Hotline is effectively an auditory blend of the lunar fantasies of Georges Méliès with an informative and sometimes amusing secret history of spaceflight. After an exciting opening, not unlike an Adam Curtis documentary without the pictures, we meet a mysterious star creature, Oxmo, and two US women astronauts who together create a ‘choose your own adventure’ type trip to the moon. Depending on the decision you make other space characters are encountered- some real, some fantastical. Information about space and the history of lunar travel unwinds over a lively 40 to 45 minutes, interspersed with comical advertisements and sometimes simple puzzles.
Despite references to Wikipedia, the research behind Hotline feels a little thin – no non-Americans here, not even the first woman in space – and several of the “choices” are simply instructions. As an entertaining, if superficial introduction to lunar travel for young adults Hotline works reasonably well but the sound quality is often poor and the journey might become confusing and peter out. Which mine did. And that may be because I made poor choices. You might make better ones. And you might have a better journey.
Review by Louis Mazzini
HOTLINE is an interactive theatre piece inspired by the legendary phone call from the White House to the moon between Richard Nixon, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. HOTLINE uses the structure of a choose your own adventure story, where audiences can call in, and then make choices to determine how their experience unfolds, in reimagining the past and the future of the moon landing.
HOTLINE is a game and piece of theatre, where audiences are invited to solve puzzles with NASA’s Least Consulted Consultant Jerrie Cobb, play truth or dare with ambitious octogenarians, dream with the Almost Astronaut Ed Dwight, and hear from time-bending civil rights visionaries Ralph Abernathy and Gil Scott-Heron.
Hannah Jarrett-Scott Oxmo, the HOTLINE host
LAPS (Ladies As Pimps) Cass Ezeji & Alicia Matthews All-Powerful Moon Bitch, the moon herself.
All other parts are played by Leonie Rae Gasson, Melanie Frances, Meghan Tyler, Nima Séne.
The cast also includes teenagers and octogenarians from Platform.
Leonie Rae Gasson Joint Lead Artist and Co-Artistic Director, Produced Moon, she/her
Melanie Frances Joint Lead Artist & Co-Artistic Director, Produced Moon, she/her
Meghan Tyler Joint Lead Artist she/her/they/them
Nima Séne Joint Lead Artist, they/them
Daisy Douglas Producer, COMMISSIONED Projects, she/her/they/them
Viviane Hullin Artistic Producer, Tron Theatre, she/her
Teka Wreka, Impromptu Glasgow Graphic designer, he/him
Kevin Scott Software Developer, Sleekwater Software, he/him
Anthony Simpson-Pike Dramaturg he/him/they/them
Susan Bear Sound Designer & Engineer, she/her
LAPS (Ladies As Pimps) Band developing the character of the moon
Sarah Thom Gob Squad, Artistic Mentor, she/her
The interactive phone system is being created by Sleekwater Software.