Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions -…

Archive video.
Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions is an opera, with music by Martin Ward and libretto by Phil Porter, for 3 singers (Soprano, Mezzo and Baritone) and 3 musicians (Violin, Cello and Piano). It is structured in 8 scenes which run without pause and it lasts approximately 60 minutes. It was commissioned by and first performed at the Petersham Playhouse in September 2011. Directed by Ben Occhipinti, the original cast were Natalie Raybould (Sop), Tamsin Dalley (Mez) and Rob Gildon (Bar), and musicians John Paul Gandy (Pno), Richard Milone (Vln) and Matthew Lee (Vc). It was revived for a three week run at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2012, featuring the same singers, with Martin Jacoby, Amy Heggart and Marta Tobar in the instrumental roles. A hit with audiences and press alike, it garnered 3 five-star and 7 four-star reviews as well as a Fringe First nomination.

Devised and written in collaboration with the award-wining playwright Phil Porter, the story finds the esteemed and pioneering brain doctor Dr Quimpugh suffering a long dark night of the soul, questioning his life’s work and achievements. He is attended by two nurses who, seeking to raise his spirits, offer up his voluminous casebook as proof of a life well spent. He opens the book and recalls the bizarre and peculiar cases on which his career and reputation were built. The nurses are only too happy to indulge these memories, playing the parts of the weird and wonderful characters who have entered his examination room over the years, but will the doctor find peace of mind by morning?


“…a soaring collection of songs, composed by the supremely talented Martin Ward, each one detailing the bizarre story of a patient the doctor has helped overcome a surreal medical condition. A woman sings touchingly of her “alien hand” that keeps committing crimes, another can’t stop eating inanimate objects and delivers a jovial number on the “edible world”. The crazy logic that underpins each story is turned into genuinely moving mini-dramas that find emotion in the unlikeliest of places.” ***** The Scotsman, August 2012

“…the excellent chamber opera ‘Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium Of Peculiar Afflictions’, which is part of the exciting programme at the Summerhall venue… with superb music by Martin Ward and a sparkling libretto by Phil Porter it is a delightfully quirky, humorous and touching piece of musical theatre…” Sunday Herald, August 2012