The Thermos Museum

Those without a snide, self-deprecating, sense of humour, step away from the Thermos Museum. Do not approach, under any circumstances, unless you are willing to be made a fool of and be treated to a thoroughly naff outdoor exhibition, wherein the eccentric and garishly-dressed Tour Guide seems to wish he were somewhere else, yet also quietly emanates anorak-levels of enthusiasm for flasks. Most importantly, only attempt to take on this shambolic, ironic piece of promenade theatre if you can take a joke and want to be in on it.

Those without a snide, self-deprecating, sense of humour, step away from the Thermos Museum.

Upon being whisked through the bowels of Komedia, and promptly deposited in the refuse-area round the back, the ‘touring museum’ turns out to be a display of heat-retaining vessels of increasingly ridiculous and unlikely provenance. What’s more, they are presented by the twitching, apathetic star of the show, who will tell the audience, participants, in fact co-stars in this delightfully Alan-Patrtridge-esque parody of a walking tour, all about the nature of democracy, Modernist architecture, and Glasgow-Edinburgh rivalries.

As he guides the group past the air-conditioning vents of one of Brighton’s most well-noted venues and into the crowded laundry room, each ticket-holder will likely find themselves looking sidelong into one another’s eyes and giggling quietly, unable to quite believe what’s unfolding before them, as this brief, subversive anti-show stumbles toward its conclusion. Where the demonstration lacks in content it expects you to fill in the gaps, and British manners will make the experience unavoidably awkward, before an ironic sense of humour makes it hilariously so.

If you hope to learn anything truthful about flasks, coolers or heated containers, you’ll be disappointed by the Thermos Museum because, as the Guide will freely admit, most of the facts he dispenses aren’t true anyway. So too will you be disappointed if you’re expecting your host to do the work for you, as this super low-budget ‘performance’ works against your expectations and will not amuse the unimaginative: the only thing really on display in this museum is your own ability to take a joke.

Oh, and you’ll get a little badge too, although don’t be taken aback by the brazen merchandising opportunities foisted upon you as you exit the museum, naturally, through the gift shop.

Reviews by Josh Adcock

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The Blurb

This absurd guided tour will teach you nothing about Thermos flasks. "Quirky and nostalgic" (A-N magazine), "A joy" (Glasgow Herald), "A supreme piece of artistic geekiness" (The Scotsman), "Brilliantly odd." (The Big Issue)