Comedy Review: Festival of the Spoken Nerd at The Bloomsbury Theatre

An evening of comedy, science and maths that revives the spirit of classic ITV children’s show How 2

Many years ago when my science teacher strode out in front of the expectant class clutching a bunsen burner, I suspect he had in mind a performance very much like Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

The show is a marriage of fun and information and has a real “learning is fun” vibe to it, reminiscent of long-passed ITV show How 2.

The cast consisted of stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, geek songstress Helen Arney and Blue Peter science expert Steve Mould, and they put together an act that was both charming and informative.

They were joined on stage by Australian comedian Kent Valentine and a Chemistry professor from UCL - indeed a good few of the audience seemed to made up of students and faculty from the nearby university.


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For those of you who have read Freakonomics, the formula will be familiar - a high-level of knowledge applied to interesting or dangerous real world situations.

Members of the audience were invited on stage to take part in marshmallow Russian Roulette, while Parker kept us informed of the odds of each one catching a bullet.

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A 3D parabola was used to set fire to some fire wool, we were introduced to the biggest number ever used in maths and resonant frequencies were demonstrated using a fire-tube and a beat boxer.

The show was full of geeky in-jokes and some incredible nuggets of information, and while there were funny moments, it is best thought of as an entertaining and factual evening, rather than a pure stand-up event.

If you want an enjoyable evening that expands your mind, Festival of the Spoken Nerd definitely hits the spot.

* Festival of the Spoken Nerd was at the Bloomsbury Theatre, in Gordon Street, WC1, on January 18, 2012, and will return with a new show on May 22.

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