by Mark Thompson.

Tour to 13 April 2013.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 24 January at The Alban Arena.

Science and fun tenuously linked.
It’s play-time. Competition time. Colourful, happy-camper, come-up and have a go time. It’s shout loud and cheer time. Whether it’s much to do with science is debatable, as might be expected with a presenter who confuses gravitational and centrifugal forces. But it’s fun and it’s colourful and it does no harm.

Except possibly to the ear-drums. Near the start come three gratuitous loud bangs, and explosions recur in the record feats reported or attempted here. Malvern first held the record for loudest whoops, at 120 decibels, but that’s the only record anyone’s likely to beat. The weird, wacky, offbeat and grotesque records making up the majority here often reflect particular physiologies. Unless you’re one of the ten people in the world having a particular condition, you’re not going to beat the man with the stretchiest skin. Having seen him doing the stretching (chin-flesh over nose, anyone?) you’re unlikely to want to.

Or perhaps not. Gurning – pulling an ugly face – proves such a temptation that young audience members, who’d normally be dedicating their interval to ice-creams and fizzy drinks, queue up instead to be photographed with the biggest facial contortion they can manage.

Added to the human feats on video are some animals. Nightmares might arise of being chased by the well-guerned mastiff who could skateboard a hundred metres, or the Jack Russell which leaped up to burst 100 balloons with its teeth (I’ve had one do much the same to an elbow). But the scientific point of having Lucia Coward dress in a canine costume attempt the same feat, without the teeth, is obscure.

The banter between Coward and her unidentified co-presenter has an old-fashioned view of boys v girls, while, even allowing for time to set up various pieces of equipment, the show can suffer from the padding which afflicts so many TV quiz-shows, with repetition, tension pauses, more repetition, reminders of the rules and asking if everyone understands the simple rules.

Plenty of bright energy. But, considering young audience members clearly remembered the four criteria for a Guinness record, such simplicities could be replaced with more challenging material.

Performers: Lucia Coward, Mark Featherstone, Michael Goble, Mark McKinley.

Director: Mark Thompson.
Designer: Neil Murphy.
Lighting: Dave Muir.
Sound: Rich Rowley.
Animation: Paddy Cannon.

13 February 7pm Hall for Cornwall Truro 01872 262466
15 February 7.30pm Barbican York 0844 854 2757
16 February 3pm & 7pm The Lowry Salford 0843 208 6010
20 February 7pm The Capitol Horsham 01403 750220
21 February 7pm The Mayflower Southampton 023 8071 1811
22 February 7pm Cliffs Pavilion Southend-on-Sea 01702 351135
23 February 4pm Wycombe Swan High Wycombe 01494 512000
24 February 4pm Beck Theatre Hayes 020 8561 8371
27 February 7.30pm Royal & Derngate Northampton 01604 624811
28 February 7pm Assembly Hall Tunbridge Wells 01892 530613/532072
1 March 7pm Northcott Theatre Exeter 01392 493493
2 March 3.30pm & 7.30pm G Live Guildford 0844 7701 797
8 March 7pm New Theatre Hull 01482 300300
9 March 7pm St George’s Hall Bradford 01274 432000
19 March 7pm Mill Volvo Tyne Newcastle-upon-Tyne 0844 493 9999
20 March 7pm Colosseum Watford 0845 075 3993
21 March 7pm Gatehouse Stafford 01785 254653
23 March 7pm The Anvil Basingstoke 01256 844244
27 March 7pm De Montfort Hall Leicester 0116 233 3111
28 March 7pm Civic Theatre Darlington 01325 486555
2 April 7pm Wyvern Theatre Swindon 01793 524481
3 April 7pm Grand Theatre Swansea 01792 475715
4 April 7pm Queens Theatre Barnstaple 01271 324242
5 April 7pm City Hall Salisbury 01722 434434
6 April 2pm & 7pm The Brewhouse Taunton 01823 283244
9 April 7pm Weston-super-Mare Playhouse 01934 645544
10 April 7pm Everyman Theatre Cheltenham 01242 572573
11 April 7pm King’s Theatre Southsea 023 9282 8282
12 April 7pm Lighthouse Poole 0844 406 8666
13 April 7pm Civic Theatre Chelmsford 01245 606505

2013-02-13 00:21:24

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