We all know and love Roald Dahl. If you’ve read George’s Marvellous Medicine, or any of his books for that matter, you’ll know that Dahl wrote from his own experiences. In fact, he created some marvellous medicine of his own.

Throughout his lifetime, Dahl was plagued with medical tragedies: he nearly died when his fighter plane crashed in World War II; his son had a severe brain injury in a car accident; his daughter died of measles at age seven and his first wife Patricia suffered a debilitating stroke. But Dahl also achieved some medical triumphs; he survived the plane crash and pulled through a skull fracture and back injuries; he was responsible for inventing a medical device (the Wade-Dahl-Till valve) to treat his son’s hydrocephalus and he taught his wife to speak again after her stroke.

He captivated his audience for the whole hour, adults and children alike

These life changing events are fascinating to children and adults alike. Professor Tom Solomon of the University of Liverpool looked after Dahl towards the end of his life. In honour of Roald Dahl’s centenary, he wrote Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine; the book uses Dahl’s medical interactions as a starting point to explore some extraordinary areas of medical science. Solomon is an award-winning science communicator, and he effortlessly explains the medical concepts in language that everyone of all ages can understand.

Solomon draws from his book to create a lecture for children, explaining how the body works, what goes wrong and how one can fix it. He captivated his audience for the whole hour, adults and children alike, with his unbeatable knowledge and fascination of Dahl’s medical achievements. The show, or lecture, is fundamentally in the spirit of Dahl, with ‘Phiz-Whizzing’ potions and action-packed stories and demonstrations. He manages to engage his child audience whilst also being immensely informative – which is not an easy task by any means. In addition, the show is incredibly interesting for adults, especially fans of Roald Dahl seeking to learn more about his life.

Tom Solomon provides us with an hour of pure delight

Bringing this show to the Edinburgh Fringe was a genius move, and frankly, it’s unmissable. Tom Solomon provides us with an hour of pure delight. The Fringe can be overwhelming, so consider this show a form of intellectually stimulating but also heart-warming downtime. If you can’t catch it this year, I would heartily recommend Solomon’s book: one hundred per cent of author royalties are donated to six charities working in areas that were of interest to Roald Dahl, including Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.


Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine is showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, information and tickets here.

Image: Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine

Tara Carlin has just graduated from UCL with a degree in English. She has written for the Financial Times, Financial Adviser, and Savage Online. She is an actor and director and has recently set up a theatre company named Shakespeare’s Sister.

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