Humans v Nature: Engineering FTW

I hate to brag but as a species, we’re pretty brilliant. Not only because of our ability to perform physically as shown by the Olympics, or our ability to perform artistically as demonstrated by free improvised comedy at the Raddison (perhaps not) but because of our ability to invent things that break the shackles nature has put on us. Conceptually, a show focusing only on this point could work extremely well. Unfortunately this is not that show.

This is not to say that Humans Vs Nature is bad. In fact, there is a lot to recommend it. The two hosts, Matt and Timandra, are personable and likable if not mindblowing and the material is certainly well researched. The show takes the form of a boxing match between mother nature and the human race which works but is in no way exciting. The repeated use of robots was hilarious and the powerpoint integration, despite the odd technical hitch, was excellent. It’s difficult to make flow charts funny but these two manage to turn them into the biggest laughs in the show.

It is not material that causes the problems but the delivery; the hosts are perfectly friendly but are uninteresting performers overall. The onstage conversation does not hold the attention of the audience, the jokes often falter at the punchline and, as they said themselves, the time travelling sketch section was indeed derivative. The technical element is also flawed - the blackouts and videos to introduce each round are a bit misplaced in what is essentially a scripted comedy.

However, the show’s heart is in the right place and having a lego robot attempt to solve a Rubix cube is impressive in itself. Humans vs Nature is not a show that necessarily provides constant laughs, but there’s a lot to learn which I think the performers may find more important.

The Blurb

Gadgets and old-school mechanics celebrating the triumph of technology over pesky nature: darkness, disease, gravity... 'Thought provoking' ( 'Exponentially funny' (ThreeWeeks on Your Days Are Numbered, 2011). Supported by RAEng.