Benji Sperring, creator of Exsomnia, is bringing the stuff of nightmares into bright daylight. With a midday show, it takes some clever setting and design to make the deepest, darkest thoughts come to life. Here's why Sperring thinks you should come and see Exsomnia.


Exsomnia is a new style of theatre. While new doesn’t necessarily mean good, Exsomnia is trying to push the boundaries of theatre by creating a new style of play: entering a character’s mind and seeing their most personal thoughts. Merging the surrealism of Strindberg’s A Dream Play and the narrative style of Lynch’s Eraserhead, the depth to which you understand Exsomnia’s protagonist comes entirely from the intimacy of your position – being included in one man’s dreams and nightmares. It’s a completely novel experience: disturbing, poignant, and strangely engrossing.

Exsomnia will scare you witless. Imagine the Woman in Black mixing with Hitchcock’s Spellbound, and you’re getting close to Exsomnia’s fear factor. When nightmares come alive in the theatre, you don’t know where the next terror is going to pop up from. Exsomnia creates a dark, chilling atmosphere through incredible sonic design and clever feats of staging which will chill you to the bone. In addition to this, C Soco has an unsettling and beautifully haunting ambience, and the pathways are open for an insidious alliance of suspense and terror.

Exsomnia’s company have had high praise before. Being rated as one of the best shows in their category by the Guardian for their previous Edinburgh show, Hiawatha, and now working with a director who has won a Three Weeks Editors Award, the Phonographic General Suppliers really are cooking with anthracite in terms of Edinburgh critical receptions.

Exsomnia is the midday nightmare. With a showing time of 12 noon, Exsomnia starts the Edinburgh day with a bang. Then a whimper. Then another bang. Then some screaming. With a running time of one hour, it’s a piece you can fit in just before lunch – if you are capable of eating anything afterwards, of course.

Exsomnia has an emotional mystery at its centre. Exsomnia is about the dreams of one man coming alive, performed by a cast of eight, leaving the audience to work out the real life events which are influencing the troubled protagonist. With a strong emotional core, Exsomnia will keep you guessing until the end, and even then, the events will stay with you for a long time afterwards.

Exsomnia runs at C Venues - C Soco from 14-27 August at 12.00.