Dirk Gently blog archive

It’s the end – but the moment has been prepared for

Kevin puts pen to paper for the last time: it’s the Dirk finale…

Well we’re here, the journey that started in July with auditions and the scripts being doled out is about to come to an end. We’ve done four shows and are in the dressing room getting mentally ready for the big finale.

This has been a great show to be a part of, both in the cast and as the production manager, blogger, delivery man and numerous other tasks that have fallen on my shoulders. I’ve learned a lot and know I’m nowhere near ready to direct on such a large scale, at least not without someone to hold my hand.

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The cast have uniformly been superb: from Paul Cresser as Dirk, wonderfully enigmatic and fully understanding the interconnectedness of everything, Paul Jones as Richard caught up in the whirlwind of the story, and Phillip DG as the forgetful professor Chronotis, in his 50th anniversary on the Nuffield stage – to Lou, Darcy and Beth as the impish Sarah complete with a yo-yo and of course the myriad of supporting players, everyone on the stage has given their all to make this the success it has been.

We were also lucky to have some amazingly talented people back stage and working on props and effects. Without the likes of Ollie, Clayton, Mike, Adam (both), Steve, Dave, and Tom we would look like fools running around in dress up. Their craft makes the unreal real and creates the illusion that we are in the world of Dirk.

All of this of course needs someone to be the puppet master, someone to pull the strings and we had someone colourful and larger than life to corral us and keep us in line. It’s not always been plain sailing, rehearsals with lots of sickness, line learning not where it should be, SFX taking a little, ahem, longer than hoped – but in the end almost 1,000 people will have left the theatre with a smile on their faces and mild feeling of confusion as they work out what they’ve just seen…

Lorraine, it’s time to get the sofa off the stairs and sit down and have a cuppa. Phew!

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Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #11

Tempus Fugit: meet Reg

Our guest blogger and SUP veteran Philip de Grouchy plays the enigmatic Professor Chronotis in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Mad Professor? Phil as ‘Reg’ Chronotis

Despite knowing little about Galaxy Guiding and Star Trekking – I am more of the ‘Dick Barton’ generation (not that I listened to him much either, I preferred reading ‘Biggles’), I am greatly enjoying my role in ‘Dirk Gently’ as Professor ‘Reg’ Chronotis.

Apart from indulging in his hobbies – which include somewhat ham-fisted conjuring tricks, smoking, leeches (?), and time travelling by abacus, Reg has managed to live for at least 200 years undetected in his Cambridge college rooms, since being appointed to his Chair by mad King George III.

img_4525.jpg Much fun has been had at rehearsals trying to video the above-mentioned conjuring tricks, involving clay pots and disappearing silver salt cellars, so that when projected on screen, the projections will show marvellous close-ups and, hopefully, distract the audience’s attention from the actually execution of the tricks on stage… IMG_4533

Reg is a delightfully shambling, forgetful character, who is nevertheless able, by intense concentration on his abacus and mathematical calculations, to transport himself and others four billion years into the past: prehistoric Earth. And, thanks to Dirk Gently’s extraordinary feats of deduction, ultimately saves… spoilers!

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Taken with a pinch of salt?

I am personally pleased to be appearing on the Nuffield (NST Campus) stage this year, it being the 50th anniversary of my first treading those venerable boards.

Quite apart from my contribution to this show, we have a highly talented company portraying many dramatic activities in the various scenes in which I don’t take part, including hypnotism, ghostly possession and murder – to mention only a few!

Dirk Gently’s Casebook – File #2

Everything you didn’t know about Douglas Adams but were afraid to ask…

Douglas Adams was a very tall man: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m). A remarkably creative man, he also stands tall in the annals of books, radio and television. Most famously, he created The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, first pitched as a BBC radio series in 1977. The Hitchhikers’ Universe later spun off from radio into books, TV, comic books, computer games, and a posthumous Hollywood movie. Featuring the adventures of Arthur Dent across space and time, it became embedded in our culture.

But did you also know he formed a writing partnership, in the early 1970s, with Graham Chapman of Monty Python fame? And that he actually made two brief appearances in the fourth series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus broadcast in 1974?

For six months, Adams was also the script editor of Doctor Who during its 17th season, in the Tom Baker era. The three stories he was involved in writing were The Pirate Planet, City of Death – which famously achieved the show’s highest ratings ever, with 16 million viewers, after strikes took ITV off air – and Shada. Production on the latter story was abandoned in 1979, again due to industrial action. However, it was recently announced that previously unmade sections of Shada had been recreated as colour animations with new voice performances. The brand new reconstructed version will be shown at the British Film Institute’s NFT1 in December 2017.

Interestingly, Adams also co-wrote scripts for the animated TV series Doctor Snuggles with producer John Lloyd, the man who created Not The Nine O’Clock News and who produced all four series of Blackadder.

With elements drawn from two of his Doctor Who stories, notably the Cambridge-set Shada, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was published in 1987. Adams described it as a “a kind of ghost-horror-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-epic, mainly concerned with mud, music and quantum mechanics.” A sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, followed in 1988.

Adams was a noted environmental activist who campaigned on behalf of endangered species. This included, in 1994, taking part in a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro whilst wearing a rhino suit. SUP Theatre Company’s production of Dirk Gently is proud to support the Save The Rhino charity.

Fascinated by religion and “a radical atheist” – his own words – Adams died of a heart attack in California in 2001, aged just 49. You can visit his gravestone, where his ashes were laid to rest, at Highgate Cemetery in north London. His memorial service was reportedly the first church service to be broadcast live on the web by the BBC. A few days before Adams died, the Minor Planet Center announced the naming of asteroid 18610 Arthurdent. In 2005, another asteroid – 25924 Douglasadams – was named in his memory.