Brainiac Live! is on at Southbank in Summer 2016. This review is from the 2013 run.
Unless you’re hoping your kids grow up to have a career in blowing stuff up and electrocuting people, it’s probably worth stating from the off that ‘Brainiac Live! Science Abuse’ isn’t really an educational show – you’ll probably learn more about science from a Harry Potter novel.
Still, even the most sensitive of children tend to derive a certain amount of pleasure from watching things explode. And in that respect this live spin off of the defunct Sky children’s show ‘Brainiac: Science Abuse’ delivers. It starts with a caravan being detonated and ends with the destruction of a microwave: in between various gas-filled balloons are exploded, one of the enthusiastic young presenters gets strapped to a rocket propelled office chair, and several of them learn the hard way how an electrified fence works.
There’s a sort of boffins-gone-rogue aesthetic to the whole thing, with much donning of lab coats and brandishing of goggles. Yet only the most apologetic of explanations interrupts the bangs and pops – call me Herr Gove, but ‘Brainiac’s palpable terror at being seen as improving felt like a slightly missed opportunity to me. Still, I suppose children have schools to learn stuff in.
What ‘Brainiac Live’ indubitably lacks is a big personality host a la the TV show, which employed the likes of Vic Reeves and Richard ‘The Hamster’ Hammond. Backed by three mute assistants, presenters Rik Warren and Andy Joyce are likeable enough, but they don’t make a tremendous impression. Still, they’re efficient at their jobs, maintaining a spell of schoolboyish pseudo-naughtiness in the occasional gaps between bangs. Ages 5+.
By Andrzej Lukowski
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Average User Rating
2.8 / 5
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Sadly I have to agree with Mrs Levene. As someone with a passion for the sciences I found the lack of respect paid to the science behind the demonstrations saddening and even troubling. There were several instances in which the actors professed to be performing a certain demonstration when in actual fact they did nothing of the sort indeed e.g. a pyrotechnic charge allegedly set off using static electricity was clearly triggered from offstage. The explanations were often vague or entirely wrong - I cringed when they claimed that individual gas molecules contract on cooling... As an 18 year old about to start a science degree I am certainly not the intended audience. It was also reasonably enjoyable as a show - the gags were corny but it was high-energy and fairly well put together. That said the science, surely the core of the show, was so bad I really did not enjoy it and would not recommend. It was certainty "science abuse" but in the worst possible way. If you were expecting something along the lines of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures think again.
I took my 3 children to see this show today. They are 6, 9 and 13 and love the T.V. Show. They were not at all disappointed by the stage show. They all loved it! It was a mixture of fun and education and has kept them enthusiastic about science. They were only disappointed that it wasn't longer as the hour went by so fast. Very good show for all the family.
I completely agree with the reply before in saying that it was for me, and my children, the worst show we have ever watched. Unfortunately, we watched it today and are currently looking to complain viciously, realized that they haven't even set up any sort of contact details and now are trying to warn people against the tyranny of brainiac live. My kids love the TV show, or, as I should say, loved. They won't even turn it on now because of the sheer idiocy of the of what they have witnessed. I concur with you, Mrs Levene, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, GO TO SEE THIS SHOW.
At first thought I believed this show to be intriguing and enjoyable based on my knowledge of the TV show. But neither was applicable. This show does not have the advertised age range of 7-70. It has the range of 5-8! I was appalled by the corny jokes, terrible dialogue and overall babyish quality. It had two grown men dancing to "all the single ladies" by Beyoncé! The level of sheer idiocy was outmatched by none. "Laughs in the face of science," Pah! Spits in the face of science more like it! In no way or form could I, in good conscience, recommend this show in any way above the minimum possible. If you have good, intelligent kids older than 7, do not bother taking them. And if you have children younger than that I highly suggest you make sure that they don't hear or see a word of it lest they be influenced to do terrible things once they realise how to start a fire. I walked out in the middle of the show embarrassed that I had even walked in. Do not watch this show.
I would like to respond to the previous review and add that I disagree, I took 20 students from the Academy of future stars www.academyoffuturestars.co.uk on Saturday 20th July. The students and myself found the show exciting fun and educational. The performance led by Andy Joyce who was charismatic and entertaining, he captivated the audience from the offset and held our attention throughout, an excellent presenter. The students enjoyed the show and are now excited about science and due to the scenes, involving explosions, experiments, the brain teasers to name a few, they are now inspired to want to learn more about science. The show involved audience interaction which created an energetic electric atmosphere and we would definitely recommend it 5 stars all round.