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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Arts Theatre | [ssba]

Apollo 13: Mission Control


Downstage is not Downstage anymore. Until the 9th of March it is Mission Control at NASA (or HASA, same thing, really), and Apollo 13 is shooting for the moon. What could possibly go wrong? Apollo 13 is very much made for audience participation. Most of the audience are placed at consoles, all metal-like and shiny with flicky switches, telephones and screens, all of which actually work. The audience becomes the crew at mission control as it solves the plethora of problems plaguing the Apollo 13 Moon shot. There really is not much to be said about Apollo 13, beyond the fact that it is magnificent. The performances are universally excellent, the technology and design of the performance is beyond compare. This is a show that simply must be experienced.

The one minor niggle one is left with is that the inherent nature of the story having already happened results in an odd existential question hanging over some moments of the show. The audience is so wonderfully, perfectly and totally integrated into the work and its world, but at the same time nothing an audience will do can change the play to any major degree. It is worth emphasising that it is merely a niggle and one that only really becomes present in the work itself when members of the audience don’t go along with it, preferring to make their own little jokes so the cast have to partake in a little obvious shoehorning along of the plot. Which is sad.

But, that far from stops Apollo 13 from being anything less than a revelation. Wonderful.

Apollo 13: Mission Control
by Hackman
Directed by Kip Chapman
Designed by Brad Knewstubb
With Jason Whyte, Ashley Hawkes, Michael Whalley, Kip Chapman, Lee Smith-Gibbons and Gareth Williams

At Downstage
27 Feb – 9 March 2010

Part of the 2010 International Festival.


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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  1. Raptor says:

    Maybe we should stack the audience with people who want it to crash. Or just dress up like terrorists and demand they land the capsule in Cuba.

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