Review by Ian McArdell
With the third and fourth instalments of Red Moon, The Wireless Theatre Company’s six-part alternate history take on the space race, the conspiracy escalates and tensions spill over into action as two of our principal characters collide.
The series follows the story of Eddie Sloper (Phillip Bulcock), an embittered former MI5 agent whose quiet life in a logistics department, servicing the dominant US space programme, has been disrupted by a murder. At the same time, we have learned of dangerous glitches in the Eagle One Moonbase’s operating system, to which Dr. Susan Madison (Yasmine Holness-Dove) believes she may have the answers – if only those in charge would listen to her.
Phase III – Syzygy
Despite being warned off by his former colleague Quirke (Joe Riley), Sloper makes the decision to follow up on an anonymous tip which sees him bound for Hammersmith. At the Polish embassy, he discovers that his former Russian KGB contact Luchnik is in town – and that the Russians are deeply concerned about “the cousins” and developments inside SpaceCorp too.
Phase IV – Eclipse
Making her way to London, Dr Susan Madison brings her concerns about Eagle One to the attentions of the US Embassy, where her offers of assistance are brushed off by the sinister Mrs Jones. Subsequently, she finds herself in danger and is rescued by Sloper. The pair make an uneasy alliance and attempt an infiltration of the London SpaceCom headquarters to prove her theories about corruption in the Eagle One’s software.
Having established a world across the first two phases, the mystery now deepens and the conspiracy is gaining traction. It was great to hear Sloper and Madison together and, despite their initial mistrust, they seem to work well as a team; she brings her brains while he keeps her alive. There are some great scenes as Sloper falls back on his spycraft, with fake passports, a bank deposit box and a railway luggage locker.
I particularly enjoyed the performance of Stephen Critchlow as Luchnik whose theories on American and British motivations were very amusing. There is something compelling about the character, full of faded glory and celebratory pessimism, which put me in mind of Babylon 5’s Lando Mollari. I also enjoyed the Mrs Jones (Georgina Periam), who is utterly relentless in her protection of American secrets.
With only two episodes remaining, I cannot wait to see where this is all going!
‘Phase I: Moonrise’ is available to stream for free from Wireless Theatre’s audioBoom channel.
Subsequent episodes are available from the Wireless Theatre Company website for £1.49 each.