The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy…

…Live Radio Show!

This has been coming up on our calendar for a very long time. I saw this advertised last January and bought Chris tickets then. We are a very geeky couple and can already quote great swathes of the book by heart, it is one of the reasons we were originally going out. It also means that our friends tend to lose the thread of some conversations very quickly. It serves them right for not reading the right books.

Anyway, once I saw this was on in Manchester, and with most of the original cast from the radio show performing it, Chris and I had to go!

Chris was very excited!

It was strange watching a radio show, it was like a cross between a play and an expressive reading. They had a live band and a pair of guys at the side doing all the sound effects. The ‘Book’ also had a stage of his own from which to narrate. A comet-shaped screen provided the backgrounds for various spaceships and planets as well as the visual representation of the book.

The stage did not want to be photographed!

Since, sadly, the original voice of the book has passed away they have a different actor every few nights and the book for ours was Jon Culshaw. While it was evident he hadn’t gotten much practice his ad libing was highly entertaining so no one cared. It was obvious that the actors were all having a good time as well and still got along which is always good to see. There was a large portion of audience participation to simulate any crowd scenes, we also got to sing along!

The plot added yet another version to the Hitchhikers’ Mythos with part one being basically the same as Book one and part two being all the important parts of the rest. There was a lot of time saved by just alluding to jokes as opposed to doing the whole thing but since everyone already knows the joke just the reference is hilarious.

The props  were well done and fit well with overall feeling of the show. The new Marvin was adorable (I’m sure he’d hate that) and Colin was a lit up ball on the end of a stick, but very cute. The show also featured the most expressive umbrella I have ever seen as Agrajag.

Overall it was a great night out and a fantastic production. 10/10

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Discworld Books 1 & 2

Thanks to the recent publication of Discworld book number 39, Snuff, I have decided to reread a few Terry Pratchetts.

Standard Snuff. Mine has a shiny gold dust jacket and an extra short story in it.

It’s been at least 2 years since I read many of them and the chronology can be so complicated it seemed worth reading again. Plus they’re funny. Naturally I decided to start at the beginning. I may decide to follow one story arch, such as the Guards’ so I can then read Snuff intelligibly, but for now I have read the first 2 books. Since they are essentially one book published in 2 halves I have decided to review them together.

Previously I have been less than keen on the first couple of Discworld novels. I think this problem stems from the fact that I had read several Discworld novels from much later in the series before I read the first few. Obviously this means that I was used to a much more developed world with more in-depth characterisations. Also I feel Pratchett’s writing style improves later, it’s not bad to start with but it obviously matures as he writes more. I still think that the plot of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic jumps around more than it should but now I know what to expect I found the books much more enjoyable and they do give a good starting point in terms of understanding the world. There are several things which change between the early novels and later ones but as I said before that is mostly due to the author having built up more of the world and having given it more detail. The fundamentals are there however. I prefer the fact that later Discworld novels seem to ignore our world more than these two, the sudden Earth references jar a bit I feel.

What I do find interesting is the difference in viewpoints of the main characters. I think I find myself half between Twoflowers and his rose coloured glasses outlook and Rincewind’s more practical (frightened) viewpoint. It does highlight how we look at our history and myth. Twoflowers, the Disc’s first tourist, thinks everything is ‘quaint’, ‘picturesque’ or ‘folkloresque’ and I think people are often guilty of romanticising history in the same way in novels and on tv. On the other hand seeing everything purely as it is cuts out the human element, you can’t look at a house and see it only as bricks and paint, pipes and wires. I’d see a cute cottage but also appreciate that the lack of plumbing in the 1700s would have made it a less enchanting place to live. I like how by the end of the books the two characters, while still maintaining their own opinions, have changed each other and have gained an appreciation of the alternative  viewpoints. Basically, because I’m sure I have worded all that very badly, Pratchett uses humour, as well as much appreciated references to our own folklore and heritage, to highlight some of the underlying ways people think. That or he was just having fun. Who knows?

I watched the made for tv movies of the two books a few years ago and did not enjoy them, although that opinion may have changed now I have reread the books. It was simply a case that nothing looked quite right to me.

Overall I would say that The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are enjoyable but I wouldn’t recommend them as a first read for someone who hasn’t read any Pratchett although I would say read them earlier rather than later to avoid too high an expectation. 6.5/10

 

Book 2 of the Discworld Series. Also book 2 of the Rincewind story arch.

Book 1 of the Discworld Series. Also book 1 of the Rincewind story arch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to Equal Rites…