artaud in wonderland

‘An electrifyingly theatrical seance.’
The Guardian (Critics’ Choice)

Antonin Artaud died at the foot of his bed with a shoe in his hand and a thousand ideas in his head. This show was allegedly created in collaboration with the great, dead, mad Frenchman by means of a séance. Enter the Theatre of Cruelty where every sound that Artaud hears he bends to the beginnings of a new adventure to transform himself and the rest of the world.

Nominated for a prestigious Fringe First and awarded The Guardian Critics’ Choice, Artaud in Wonderland toured to critical and popular acclaim from 1999-2010.


‘An electrifyingly theatrical séance that imagines the last moments of consciousness of the great theatrical innovator. It is an extraordinarily hallucinatory hour, strung together by the combination of Wright and Artaud’s razor-sharp wit, an amazing soundtrack that seems like the noises, drips and clangings of a leaking mind, a dazzlingly simple staging of white sheets and lights that creates all the terror of electric-shock therapy, and a firm belief in the wisdom of the insane. ’
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (Critics Choice)

‘The trip is gripping, disturbing, comical and visually appealing, drawing you into an energetic monologue that has the sense of a séance and the surreal shocks of twilight dreams. Artaud In Wonderland is a manic patchwork of impressions that sums up the tortured life of an electric mind. Convulsive viewing.’
Mark Espiner, Time Out

’Damian Wright, in a devastatingly electric performance, gives piercing insights into Artaud’s life and psyche. Periplum’s theatrical vision displays incredible richness of imagination despite the simplicity of the production. A miraculous panoply of experience is evoked on this bare black and white platform by one actor. And the script is sparkling: tight, poetic, rhythmic, challenging, making this an Under Milk Wood of Underland.’
Joy Hendrie, The Scotsman (5 Stars, Fringe First Nomination 2000)

‘This was a unique and extraordinary piece that stretched my definitions of theatre as I watched it. A startling evocation of the tortured mind of Antonin Artaud, performed so mesmerisingly that, as the actor bowed, I almost felt Artaud chuckling at us. Or was he cackling?’
Geoff Beale, Total Theatre

‘Splendidly hysterical. Like watching an old film spool run out of control.’
Andrew Aldridge, The Stage

‘Damian Wright’s performance is mesmerising, and his single-handed recreation of the writer’s dying fantasies is splendidly compelling, witty and moving; a tour de force with deeply personal resonances. As Artaud points out: ‘A madman is a man whom society does not want to hear.’ Periplum make us sit up and listen.’
Andrew J. Wilson, The Metro

‘Damian Wright, in a powerfully intense performance, explores the untapped caverns of Artaud’s psyche as he lives out his last remaining breaths. Combining great acting, talented writing and inspired set design and lighting, modern theatre doesn’t get much better.’
Matthew Gerraghty, Brighton and Hove Argus

‘This is an exceptional one-man show about an extraordinary man. In the semi-darkness, the actor invites us into the world of Artaud’s diseased mind, using simple lighting, which casts atmospheric shadows, illuminating the actor in many remarkable ways. A magical hour in the theatre: dazzling & astounding. How original & fantastic their style of theatre is, and how it supports the best acting!’
Thelma Good, Edinburgh Guide (5 stars)