Treading the Boards

If I’d asked my friends whether I should consider a debut on the West End stage I know what they would have said. So instead this week I did Cancer Crystal Ball for Robin Ince’s Christmas Science Ghosts at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

Here’s what Bruce Dessau of the London Evening Standard made of proceedings, although the review scarcely does justice to an astonishingly eclectic show!

Bruce Dessau:

Most comedy gigs offer audiences something to laugh about. Robin Ince’s annual Bloomsbury package also offers something to think about. This year’s five-night stint mixes stand-ups and scientists. With a seasonal nod to A Christmas Carol, last night’s show looked at the future.

Ince compered briskly, doing little more than pithy impressions of Brians Blessed and Cox. Having booked a preposterously epic 16 acts he exercised impressive restraint to keep the gig under three hours.

Among the experts doing some crystal ball-gazing were Ben Goldacre, who mounted a persuasive argument for more testing of statins, and cancer specialist Robin Hesketh, who had blood taken onstage — a first for a comedy gig.

Swotty storyteller Josie Long invited fans to do her A-level maths test, while Stewart Lee read from a letter supposedly penned by his 11-year-old self about the future: “There will be even more TV channels … seven. One will be just firework displays.” Joanna Neary’s Björk impersonation skirted around the futuristic theme but was so accurately nutty it hardly mattered.

It was not only the comics who raised a laugh. If you ever wondered what it would be like if Eminem rapped about the brain, catch Baba Brinkman, who closed proceedings by freestyling about neuroscience with his wife Heather Berlin. Conclusive proof that it is possible to be funny and clever.

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