Arts-Louisville Reviews
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Performing Arts

January 24, 2015
 

The Galaxy Can Be A Funny Place

douglasadams

Author Douglas Adams

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Radio Plays Live (Parts 1 & 2)

By Douglas Adams
Directed by Sterling Pratt

Review by Annette Skaggs

Entire contents copyright © 2015 by Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.

As you walk into the performing space of The Alley Theater you are greeted with a stage set with two loveseats, a middle table, microphone stands and a two tables, front and center, with all kinds of paraphernalia on it, that serve as the effects. Also, you don’t realize it until you sit down with your refreshments from their commissary that the show has already started, sort of.

Before long Joey Arena, (The Book/Foley Artist/Narrator) approaches a microphone and with dulcet tones announces the countdown to the beginning of the program. Behind him he has a talented assemblage of actors ready to take their cues.

I am going to be honest and tell you I went into this show blindly. I’ve never read, seen or heard any Hitchhiker’s Guide iteration. Sure, I’ve heard and seen pop culture references but that’s all. So, yeah, I was a little lost at first, but I quickly started to figure it out a bit and it is smart. I can see why it became such a hit, albeit of cult following.

Enter Arthur Dent (Denis Griner), an Englishman standing up to the construction workers who are about to bulldoze his house so that a bypass can be built. In the meantime Ford Prefect (John Aurelius), Arthur’s friend suggests a trip to the pub as he has news to share. While at the pub Ford tells Arthur that he is in fact an alien and that the world is about the end.

In disbelief, Arthur returns to his house to see it demolished and above him the arrival of the Vogon Constructor ships, with their leader Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz (Tom Dunbar) announcing the end of Earth so that the creation of a Hyperspace Bypass could be made. There is panic and Ford uses his alien ways to hitch a ride onto one of the space vehicles.

While hiding on the ship Ford shares the pearls of wisdom that are contained in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy before being captured by the Vogons and punished by poetry reading. When asked what they thought of the poetry they tried to convince Prostetnic of his poetic abilities, but they were still thrown out.

While hurtling in space for a very short time, they were soon picked up by the starship Heart of Gold whereupon we meet Trillia (China Hepburn), Zaphod Beetlebrox (Scott Davis) and Marvin (Tom Dunbar), an android.

After a series of interesting events and stories the lives of all of the ship mates become quickly interwoven into some funny conclusions. Well, except for maybe Marvin.

If you are a fan of the Hitchhiker series, I recommend this funny and insightful production. Through the use of, for the most part, low tech gadgetry to create sound effects to the comical accents, most notably Tom Dunbar, who as Prostetnic sounded like either Hanz or Franz of Saturday Night Live fame, and it added a whole different level of comedy.

If you think that all of the action happens at the microphone, don’t. Remember we are looking into a radio studio’s fishbowl through a one way mirror. Absolutely fun to watch.

All of the actors seem well suited to their characters and you can tell they are having a good time and I think that you will too, although, I may have missed a reference about a towel.

A quick tip of the hat to The Alley Theater, in that we know how small and family-like the acting community is here in the Louisville area and help is doled whenever possible, Mr. Arena announced that proceeds from the show were going to go to help out the son of one of their own who was just diagnosed with an aggressive illness. Class act.

Bravo Tutti

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Radio Plays Live (Parts 1 & 2)

January 24-31, 2015

The Alley Theater
633 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Alleytheater.org

 

Annette Skaggs

Annette Skaggs is a heavily involved Arts Advocate here in Louisville and freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York Opera and Northwestern University. She has a 25+ year knowledge of the Classical Arts.




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