Image from the show Apollo 13 at Downstage Theatre
Photo by Dominika Zielinska

Two of our number were lucky enough to (wo)man a console each at mission control on the opening night of the new season of Apollo 13: Mission Control at Downstage Theatre. Kowhai has an interim report before Robyn’s complete report is published in the Capital Times.

Did Apollo 13: Mission Control do the business, flick my switches, get lift-off etc?

Yes, yes it did.

A great time was had at Downstage bringing our boys home with the team at mission control as the press gallery observed from above clutching their notebooks (bloody media, always asking the difficult questions…)

My companion barely had time to grab this shot on her camera before we became immersed in our roles, guiding and navigating the troubled Apollo 13 back home, enjoying the pick-a-path unpredictability of the audience participation. You can book press or mission control seating and will experience the show differently depending on which you pick, I certainly enjoyed having the switches and knobs to play with.

Being drawn into immersive theatre complete with your own 70s flashing console and space manual just works. There is just the right edge of fear and uncertainty with the roving actors getting the audience to guide, navigate and problem solve. We had a really good laugh and even lost the urge to twitter and critique for an hour or so. I can see why this show had such a successful run last time with such a wide range of people really enjoying themselves, giving themselves over to the fantasy of space travel, and rockets, and being on a ‘Mission’ with a capital M.  We saw quite a few father and son combos having a jolly good time bonding over rockets and heroics.

This would make a super staff Christmas party activity as it parodies some of the dull aspects of work but makes you feel like team work is kind of heroic.

The season goes until 18 December and you can view a video preview and get all the times and prices on the Downstage website.