Directed by Jos Houben, the piece does begin portentously with a mellifluous voiceover (Gavin Robertson) in which the mythological tales related to the moon are described. Dawson cleverly and comically undercuts the over-the-top nature of these opening moments, physically illustrating some of the stories, such as how werewolves are affected by the lunar cycle and how the word "lunatic" is derived from the word "lunar."
Soon, Panorama -- which is meticulously synched to Shostakovich's 10th Symphony -- has moved onto President Kennedy's famous speech about his goals for the space program. (Dawson gives a spot on visual impersonation and lip-synchs to the recording perfectly.) Once the narrative reaches the moments that the rocket has been developed and its three-man crew is primed for the launch, Panorama truly -- pun fully intended -- soars.
Dawson brings Apollo 11 into sharp focus using his right forearm while fluttering his left to indicate the flames extending from the rocket just prior to liftoff. For the capsule that carries the men toward the moon, he creates a triangle with his thumbs and forefingers. When he makes a fist with one hand and twitches the fingers of his other underneath, the lunar-lander is brought to life vividly. So much so, that when there is difficulty landing on the moon's surface, theatergoers' hearts pound with worry, even though they know the landing will be a success.