Eighth Wonder of the World

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The Eighth Wonder of the World

by Nick Harrison
Directed by Martin Parr

Marc Brunel: Peter Harding
Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Ben Eagle

Brunel Tunnel, The Brunel Museum, London
June, 2015

The Eighth Wonder of the World is a new play by Nick Harrison about the most important night in the lives of Marc and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The ultimate in site-specific theatre as sell-out audiences needed to crawl through a tiny door on the banks of the Thames and descend into the vast echoing, candle-lit chamber below.

Marc; health ailing and bankrupt has bored his way halfway under the Thames in a massive feat of innovative engineering. But he’s run out of money. His reputation and livelihood is at stake if the venture fails…

Isambard; young, brilliant and keen to prove himself may just have the business acumen and drive needed to solve the dilemma. But can Marc find it in himself to let him…?

Performed in the actual tunnel shaft under the Thames that the two men built together, this thrillingly epic yet intimate piece had a resonance all of its own in the world’s first ever tunnel built under a navigable river.

Audiences were invited to descend into the extraordinary, secret chamber deep beneath the river and see first hand this astounding feat of engineering whilst witnessing what it REALLY cost these two men to create it.


“How better to celebrate (the Brunels) than to creep through a low, narrow bricky shaft and climb fifty feet below Shoreditch into an echoing Victorian vault?!… It’s the ultimate site-specific theatre….The two performers are strongly drawn”
Libby Purves

“Really interesting…beautifully observed…poignant…the two actors work really well together and bring the father/ son relationship alive beautifully…it is truly beautiful…Like two prizefighters sizing each other up in a boxing ring with an audience seated all around them…An enchanting show. 4 stars”
London Theatre 1

“A warm retelling of the drama behind the (tunnel’s) construction…stunning; a remarkable space for theatre…”
Culture or Trash

“Most remarkable…the performances are very fine and the whole show is topped off with a brass band!”
Curtain Up

“There can’t be many theatres in the world where you need to get down on your hands and knees so you can crawl into the auditorium. But then again, plays aren’t typically performed in railway shafts with London Overground trains whizzing beneath your feet, causing the floor to vibrate! A fascinating insight into a family dynasty.”
Past in the Present

“Intriguing…these are two powerful performances.”
British Theatre Guide