Home / Comedy / Edinburgh Fringe: Domestic Science – The Canons’ Gait

Edinburgh Fringe: Domestic Science – The Canons’ Gait

Writers: Helen Arney and Rob Wells

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight


Domestic Science has everything: presenters who are a celebrity couple, audience participation, guest spots, jokes, science, music, sketches, home-made “litmus paper”, a genuine real-life experiment and cake decoration. Oh! And it’s free.

Real-life couple Helen Arney and Rob Wells, who are also known elsewhere as comedians and general science geeks, present this fun romp through science with everyday objects, told through the lens of their life of domestic bliss. So we hear about their first date – recreated onstage with an audience member taking Helen’s part – in which a perfectly understandable slip with noodles leads Rob to discover how to use them as a pH indicator. He uses his noodles to demonstrate this and it is pretty impressive to see them change colour when dipped in acid and alkali.

However, although there’s plenty more humour, science and science history imparted, for example, via pilots for sitcoms based on the home lives of famous scientists, the one covering Pierre and Marie Curie being particularly effective, there isn’t any more practical, hands-on science. The lack of any explosions, even small ones, is a touch disappointing.

At this performance the two guest artists also formed a couple, which, to the scientist, at least imparts a certain symmetry to proceedings. We had comedienne Iszi Lawrence, also keen on science, who delivered an assured and very good set, and her partner, poet AF Harrold, who read some of his slightly eccentric poems – he’s been compared to Viv Stanshall; on this basis, pretty accurately.

Arney and Wells return with a bona fide research project to discover whether audiences can tell the gender of the author of a joke. It’s gratifying to discover that this audience was better than most with approximately 60% accuracy, compared with the norm of 40%.

Finally, a quick whiz through discovering planets outside the solar system (using a volunteer’s hips) and propagation of AM waves (using balloons and the conveniently low ceiling of the venue).

Overall, a very diverting way of spending an hour, and well worth visiting, whether or not you consider yourself geeky.

AND you get a badge at the end!

Runs until: 26 August (not Wednesdays)

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