Clara 2.0 in Electroplasm
Clara 2.0 in Electroplasm

Marlborough Theatre, Brighton, 8, 9 and 10 May 2009
Music preview at Bom-Bane’s, Brighton, 6 May

Book tickets from the festival box office

At this year’s Brighton Festival Fringe, I’ll be teaming up with vocalist Jenny Angliss and psychologist Richard Wiseman for another eerie outing, in Electroplasm. This new event will be taking place in th Marlborough, a gracefully distressed Regency theatre on the edge of Kemp Town, Brighton. This video preview should give you a flavour of the show – and there’s a full description of the event below.

Richard conducting a séance
Richard conducting a séance

For those of you who haven’t met him before: Richard is a psychologist and author, specialising in the scientific study of deception, magic and seemingly paranormal phenomena. He’s also the author of the popular science book Quirkology. You can find out more about Richard’s interests on his marvellous blog, which is dutifully updated every day or so with curiosities gleaned from almost everywhere.

Electroplasm (séance, theremin and death ballads)

Sarah and Jenny Angliss (Spacedog UK) join psychologist and Quirkology author Richard Wiseman for one of the strangest shows on the Fringe. The sisters use the haunting sounds of the female voice, bells, vintage synth and theremin to coax out any resident ghosts of Brighton’s venerable Marlborough Theatre. And when their death ballads and eerie electronica have chilled the audience to the bone, the theatre will fall into complete darkness, as Wiseman invites the audience to participate in a theatrical reconstruction of a Victorian séance.

The live performers are accompanied by some unsettling home-spun automata (created by Sarah), including a robotic bell rig and Uncanny Valerie, a moving, ‘all-seeing’ 1950s doll. The music is a shameless mix of the outfit’s favourite Weill and Brel ballads, songs from British cult classic The Wickerman, some of the band’s own numbers and electronic interpretations of 13th-century tales of necromancers.

Electroplasm will be performed on 8, 9 and 10 May. Visit if you dare. The bar will be open late so participants can steady their nerves after this experience, which promises to leave even the most rational participants questioning their own perceptions.

“Drop dead brilliant’, Edgar Allan Poe

This is part of a season of events at the Marlborough Theatre, curated by Tarik Elmoutawakil (Brighton Steampunk event organiser, who also coined the marvellous word ‘Electroplasm’).

Times, dates and booking info

Dates: Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May, 2009.

Times: 9:40pm, 10:50pm and 11:55pm (3 shows a night).
The show lasts one hour and starts prompt – please meet your usher in the downstairs bar beforehand.

Venue: Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton, Brighton BN2 1RD (map)

Tickets: £7 (£6 concessions). Booking essential – tickets can be bought online from the Festival box office.

Age: Suitable for ages 18+.


Please note: This show contains many references to seemingly paranormal phenomena – so please avoid if you are of a nervous disposition or easily offended by material of this nature.

UPDATE: Preview night

There’s also a music-only preview night (featuring Spacedog, Colin Uttley and Sarah’s automata) at award-winning festival venue, Bom-Bane’s, Brighton, on Wednesday 6 May. Instead of the séance, this show features a number with ace fiddle player Nick Pynn and some fascinating Edison phonography. Includes a live demonstration of wax recording of the human voice on a genuine, 1904 machine. Contact Jane for tickets.

Uncanny Valerie
Uncanny Valerie

I’m back now from the Newcastle where I was exhibiting a few odds and ends at the UK’s first Maker Faire. It was a hugely entertaining weekend – great to meet so many other hardware hackers, crafters and so on. I’ll be posting a few videos and writing about some of my favourite sights – including the Milk Float musicians and the Owl Project’s iLog – later on this week. Meanwhile, here’s some footage of Uncanny Valerie, captured on someone’s mobile.  This trip to was Valerie’s first official outing.

The arcade sounds in the background are from Iain Sharpe’s wonderful LunarLander game, which is a physical, 3D version of the arcade classic, complete with a moving, model Apollo capsule and papier-mâché lunar surface.