Bang Goes the Theory Live Review

19 04 2012

ImageIt is impossible not to be impressed by the scale of this production. This has to be the biggest budget science show ever attempted in the UK.

Visitors to Edinburgh’s imposing Usher Hall witnessed some huge and novel set pieces- human-sized hamster wheel races and rocket-powered football boots, alongside science show standards- exploding coke bottles and flaming Jelly Babies. It felt like a pop concert with the four TV presenters beamed live onto a big screen above the stage.

The audience of this science show were definitely treated to a ‘show’. But where was the ‘science’?

A straw poll of a nearby family was revealing. Whilst the kids, 9 and 12, both said they thought the show was ‘awesome’ neither of them were able to say what it was about. Both of them struggled to mention anything they’d learnt.

This production isn’t just a collection of unrelated demos like so many other large scale touring shows and the writers should be congratulated for that. However the choice of theme ‘humans convert energy from food into movement more efficiently than rockets convert fuel into movement’ was not exactly compelling and at times felt contrived. As if the theme had been chosen to fit the demos rather than the other way around.

Too many subjects were introduced at too high a level for the audience (ATP transfer kids?) Even the presenters seemed confused at the finale when their, admittedly spectacular, rocket-powered football boot beat the human volunteer’s penalty kick. If the presenters were confused, what chance did the audience stand?

Past live Bang Goes the Theory shows have successfully combined theatre with science, entertainment with education. You can read a previous review HERE and watch that previous show HERE.

This production wowed with its scale and ambition but by trying to cover too much fell short of the high educational standards they had set for themselves in past touring shows and on the TV.

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