Erewhon: or, Over the Range is a fantasy novel by Samuel Butler which, first published anonymously in 1872, presented itself as the experiences of its narrator on discovering the mysterious country and near-utopian community of Erewhon – an anagram of "nowhere" – which had largely abandoned the controlling influence of technology. Seen by many as a satire of Victorian society, Erewhon was praised by George Orwell and even referenced in a recent episode of Doctor Who.

What follows, though, is the tale of a British explorer who, seeking adventure, unthinkingly – and only for time – 'goes native'.

While undoubtedly following in the literary tradition of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Bulter's Erewhon lacks its iconic cultural status, meaning that a certain amount of contextual explanation is required. Adaptor and performer Arthur Meek is happy to provide this at the start of this co-production with Edinburgh-based Magnetic North: not least the narrator's imperialistic, mysognistic, homophobic attitudes which are neither to be applauded nor condoned. Meek, self-identifying as a white straight male, insists that he's in no position to either excuse or apologise for the consequences of British Imperialism around the world, especially with regards indigenous cultures.

What follows, though, is the tale of a British explorer who, seeking adventure, unthinkingly – and only for time – "goes native". With some subtlety we're led into a scenario where first contact is effectively made by the native culture rather than the arch imperialist; much of the humour in this reworking comes from seeing our man "George" outraged that the imposition of culture and beliefs wasn't the other way round. When he finally rebels, he accuses the Erewhonians of being incapable of questioning the society and moral standards into which they were born—a charge equally applicable to him, of course!

The USP of this presentation is that it is given as an old-school Magic Lantern show, albeit one reliant on LSD-illumination, the occasional use of an iPhone, and accompanied by pulsing, amped-up electric score performed live by Eva Prowse. While the disparate illustrative styles of the numerous artists responsible for the slides don't really add anything to the presentation, the mix of technologies on display is both entertaining and thematically satisfying.

Reviews by Paul Fisher Cockburn


One of Two

Scottish Storytelling Centre

Moira in Lockdown

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Love and Sex on the Spectrum

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

An antique magic lantern projector, an iPhone 6 and a live musical score shine a new light on Samuel Butler's classic sci-fi novel. A Victorian explorer discovers a colony of refugees; time travellers from the 21st century escaping their dependence on its technology. This delightful neo-historical head-scratcher playfully welds future, past and present into a glittering bracelet of time. A multimedia collaboration between Edinburgh's own Magnetic North, and Kiwi playwright and newly-qualified magic lantern showman Arthur Meek. Featuring an original musical score played live by New Zealand pop powerhouse Eva Prowse. Directed by Nicholas Bone and Geoff Pinfield.

Most Popular See More


From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets