Theatre, Theatre, Spoken Word & Storytelling

The Brainstorm


Tickets $40 - $55

Wed 18 - Sat 28 Aug | 2 hours Fringe HQ Newtown - Theatre
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VICTOR HUGO, exiled and alone in his studio, weaves together the essential threads of a ripping yarn which will become his next best seller. Love, obsession, sacrifice & skullduggery.

“Salvage the steam engine?
Any man who would attempt such a thing would need to be more than a hero…
He’d need to be a madman!”

A theatrical exploration of the writing process of a genius in exile.

Victor Hugo lived on the island of Guernsey as a political exile for 15 years.
The world-famous Romantic spins a yarn.
His adventure unfolds on the island , the French port of St Malo and the treacherous waters in between.
A young fisherman falls dangerously in love with a beautiful island girl. Her uncle, himself an intrepid seafarer, is the owner of a trading steam ship. Steam in the early 1800s is cutting edge. The vessel is wrecked on a remote reef under suspicious circumstances and our brave young fisherman sets out alone to salvage the all important machinery, the steam engine itself. If he succeeds he will return home to the promised hand of the girl he daren’t even talk to.

‘The Brainstorm is a clever and fast-paced tapestry of comedy, intrigue and tragedy…
…Patrick captures brilliantly the immense energy of Victor Hugo and the intense focus of his novel – one man’s super-heroics – his lonely quest to rescue a steam engine from a remote shipwreck …
The story is told with great gusto, the characters well defined and differentiated…
…the sense of duty Hugo feels in devoting himself to the ideal of liberty, his dogged persistence in remaining exiled and his sorrow at the effect of this on his beloved family, are fully brought home both in the allegory of the storyline and Patrick’s portrayal of the lonely but determined author himself…’

Dinah Bott.
Chair, Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society.

Show details

Show details
  • 2 hours (Act One 60 min + Interval + Act Two 45 min.)
  • Venue 1: Fringe HQ Newtown - Theatre
Venue details & accessibility
Fringe HQ Newtown - Theatre

Level 1, 5 Eliza Street, Newtown
Telephone: (02) 9550 6087


This venue is not wheelchair accessible. However, we still recommend calling the venue directly to discuss whether they can provide the access you need.

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    Engaging, gripping, evocative, with a simple stage set but a clever interweaving of sound effects, music and imagery to bring what is a difficult story to read, very much to life. Patrick's performance will linger on in your memory as he recreates Hugo's great tale of passion and intrigue with a sensitivity and poignancy but also with wry humour that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening's entertainment. Guernsey Evening Press.

    Patrick Dickson's one-man show was one of the most satisfying evenings of storytelling I have enjoyed in many years. The Guernseyman tells the tale of 'The Toilers Of The Sea' We get to eaves drop on Hugo's correspondence as he weaves his complex narrative and relationships. Dickson's adaption is gripping, cinematic and funny. His love of the great man leaps over the footlights and the show is a 'must-see' for any islander with even a passing interest in Hugo and his work. Jim Delbridge Deputy Station Director of Island FM Island FM (Guernsey)

    • Conceived, Written & Performed by – Patrick Dickson
    • Direction – Maeliosa Stafford
    • Projection Art – Scott Baker
    • Music – Fiona Hill & Matthew Perry
    • Lighting – TBA
    • Creative Support – Alison Bradshaw, Lis Shelley & Bronte Shuftan
    Presented by
    • Blake Beckett Trust.
    Marry whoever you like... as long as its not a parson.