This Fringe, Summerhall’s Radio Studio plays host to nine live audio plays, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the autumn. Among these shows is Out of Your Mind, by Naomi Sheldon, who also performs in it. Audience members donned headphones for an immersive, binaural experience. The story sees three female students exploring the tunnels supposedly connecting Royal Holloway University to an old mental asylum. They grow concerned when they start to hear voices, and it transpires that all is not as it seems… I won’t spoil the plot, but you can find out what happens when the half-hour play is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October.
Unsurprisingly, given that it is a BBC production, Out of Your Mind is characterised by admirable professionalism. It was fascinating, gaining an insight into how radio dramas are made. The performers, for instance, were shoeless, presumably so as to avoid emitting the sound of heavy footsteps. Whistling and scratching sounds created an eerie atmosphere, at once creepy and soothing, a bit like ASMR. There was also some nice, consensual audience participation.
Since the play itself was only short, it was followed by a Q&A with the cast. This was very interesting, as it allowed audience members to ask questions about how radio dramas are made, as well as the origins of this play in particular. Writer Naomi Sheldon, for instance, explained that she herself was a student at Royal Holloway and had heard rumours about the university’s secret labyrinth of tunnels, which sparked the idea for this story.