The new live DVD from science comedy trio Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Just for Graphs, is out now, and we’ve been sent a copy to review. We got together a pile of appropriately nerdy science fans to watch (left), and here’s what we thought.
The latest Festival of the Spoken Nerd DVD/download is from the Nerds’ 2015 show Just for Graphs – it toured the UK in late 2015, and had a hugely successful Edinburgh Fringe run in August 2015. The show is themed around graphs, plots, charts and diagrams – as mathematicians, we were sad to see they’re not entirely using graphs made from nodes and arcs (although a few of those do make it in the show!)
As well as plenty of classic diagrams (Venn, Euler and otherwise) there’s also plots – Steve Mould plots the birth of his child, while Matt Parker plots a function that plots itself – and Helen Arney brings musical interludes and live demos, including an electrifying demonstration of how the graph of electrical voltage in a speaker cable can be transmitted through not just wires but people, and at one point a large section of the audience.
The show also contains some nostalgia for retro technology (which raised some cheers from us), and an interesting new way of plotting a graph of the pressure inside a tube of gas – by setting the gas on fire, of course.
While watching it on a screen doesn’t quite have the same ambience as seeing it live in a theatre, you still get a sense of how the live audience experiences it and the show is full of visual spectacles, which do come across well on screen. I was part of the production team for some of the tour shows and Fringe run, and it was just like being there for real (only smaller and more pixelated).
The show is full of science references and deliciously geeky jokes, and without spoiling too many of the punchlines/conclusions, if you’re into maths or science and want to be entertained, it’s a graph a minute.