Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy comes to Northampton - Interview with Simon Jones

MHDE'Simon Jones'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at Royal and Derngate, Northampton
MHDE'Simon Jones'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at Royal and Derngate, Northampton

THE Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is coming to the stage at Northampton next month.

The original cast of the Radio 4 series created by Douglas Adams, which later spawned a book, TV series and film, will perform the radio scripts at the Royal and Derngate on Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16.

Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent in the original production, said the new incarnation gives the cast a whole new way to experience the show.

He said: “We performed the script in front of an audience at a Douglas Adams memorial lecture and we were getting laughs. All of us in the original cast were looking around at each other and we were experiencing something new.

“We had never performed it in front of a live audience as in previous versions, we had performed in front of the technicians and sound engineers who were looking very bored, so it was wonderful to see an audience laughing and enjoying themselves.”

The new production will see Geoff McGivern, Susan Sheridan, Mark Wing-Davey and the voice of Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android reunite for the show which tours throughout June and July

Peter Jones, who was the original voice of the book, died in 2000 and his part will be played by Phil Jupitus on Friday and Rory McGrath on the Saturday.

Simon added: “There will be other things to see on the stage rather than just how kind or otherwise the ravages of time have been to us.

“There will be an orchestra and a brand new Marvin built by the same people that do the monsters on Doctor Who, so it should look fantastic.”

He hopes the new show will help people to understand the real meaning behind Douglas Adams story.

Simon said: “I think it is a shame a lot of people just saw Hitchhikers as a science fiction piece but what Douglas wrote was based on the irritations of modern day life.

“The Vogons, who appear at the start of the show, are based on every single bureaucrat ever seen and to the point where we have bureaucrats in every day life and when you ring up to complain, there’s one answering the phone at the other end.

“You could argue there’s a Vogon running the country at the moment.”

Simon’s career has been closely linked to that of Douglas as the former was responsible for his big break.

He said: “I was a third year at Cambridge and he was a first year and he was desperate to get into the Footlights revue show which has given us the likes of John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Graeme Garden.

“He had written this sketch which I rather liked but nobody else on the committee did. But I was the president so it went in.

“Much later on, he asked me if I would like to play the last man on earth in a science fiction comedy he had written and at the time, I was grateful for the £25 or however much it was at the time.

“When I took the job, I never thought this role would follow me for the rest of my life into the television and film series.”

Tickets for the show cost between £19.50 and £26.50 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.