Cosmic Shambles LIVE kicked off one of three performances in New Zealand at Aotea Centre last night. Having left my physics curriculum in NCEA level 1 with an acceptable Merit, I opted to bring my dad to this science, comedy and musical ‘shambles’, who unlike me possesses a Masters in physics. Needless to say, the apple fell quite far away from Newton’s tree in our family.
The show is presented by UK comedian and science enthusiast Robin Ince, who charmed the audience with his jokes about those who choose not to believe in ‘science’, while drinking purified water from taps, driving cars and flicking on their air conditioning.
Physicist and oceanographer, Doctor Helen Czerski opened the show by explaining bubbles. Having spent little time contemplating the benefits of bubbles outside of a Guinness and a bath, it was mind boggling to find out how interesting these seemingly innocuous balls of gas and air could be.
Next up was materials engineer, Dr Michelle Dickinson aka Nanogirl, who’s experiment with heat and cooling explained why the Titanic’s hull was shattered instead of dented by the ice burg. We moved from steel into space with Professor Lucie Green, one of the world’s most respected solar scientists who showed us the beauty of the sun through an ultraviolet lens. Mathematician, Matt Parker made the audience aware how hungry they are by experimenting with pie and pi. UK Comedian, Josie Long, attempted to prove the existence of ghosts with her ‘spook’ghetti (which is what ghosts eat), but sadly the results remain inconclusive.
With eight speakers, two bands and a Q&A the show became overwhelming at over three hours, especially while trying to consume so many mind-blowing facts. When New Zealand band The Skinny Hobos come on stage and openly admit they are neither scientists nor comedians you can’t help but wonder if their set is necessary. Laurence Arabia had science-related banter and a song about climate change which made him more relevant to the show. Comedians Matt Stellingworth and James Nokise added some more local flavour to this night of international guests.
Overall Cosmic Shambles LIVE is a unique educational and amusing mish-mash of a show that’ll expand your mind as well as your smile.
Reviewed by Nicholas MacDonald.
Although this was one night only in Auckland Cosmic Shambles is also heading to:
Wellington on Saturday 8th April – The Opera House; and
Christchurch on Monday 10th April – Isaac Theatre Royal.
You can find more info here.