The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

A would-be suicide dreams of paradise and awakes to bring the world a message in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final masterpiece.

“My spirits are restored by George Dillon’s display of theatrical technique, timing and diction of flawless precision… His Dream of a Ridiculous Man is my Fringe discovery.”
(Joan Bakewell, The Sunday Times)

In the summer of 1990, in the few hopeful months between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, George Dillon arrived in Edinburgh with Stunning the Punters (and Other Stories) directed by Laurence Boswell. The triple bill, featuring Dostoevsky’s The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, received extraordinary reviews and marked the beginning of Dillon’s career as a solo performer.

“I am applauding an unapologetic display of virtuosity until the blood runs… he has the vocal precision of a Gielgud, the physical presence and skill of Marceau, and a heart, mind, and attack that are all his own.”


Though written more than a hundred years ago, Dostoevsky’s The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is a timeless dystopian parable of human nature, a lament for our follies and our collective drive towards damnation. His address to the audience starts slowly, but the roller-coaster of optimism and pessimism accelerates to a stunning conclusion which paradoxically manages to convey a glimmer of hope in the depths of despair.

In 2020, during lockdown, George Dillon received an unexpected donation of £1,000 from someone who had seen and remembered The Dream of A Ridiculous Man in Edinburgh thirty years before. He used the money to set up a home studio and his first recording was this ‘reading’ of The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Here it is in its entirety.

“Nowhere in the world will you hear a sharper sermon about human frailty this Sabbath… the craft of acting carried to a pinnacle of virtuosity.”