Sky One’s Brainiac television show feels like it aired approximately one hundred years ago, in the foreign land that is the years 2003 to 2008.
Fronted by Top Gear man Richard Hammond, and then later by the excellent Vic Reeves, it was a vehicle for pop-science tomfoolery and explosive hijinkery which deftly walked the intellectual tightrope between mainstream educational programming and finding excuses to blow up increasingly large objects in fields.
Since dropping off our televisions Brainiac has been touring internationally, introducing cool science to school groups around the globe through the medium of wacky chemistry experiments and incredibly loud bangs.
Returning to the West End’s Garrick Theatre for a limited run, Brainiac’s brand of loosely science-based stunts still bubbles over with kinetic energy.
Cartoonish performers run through walls to test material rigidity, electrocute one another with car batteries to demonstrate the properties of insulation, and set light to balloons filled with increasingly flammable gases, for reasons that hardly need justification.
It’s silly, noisy, anarchic fun, and leaves young audiences with ringing ears and wide smiles.