We Apologise for the Inconvenience
So on a damp Friday night and I’m sitting on the back row at the tiny 3MT in Afflecks. Strangely this place is still a bit unknown, but this small theatre is well worth checking out because it presents a wide range of productions and is a stalwart of the fringe theatre scene.
Tonight I am here to see a play about Douglas Adams, or more accurately about Douglas Adams battle with writers block and his somewhat legendary coping mechanism of sitting in the bath for hour after hour.
The play opens in a London hotel in which Douglas is a prisoner of his editor, staying in the adjoining room, not to be released until the book is completed...
He was supposed to have delivered the script for the ‘So long and thanks for all the Fish’ about a year earlier and yet here we are still with little more than a pile of notes and some ideas, far from a finished manuscript.
Douglas, played by the very tall Adam Gardiner, enters wearing a dressing gown and wiping the last of the foam out of his ears with a towel (this is a good game throughout ‘spot the HGTG reference’, there are lots...).
And we are off, Douglas explains what is happening, how this happened, what he can do and his one minor annoying problem, writers block. The unseen omnipresent editor door knocking is reminder that time is passing by and it might even be that the play, while one piece, is in fact a series of events happening in the hotel room during his incarcerated stay.
We are soon introduced to a new character a Duck, actually this is Douglas’ imagination turning his bath-time rubber duck friend into walking, talking and possibly multi-dimensional being, played by Rob Stuart-Hudson.
Now the dialog changes to reflect Douglas’ own internal struggle with writing, publishing and the American film making engine. Plenty of good jokes abound and the argument about PG Wodehouse is a joy to hear, at almost anytime.
Of course we already know the outcome. Douglas does in fact manage to finish the book, escapes the hotel and goes on to produce more HGTG scripts and a couple of books about a holistic detective, sadly leaving this mortal coil in May 2001.
As a HGTG fan his two hander play is a fun way to while away an hour, or so, and I can thoroughly recommend it if only for the best bath-time joke ‘displacement’.
Not that much Douglas Adams stuff happens these days, so go grab your towel, you’ll know where your ticket is of course, and look out for this Mark Griffiths play in London and Cambridge in the coming months.
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