Brainiac Live

I hadn’t heard of “Brainiac” before, having never seen the old TV programmes, but 11am on August 1st seemed a good time to get the annual Fringe showfest in Edinburgh started with a bang – several in fact.

Brainiac Live has been a stage show for 10 years now and has played to packed houses all across the UK. Billed as the show that laughs in the face of science, this is a fun event for children from 5 years upwards.

There are exploding dustbins, electrocuted scientists, manically spinning chairs, Airzooka blown giant smoke rings, and mind-boggling facts galore, as the mysteries of science are chirpily unfolded at a fast and rattling pace.

The presenters keep up a flow of information in bite size segments with a background of rock music and audience encouragement. I was horrified to find in an audience hearing experiment that I am deaf to all sounds above 10,00 Megahertz, although the young kept going to a far higher frequency.

I thoroughly enjoyed the various misheard song lyrics (called mondegreens) that had “O Fortuna” unfolding a tale of food starting with “O Four Tuna”. But the climax – intended or otherwise – came when the fire alarm sounded just before a small boy on stage was about to blow up a microwave.

The order came to file out in an orderly fashion, no applause, no show ending. We’d had our 60 minutes’ worth by then – maybe it was a ruse to save on microwaves, maybe it was the effect of giant floating smoke rings. We left longing for more.


Brainiac Live at McEwan Hall till Monday August 27th.


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