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Published February 17, 2019

The show The Most Amazing Planet in the Universe: An Astronomer’s Ode to Earth has got to be either one of the nerdiest cabaret shows in the world, or one of the most entertaining introductory physics lectures around. In essence, a PhD astronomer with an obvious penchant for performing and his science decides to go on tour from Canberra to Melbourne, enlightening and entertaining crowds with his knowledge of the cosmos and skills on the piano and guitar. It’s a pretty solid concept that was handled reasonably well.

The show did have some technical troubles, straight off the bat. The clicker was unresponsive at key moments, and periodically the sound and lighting seemed a little out of sync. However, this did not detract overall for three reasons. One, they were often minor and hardly noticeable. Two, the ones that were noticeable were extremely well handled by the performer, playing along with them or entertaining even when there were.

The third reason was that the show had a university lecture vibe about it – and if anyone has had any experience with professors and technology, then you shall understand the amusement and slight joy that comes from watching highly intelligent people struggle with technology.

The show was an unusual mix of elements, which seemed initially not to gel but worked on a holistic level. There were touching moments of soft Debussy piano whilst examining the beauty of various parts of the solar system; there were child-like stories and animations; and in between, there were protest songs, lectures, and comedy sketches. It was almost like a stream of consciousness, focussed on enlightening the audience through a variety of methods.

Pretty effective method too. I now know this entire reality (material matter) is but a speck passing through dark energy.

Overall, a solid night out. Although there were technical difficulties, the old university-style charm of the performance made it enjoyable. Although the mixture between lecturer and performer did seem a bit confused at times, it generally worked well, and garnereda positive reaction from the audience. Definitely worth seeing if you like science, learning, music, and performing astronomers.

You can catch The Most Amazing Planet in the Universe: An Astronomer’s Ode to Earth next at Adelaide Fringe Festival: 6.15pm, Wed 13 Mar 2019 at Rob Roy Hotel, Adelaide.

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