage (Hitchcon, 2009)
A second and more ambitious production was staged for the Hitchcon that took place in October 2009.
It was a 1h30 long adaptation of the first radio series with all the original actors still alive (with Mark Wing-Davey this time).
The special effects were made live by Dirk Maggs and Ken Humphrey. And Dirk Maggs added some visual gags (the mice wore some Mickey ears, Zaphod really had a second head and third arm,…).
Eoin Colfer, who wrote H2G2 part 6, played The Dish of the Day and was rightfuly eaten.
The whole experience was great, very energetic, and of course skillfully played.
Hitchhikers Live, the 2012 tour
35 dates in UK and 35.000 spectators
The 2012 tour was almost two months long. The tour began in Glasgow the 9th June to end at Edinburgh the 21st July.
Most of the main actors from the original radio series were part of the tour. Simon Jones (Arthur), Geoffrey McGivern (Ford), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod), Susan Sheridan (Trillian) and Stephen Moore (Marvin) took again on their role that they first played in 1978.
There was also a live band on stage. They started the show with Pink Floyd’s “One of these days”. Grand! Regarding the Voice of the book, it was played by different high profile personalities and actors (some of them played in several dates).
The show was more than two hours long, and the text was based on various bits of Hitchhiker (and not in the expected order), and featured also some new text especially written by Dirk Maggs for the show… and songs.
And the result was quite an experience. As I wrote in my review of the London performance of the show “We still have the actors playing on stage in front of mics with their scripts in their hands (it’s a live radio show, not a theatre play). But there is a real set with lot of props, screens in the back, a live band in the left corner, the sound effect counter (on rollers!), and the narrator club chair in the right corner… Hitchhiker’s Live is not just audio, we have a lot of things going on on the stage. Dirk Maggs and Ken Humphrey do most of the sound effects live with various and often funny objects. The sound effects are indeed as much sound than visual jokes”.
Each show could be bought on Hitchhikers Live website during one week (UK residents only). A fair amount of official merchandising was also produced including a towel, a babel fish USB key, a beautiful Souvenir Brochure, t-shirts, mugs,…
The tour was a big critical and public success and attracted 35.000 spectators. The day after the end of the 2012 tour, the producers announced that the show will be back in 2013.
2012 dates / Town / Voice of the Book
Fri 08-Jun-12 / Glasgow / Billy Boyd
Sat 09-Jun-12 / Glasgow / Billy Boyd
Sun 10-Jun-12 / Newcastle / Billy Boyd
Tue 12-Jun-12 / Birmingham / Phill Jupitus
Thu 14-Jun-12 / Basingstoke / Phill Jupitus
Fri 15-Jun-12 / Northampton / Phill Jupitus
Sat 16-Jun-12 / Northampton / Rory McGrath
Mon 18-Jun-12 / Liverpool / Roger McGough
Tue 19-Jun-12 / Liverpool / Roger McGough
Wed 20-Jun-12 / Leicester / Jon Culshaw
Thu 21-Jun-12 / Nottingham / Christopher Timothy
Fri 22-Jun-12 / Cardiff / Phill Jupitus
Sun 24-Jun-12 / Plymouth / Rory McGrath
Tue 26-Jun-12 / Woking / Clive Anderson
Wed 27-Jun-12 / Woking / Clive Anderson
Thu 28-Jun-12 / Bromley / Andrew Sachs
Fri 29-Jun-12 / Bromley / Andrew Sachs
Sat 30-Jun-12 / Bromley / Andrew Sachs
Sun 01-Jul-12 / Oxford / Roger McGough
Mon 02-Jul-12 / Manchester / John Challis
Tue 03-Jul-12 / Manchester / Jon Culshaw
Wed 04-Jul-12 / Manchester / Jon Culshaw
Thu 05-Jul-12 / York / John Challis
Fri 06-Jul-12 / Llandudno / Christopher Timothy
Mon 09-Jul-12 / Aylesbury / Phill Jupitus
Tue 10-Jul-12 / Aylesbury / Phill Jupitus
Thu 12-Jul-12 / Brighton / Roger McGough
Fri 13-Jul-12 / Brighton / Roger McGough
Sat 14-Jul-12 / Brighton / Hugh Dennis
Sun 15-Jul-12 / Southampton / Hugh Dennis
Mon 16-Jul-12 / Cambridge / John Lloyd
Tue 17-Jul-12 / Cambridge / John LLoyd
Wed 18-Jul-12 / Southend / John Challis
Thu 19-Jul-12 / Hackney / Terry Jones
Sat 21-Jul-12 / Edinburgh / Neil Gaiman
Hitchhikers Live, the 2013 tour
Hichhikers Live 2013 hit the road the 14th September. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live was back for a two and a half month tour in UK starting the 14th September in London and finishing the 30th November in Milton Keynes.
Almost the entire casting was back. Sadly Mark Wing-Davey, the original Zaphod, won’t be here this time. But fear not. We get a valuable replacement : Mitch Benn. Otherwise, Simon Jones, Geoff McGivern, Susan Sheridan, Stephen Moore were all back !
The Voice of the Book was incarnated by a lot of talented people (some of them were already part of the last tour) : Neil Gaiman, Clive Anderson, Colin Baker, Billy Boyd, John Lloyd, Jon Culshaw, Miriam Margolyes…
The Radio Theatre Company deeply regret to announce the immediate cancellation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show 2013 Tour. Tonight’s performance at The Hawth, Crawley and tomorrow’s at the Watford Colosseum will not take place, nor will any of the remaining scheduled shows in October and November. Ticket holders are being contacted and should contact venues for refunds.
Although a well-loved show, Hitchhiker’s Live has been subject to the same extreme economic pressures as many productions touring the UK this autumn. Ticket sales across the board have been lower than average and we have not escaped this trend. A difficult financial environment for such a large and technical show means that covering operating costs has become impossible. As a result in the last 24 hours we have had no option but make the extremely hard and painful decision to stop the tour.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and share the extreme disappointment and frustration felt by many who were looking forward to seeing the show. we sincerely hope that it can be brought back in the future.”
H2G2 Live special at BBC Radio Theatre (2014)
Saturday 29th March, the cast reunited for a special H2G2 Live event at the BBC radio theatre. The event was part of Radio 4’s Character Invasion program.
The program was adapted and directed by the quite unique Dirk Maggs and starring all the main actors from the original radio series : Simon Jones (Arthur), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphd), Stephen Moore (Marvin), Sue Sheridan (Trillian) and Geoffrey McGivern (Ford). And the original producer John Lloyd was The Voice of the Book.
Here is a short review from H2G2 expert, David Haddocks :
” The show was 75 minutes so not the full presentation of what toured in 2012 and 2013 and they did most of the visual side of the sound effects you will be aware of if your saw it in a theatre. At the end of the Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster mixing Mark got a straw stuck in his glasses so there is an extra big laugh that means nothing to the radio audience. Dirk was somewhat stressed by having to keep to a set time and at one point indicated to the cast to stretch things out a bit. I am not sure if this prompted Geoff and Toby to throw in the extra deja vue joke that looked to confuse Simon momentarily, but he handled it with aplomb even if he did end up reading from Toby’s script rather than his own. At the end there was a standing ovation and the cast were joined on stage for the curtain call by Stephen Moore and he gave the Marvin robot a kiss.”