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Ministry of Science LIVE – Science Saved The World

Mark Thompson’s The Ministry of Science Live is plenty educational but excruciatingly slow and overly long for the age of its target audience. Broken into two acts of more than an hour each, the show plods through nine unrelated experiments which is simply too many. Although some of the demonstrations are engaging and visually appealing – with a plucky two-handed presenting team (Mike Goble and Oliva Birchenough) giving it their all – there is no reason that so much material needs to be covered. Sadly, the duration and pace of this show is entirely counterproductive to its stated goal of inspiring children with the wonders of science. Initially, I saw rapt children’s faces around me, but a good number of families didn’t return after the interval. By Scene 8 – in which Mike Goble lip-syncs to Flanders & Swann’s “Major-General Song” of the periodic table, I was wondering which compounds might hasten my escape.

Ministry of Science LIVE - Science Saved The WorldIt’s strange how overloaded this production is because producer, writer and director Mark Thompson has an extensive pedigree in early years and primary school properties and should appreciate his audience’s natural attention span. Indeed, he was part of the force behind the excellent Brainiac Live which succeeded because it appreciated the importance of keeping a kids’ show tight. In fact, some of the video insert bits (such as Mondegreens) are identical to Brainiac Live. I also had to wonder if enough thought had been given to staging this touring show in a large proscenium house like the Savoy Theatre. The two circles were effectively excluded from audience participation (which also proceeded at a glacial pace) and even propulsive canon shooting couldn’t reach the rafters.

With tickets starting at £20, The Ministry of Science Live is a misfire. It should take a leaf from the Horrible Histories franchise’s approach of finding thematic focus and running to a tight hour.

2 gold stars

Review by Mary Beer

Join our presenters as they dive deep into the world of science and look at how science shapes the modern world we live in with a few loud bangs along the way!

They’ll take an anarchic approach to science communication whilst looking at the scientists, engineers and inventors who have shaped the modern world that we live in whilst proving that each and everyone of you have the ability to change our world for the better!

Tue 15 Aug – Sun 3 Sep 2023
MINISTRY OF SCIENCE LIVE – SCIENCE SAVED THE WORLD!

Ministry of Science LIVE – Science Saved The World at the Savoy Theatre from Tue 15 Aug – Sun 3 Sep 2023

Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone on Saturday 2nd September, 2023

Princess Theatre, Torquay on Sunday 3rd September 2023

Grand Opera House York on Sunday 24th September, 2023

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Sunday 15th October, 2023

New Theatre Oxford on Fri 20 Oct 2023

Richmond Theatre on Sunday 21st January, 2024

New Wimbledon Theatre on Saturday 10th February, 2024

Stockton Globe on Saturday 17th February 2024

Theatre Royal Brighton on Thursday 22nd February 2024.

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  2. Brainiac Live! at the Garrick Theatre | Review
  3. Vince Ebert: Sexy Science at The Edinburgh Fringe | Review
  4. Jason Manford Back on Tour with ‘A Manford All Seasons’ – Live 2024
  5. The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs at Soho Theatre

 

Author

  • Mary Beer

    Mary graduated with a cum laude degree in Theatre from Columbia University’s Barnard College in New York City. In addition to directing and stage managing several productions off-Broadway, Mary was awarded the Helen Prince Memorial Prize in Dramatic Composition for her play Subway Fare whilst in New York. Relocating to London, Mary has worked in the creative sector, mostly in television broadcast and production, since 1998. Her creative and strategic abilities in TV promotion, marketing and design have been recognised with over 20 industry awards including several Global Promax Golds. She is a founder member of multiple creative industry and arts organisations and has frequently served as an advisor to the Edinburgh International TV Festival.

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