Domestic Science

Domestic Science is a complex but perfectly balanced equation. Helen Arney and Rob Wells are a real-life couple who met when they both did spots in a Robin Ince science comedy showcase in the same room - the basement of The Canon’s Gait - at the Fringe a year ago. This makes a lot of sense given the genealogy of their comedy: a mixture of science jokes and Guardian chic. Added to the mix are a couple of special guests, in this case an entertaining science lesson from Dr Bunhead and a fantastic shadow puppet show presented by comic Helen Kean.

Arney and Wells’ material tells the story of how their relationship formed around their mutual love of science. It’s a great dynamic that adds a solid structure and extra layer of interest to their subject matter, which is prolific enough now to fill a moderately sized sci-comedy subgenre. The bit, for example, in which they explore why turmeric turns noodles red answers an interesting pop-science question whilst also creating a surreal audience interaction, distinctive visual motif and demonstrating the couples’ shared obsessiveness. There’s always a lot going on at once, which makes the show great fun to watch.

Helen Kean’s set is more a fascinating, funny lecture than traditional stand-up. This works well because her topic - the history of our fascination and mythologising of the moon - is inherently comedic, especially when we get to The Sun newspaper reporting the sightings of large ‘man-bat’ creatures through the lens of a Victorian telescope. The shadow-puppet show that accompanies this combines with Kean’s excellent comic timing to gain punchlines from historical facts, quotations and points of visual interest. It would seem like heady stuff were the puppet show not delivered in the translucent belly of a man-sized tinfoil robot.

Dr Bunhead’s set is equally elaborate, culminating in the imitation of a rocket launch by asking us to shake our chairs whilst he pours copious amounts of real cloud around us like a watery smog. Seeing indoor clouds that condense on the ceiling and floor into real puddles is certainly more than we expected from a free comedy show, something that is possibly also true of the host venue. Bunhead is like a clown at a party for very intelligent children. It’s a feeling exacerbated when Arney and Wells throw a storm of red balloons over us that we bounce off the ceiling to imitate the motion of AM radio waves across the earth.

Domestic Science creates a real intimacy with its audience, making a virtue of its obvious, unashamed intelligence. It does so by not just chatting about science, but about what science means to people. The show’s domestic interest collapses the heady and intellectual into the familiar, creating a beautiful, surreal and highly entertaining set that is surprisingly educational whilst remaining relentlessly comedic.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Join Helen and Rob for a lunchtime hour of home-cooked science and comedy. They’ll be investigating cosmological conundrums, solving microscopic mysteries and trying to maintain their own domestic bliss. Fingers crossed then. New guests daily, see www.domesticsciencecomedy.com. @DomesticScience.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets