The Royal Exchange Studio space is a hive of activity - with many smaller plays taking centre stage. Brilliant Adventures is at the venue in May. Written by Alistair McDowall (currently on attachment with Paines Plough and Channel 4), the play was awarded a Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2011 and was part of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Festival 2012. It is directed by Caroline Steinbeis. We caught up with Alistair to find out more.


Tell us a bit about the play?
Brilliant Adventures is a play about two brothers who live on an almost completely abandoned housing estate in Middlesbrough. What starts out as a recognisable domestic drama suddenly flips into different territory part way through. It’s a sort-of a family play, but with elements of science-fiction, crime drama, and it’s also sort-of a western. It has a few laughs, too.

What inspired you to write it?
I have absolutely no idea. I was wandering around one day and the characters turned up in my head. I didn't really feel like I had any choice in the matter. I never do. They’re in charge. I realise that sounds like the words of someone who later ends up burning a building down or starting a cult, but I can’t really do anything about that.

What would you like people to take away from the play?

I’m hoping that the audiences have a gripping night out. We’ve got a fantastic cast, a brilliant director, and it’s a defiantly theatrical story. I’m not interested in writing a play that just as easily be done on TV or Radio. I want to really earn the privilege of having a live audience sit in the same room as the action. I’m hoping it feels like something you’ve maybe not seen before.

Will it also attract those of us with bad memories of bunsen burners and test tubes?

As someone with an incredibly limited grasp of even basic science, I can assure you the science fiction element of the play puts the emphasis squarely on the fiction side.

Can you summarise the play's appeal in four words?
Laughs, action, theatricality, heart.



Alistair McDowall was speaking to Glenn Meads

Brilliant Adventures is at the Royal Exchange (Studio) from 8 - 25 May.