Review: Hotline (audio experience, Tron Theatre)

A new audio experience from Tron Theatre and Produced Moon, Hotline is an interactive piece over the telephone, concerning a call to the Moon.

Taking the space race of the mid-20th century as inspiration, this piece gives voice to those who might have gone to the Moon first (the Mercury 13, Ed Dwight, Sally Ride), the overlooked third member of Apollo 11, Michael Collins, and the “Moon Bitch” herself.

As you navigate the show by pressing nuneric options on your keyboard, different journeys take place: no two listeners should hear exactly the same show. There are fixed points in common, but each experience has them appearing at different points.

The Mercury 13
The Mercury 13

How you navigate Hotline is up to you. There are moments where historic names and facts are imparted; others where commercialism and capitalism are brought into the mix by light-hearted adverts.

The show runs between thirty-five and fifty-five minutes, depending on your choices. I found it a little long, but you can use some moments to pause. If you exit the call, you can choose to reconnect later at the same point, or start from the beginning.

Available in the UK only at the moment (although the team would like to “tour” elsewhere if possible), participants call a freephone line and follow the prompts to navigate the show. There is no cost to experience Hotline.

Apollo 11 moon landing
Apollo 11 moon landing

It will appeal to sci-fi fans, devotees of Douglas Adams, and those with an interest in space and diversity. If you wish to know about the missed opportunities for women, queer and black astronauts: this is the show to join.

Although Hotline could have taken a completely serious tone, I felt the decision to keep it fairly light was the right one. In using accessible technology like the basic telephone rather than Zoom, it allows anyone to join in.

In mirroring the call from the President of the USA to the Moon (“the most bizarre phone call ever made”), you can have you chance to boogie in the stars, or leave your own message for posterity.

Ed Dwight, first African-American in space
Ed Dwight, first African-American in space

Hotline gives you the chance to make one phone call “everything you’ve never dreamed of”. During this show you may consider issues relating to isolation, friendship, and “what ifs”.

The show is devised by Produced Moon, Meghan Tyler, and Nima Séne. The cast includes Evan Ifekoya, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, and teenagers and octogenarians from Platform Glasgow.

Hotline is available from 26 February. Register at https://www.tron.co.uk/hotline/.

Reviews of other phone based pieces: You Don’t Know Me … But | Stay Safe

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