I was lost in space when I appeared to be about the only one at The Waterside Theatre last night who didn’t know Douglas Adams’ epic stories by heart, line by verbatim line.
There is a certain type of person who thrilled at reading Adams’ strange and wonderful books and, I’m sure they won’t be offended, if I said they turned out in force to watch the radio show at the Aylesbury venue.
This is science fiction for the prog rock generation. It takes you, at warp speed, through the solar system that only existed in the author’s strange imagination. Even the vernacular is strangely authentic-sounding though just as bizarre as Dr Who or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
The comedy starts with the audience staring at an old fashioned radio and listening to an interview Adams gave years ago explaining the concept behind his enormously successful creation. It was a rather slow and lacklustre way to go about an opening but didn’t seem to disappoint the fans.
We’re then blasted into outer space where, with the help of narrator Phill Jupitus, we meet Arthur Dent, a jovial and well spoken man in a plaid dressing gown who had just been settling down for the night with a cup of tea in cosy suburbia when his best friend (and covert alien) Ford Prefect whisks him into deep space just seconds before the earth is destroyed.
He then goes on a jaunt around the solar system meeting strange creatures and facing imminent death (several times) along the way.
The comedy veers from the droll to the wildly absurd and, like Rocky Horror, has its own set of rules which are known to followers (having a towel in space is, apparently, is a very important bit of kit).
The whole thing is barking mad but hugely enjoyable. As a space virgin, who has never encountered the Guide before, I was hooked.
The production takes the form of a radio show so the cast, including originals Simon Jones (as Dent), Geoff McGivern (Prefect), Mark Wing-Davey and Susan Sheridan, stand in front of mics with their scripts in their hand, delivering the story, aided by a superb band and the narrator.
It’s about as original as you can get and funny from blast off to touch down.
Playing tonight at The Waterside. For tickets call the box office 0844 871 7607 or go online www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury