Conspiracy theories make good fodder for theatre makers. After all, a theatre is often a place to suspend belief and go with whatever flight of fancy is placed in front of you.
Apollo: Take 111 takes as its premise possibly the greatest of all conspiracies; that the moon landing never really happened, but was in fact a fabrication by the government. It’s a show that has its fun moments, but it’s also a show that frustrates with its rather strange obsession with trying to be just that little too quirky, a little too clever. Why, for instance, the need to have characters deliberately fluff their lines, stepping in and out of a scene, repeating a line until they get it right. “Hello sweet woman…” pause, steps out, walks back in, “Hello sweet, hold on, hold on, I can get this right”, pause, start again, “Hello sweetheart”. It’s an hour show, your subject matter is rife for humour and yet time is lost with this type of line that distracts from the heart of the show.
The plot sees Stuart James, a dull government employee whose current job is deeming which moustaches are allowed and which fall foul of being too communist, being tasked with the job of getting an American on the moon. But with just a week to do so, the inspiration to instead film it in his basement takes hold. Enter Steven Kosminski, famed director of Space 2011, and his misfit bunch of actors.
When it works well it shows great promise. The parody of filming the first steps, the all-American male actor uttering the immortal line, “one small step for me, one bigger step for everyone else” is wonderful and inventive. Calling your actor Brick just so the director can utter the phrase “cue brick” is another little moment of beauty that just even more questions those superficial moments.
And it’s those pointless moments that are impossible to get over. Why, just why? As for the two Russians. I have no real idea quite what their point was. We can only assume the writer forgot about them at some point, quickly adding in a few lines at the end to explain their earlier scene.
Apollo take 111 isn’t a bad play. Rather it’s one that feels like it wasn’t quite ready in time for Edinburgh. The concept is great and there is enough to suggest it could be so much better. Just right now it isn’t quite the funny conspiracy play Edinburgh is wating on.
Written and directed by: Tom Proffitt
Produced by: Strickland Productions
Boooking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/apollo-take-111
Playing until: 26 August 2019