Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival: The Nightline

Step into the dimly-lit world of the shift-workers, the insomniacs, the horny, those troubled by life and those so excited they simply can’t sleep


Presented by Roslyn Oades & Bob Scott, with collaborators
Reviewed 4 March 2022

Step into the dimly-lit world of the shift-workers, the insomniacs, the horny, those troubled by life and those so excited they simply can’t sleep, as The Nightline lets you listen in on those out in the world who come alive in the night.

It’s better to go in with an air of mystery still surrounding this immersive, interactive work, therefore this review won’t be long. As the audience enters a large, dimly-lit room, small and round spaced out tables, each with a 70’s rotary-dial telephone and dim, simplistic 70’s reading lamp, come into view. As the audience takes a seat and lift the receiver to their eager ear, their Nightline journey begins.

You are in control of what you listen to, as you place the telephone jack into a simple, eight-hole switchboard. Will you hear the ramblings of an inebriated man reminiscing on his childhood thievery, or perhaps an anxious young student desperate not to disappoint her parents? Maybe your ears will be filled with a loud (and quite humorous) guttural snore, or you’ll hear from the lady who sits by the window and narrates all the nightly comings-and-goings of her street. Unsurprisingly, the voices of emergency room workers and paramedics also fill the receiver, providing insight into their darkened and exhausting nights.

The phone is like a church confessional for these call-in contributors. When they call, they don’t see who receives their words, or put faces to those on the other end of the line as they communicate their pleas, hopes, longings and regrets. This allows them to open themselves up and be truly honest and vulnerable as they speak – a rarity within a world that has become so perfectly visually curated and presented on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

You just don’t know what you will experience. Perhaps a train will fly past and the lights will go out, or you’ll all share a joyful moment with those in the room, and on the phone, while simply listening in wonder to the sounds of a storm and the rain pattering down on the roof.

The experience is lauded over by a no-nonsense, librarian-like guardian who sits at a small podium watching over the night’s proceedings, and ensuring there is no talking or chatter throughout from audience members. With her hair pulled back tightly, her legs crossed sensibly and her glasses held securely on her face, she is a powerful presence that ensures this unique phone session flows smoothly and is not interfered with.

The Nightline embraces the power of voice, drawing you in with its many contributed real stories, thoughts, nightmares, wishes and dreams that fill the dark hours, so sit down, pick up the receiver, and embrace those of the night.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Venue:  Corner of Playhouse Lane & Gilles Arcade, Adelaide, 5000
Season:  4 March – 13 March 2022
Duration:  40 mins (no interval)
Tickets:  $25 – $29

Rating out of 5: 5

Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

#Adelaide #ADLFestival

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