Emma Bargery, who plays Professor Lexi Con, describes The Alphabet of Awesome Science as a show with “big words and explosions” and David Lampard, as Professor Noel Edge, agrees while doing some neat tricks with liquid hydrogen.
The show begins with Lampard and Bargery performing a song and dance number about science and soon after they are racing against the clock to perform 26 science experiments in 52 minutes. It’s a slick, fast-paced, action-packed show, with Professor Lexicon spitting out complex words beginning with the various letters of the alphabet and Professor Noel Edge setting up interesting scientific demonstrations.
The words used throughout the show will extend the audience’s vocabulary, although they are not likely to be remembered because there are so many and they are complex. “Tabulous”, “rabulous”, “pabulous”, “spumescent”, “horrescent”, “corybantic”, nephelococcygia” and “floccinaucinihilipilification” are fascinating words and the stories around them are generally interesting but everything is fast and you have to keep alert to keep up.
As well as performing the science experiments, Professor Noel Edge effectively integrates a few “dad jokes”, some of which create good-hearted laughter in parents and children. Fireballs created on stage, clouds of breakfast ceramic dust, and explosions and clouds in a bottle create visual interest, and there is the usual fun you would expect in children’s theatre with a range of simple, home-made water devices creating “sprinklers” that inevitably spray the audience, fart jokes, sound effects, and a sense of possible danger.
The Alphabet of Awesome Science is a returning production but there are new effects, including a fire tornado, the breakfast cereal blower and an unusual musical instrument called a bloogle resonator. Simple techniques such as rubbing rosin on an aluminium rod to create a high-pitched, piercing sound or the twirling of a whirly tube generate further interest, and who wouldn’t be fascinated to watch the two professors blow up a 2m tube?
Television science shows such as The Curiosity Show have captured children’s imaginations but The Alphabet of Awesome Science is unique with its combination of zany entertainment and science. Audiences young and old will learn a lot while having a good time. If anything, it might be a little too focused on getting through all the letters and experiments; occasionally, the audience might need time for a breather, to take it all in and digest what they’ve learned.
The Alphabet of Awesome Science is being performed in Gluttony until March 14.
Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews here.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.