Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield.
Ben Norris’s dad is a man of few words. In this and many other ways, he is the opposite of his son. In fact, Norris junior found he knew so little about his dad, Ray, that he decided to undertake a “coming-of-age hero quest” and hitch-hike to the towns where his father grew up, to try to unearth his story.
This show is the result, and it’s a show full of words, zig-zagging from poetic (Norris is a UK slam champion) to conversational, profound to banal. Norris tells us the names of everyone who gave him lifts, about long walks in the rain, football grounds and Travelodges and pubs his grandparents ran. But in terms of his father’s past, he tells us surprisingly little, and when he does learn something, he rushes through it and on to more words.
Norris is an energetic and engaging performer but this rambling show needs a lot more sign-posting if it is to create a journey for the audience. By the end, we are still unclear about the impulse which drove him to set out, or, indeed, if he found anything worth finding. The real Ray Norris remains an enigma.
Underbelly (Venue 61) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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