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A Journey Round my Skull

August 19th, 2014 | by edfest
A Journey Round my Skull

Inspired by Frigyes Karinthy’s medical memoir, A Journey Round my Skull is an engrossing and cumulatively intimate theatrical experience, using aural technology to place the audience in the role of disorientated patient.

Neurosurgeon Julia, the only character onstage, details our medical history – the brain tumour makes us prone to memory-loss, as well as auditory hallucinations – and gets inside our heads.

At the centre of the piece is a brain surgery, definitely the production’s standout sequence. Fed a glorious soundscape through headphones, it’s uncertain which is more uncomfortable: the buzzing and drilling of medical instruments, or Julia’s closeness as she speaks soothingly into our ears, via an illuminated dummy head fitted with headphones. Using binaural sound recording, the team have created a frighteningly realistic experience, as the noises pan around our heads in sync with Julia’s movement onstage.

Olivia Winteringham is fabulous as Julia: sternly witty, composed and hypnotic throughout, lulling us into eerie, paralytic attentiveness. Although the romance element is slightly pulpy, it’s well-handled within the production, and overall the level of creative coherency is really impressive, from the tight set with pleasing colour scheme to the low-level lighting controlled through lamps onstage to the excellent sound design.

Well worth seeing if you fancy an immersive piece of theatre with a scientific slant.
Words: Hilary White

A Journey Round my Skull, Summerhall, Aug 1 – 24 (not 4, 11), 21:00