Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Brainiac first began life as a quirky television show presented by Richard Hammond and Jon Tickle. This then evolved into a stage show, which has been touring for over a decade. I went with my 8-year-old son to the Lichfield Garrick theatre to watch Brainac Live: Science Abuse! and was very impressed with the entertaining spectacle combined with interesting educational facts.
The style of Brainiac Live is to present the mysteries of science in an exciting accessible way, particularly aimed at children. The theatre is in the city centre very close to the main shopping area and has plenty of parking nearby. The staff were very welcoming and gave clear directions to help us find our way around. Before the show started pop music was played along with snippets of a voice over giving hints to what the show would involve. There was a brief safety warning and the audience were encouraged to cover their ears before any particularly loud moments.
The performance involved just 5 actors who all bought lots of energy to the stage. They explored many different scientific themes relating to physics and chemistry. Some references went above the head of my son (lyrics to songs from decades ago) but he also laughed uncontrollably at many of the slapstick routines. One particular favourite of his was when they used an electric fence to explain insulation materials.
The actors completed many quick prop changes and the staging was simple with just a large screen behind them showing images relating to the topic. Between activities maths or word problems were shown on the screen for the audience to try to solve. There was no interval as the show only lasted just over an hour.
My son enjoys science at school, but even without this background knowledge the topics were easy to follow and also very informative. The highlight for me was the airzooka challenge, which involved a competition between the Brainac team and audience members to fire smoke circles through a hoop.
I was very impressed by the Garrick Theatre and, although the seats were not full, there was a lovely atmosphere created by both the actors and the theatre staff. I would rate this show 4/5 and think it would be most enjoyed by primary aged children.
Brainiac Live is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit brainiaclive.com.
For other shows at the Lichfield Garrick visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121