Fantastic journey is a scientific mash-up

A play that quite literally gets inside your head, besides again proving bite-sized drama can be as satisfying as any meal deal of theatre.
A Journey Round My SkullA Journey Round My Skull
A Journey Round My Skull

The audience here go under the surgeon’s knife to experience, through wireless headphones, the sound effect of brain surgery being carried out on a mannequin’s head on stage. Far from sending them all screaming for the exits it is the mesmerising climax of a strange and compelling love story – or should that be a lobe story?

Actress and co-writer 
Olivia Winteringham is 
Judith, a doctor whose relationship with a troubled patient is at the heart of the tale.

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With fellow writer Nick Walker she has fashioned a one-woman story that gently, and cleverly, reverse-engineers the legend of Frankenstein’s Monster.

This time a mid-European medic creates a functional human being out of a man whose brain tumour had turned him into a reckless beast. But in doing so she pays her own emotional price.

He’s having auditory hallucinations, memory lapses and even more disturbing events.

All this is turned into a remarkably concise and compelling hour of theatre, only heightened by the immersive experience provided by those headphones.

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Winteringham makes a coolly persuasive medical practitioner and Iain Armstrong’s sound design provides a startlingly intimate immersion into the effect of wide-awake surgery.

It’s often darkly funny, and if nothing else it will teach you more about the functions of the brain than you might normally have expected from a night out at the theatre.

A lot of time and ingenuity has been invested into what is essentially still small-scale theatre and it pays dividends far beyond those origins. Not least, and evidently, in its appeal to a younger audience who revel in the way it mashes up neuro-science and stark emotion.

David Upton