The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family

A young man’s quest to reveal his father’s story

Ben Norris never knew much about his father, a quiet and reserved man, with a mysterious past. Hitchhiking across the country, to towns where his dad has lived and been to, is Ben’s solution to fill in the gaps. It’s an adventurous idea, but it doesn’t bring much to the stage.

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family, Norris presents the audience with a long but energetic monologue about the places he visited, how he got there (road routes included) and the names of the people who gave him lifts. The whole purpose of the play, however, remains unclear, as he reveals very little of what he actually found out about his father. At some points, it feels like we’re in the middle of a geography lesson and it’s hard to feel driven by his emotional quest.

But where the script and production fail, Ben captures the audience with his enthusiasm and with the way he interacts – by offering coffee, chocolate and even hugging a man deeply like he would do to his own father. Some questions are left unanswered, but this Hitchhiker knows how to win us over in the end.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Family

Writer-performer and UK poetry slam champion Ben Norris battles the country's most notorious service stations and the perils of lower-league football in search of the man who became his father.