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Weird science; Love science? Love comedy? Then you'll inevitably love A Pythagorean Cabaret, a new evening dedicated to the entertaining appliance of science. Compere Dr Dean Burnett explains the theory behind it to Dave Owens.

LIKE a meteor shooting overhead, it may not have escaped your notice, but science-inspired shows are blazing something of a trail on our television screens.

One only has to look at omnipresent housewives' favourite and boffin poster boy Dr Brian Cox for evidence of this simple calculation.

Then there are shows such as Bang Goes The Theory and Channel 4's award-winning US sitcom The Big Bang Theory - which centres around the unhinged antics of four nerdy academics, to reinforce the point.

On stage there has been a similar scientific correlation. Infinite Monkeys, which blended comedy and science played to sold out auditoriums, including a date at St David's Hall in Cardiff.

Now, a new cabaret night launching in Cardiff on Monday is attempting to make science simple while portraying the subject in a comedic light - via an overhead projector probably. A Pythagorean Cabaret, staged by Cardiff University's Institute of Engineering and Technology, aims to be an evening of interesting and entertaining science featuring some of South Wales' top science communicators Compering the launch will be Cardiff University doctor of neuroscience Dean Burnett, who also moonlights as a stand-up comic on the South Wales comedy circuit.

"It is essentially a project started by Rhys Phillips of Pythagoras' Trousers, the Radio Cardiff science show," explains Dean. "But it is the combined efforts of a number of enthusiastic science promoters and performers based in and around Cardiff.

"It is one in what appears to be an ongoing series of science and logical entertainment events in Cardiff, and there also appears to be an enthusiastic audience for it still."

Given the success of Infinite Monkeys and the resultant tour, Dean believes there are many reasons why science based shows are becoming so popular.

"I think this is due to a number of factors," he muses. "Largely though I'd attribute it to the increasing commercialisation of the entertainment industry and the technological advancements that have allowed such easy access to information and communication with like minded people via social networks and the like.

"There have always been a lot of people who like science and intellectual things, but it used to be something socially negative to admit to.

"Now that people are rebelling against excessive pop culture and can easily communicate with others in a world where being tech-savvy is almost a prerequisite, we're seeing a lot more shows like this to meet the demand. And when shows like this work and that information spreads, it just fuels the trend further.

"Also, being a geek or nerd is sort of ironically cool nowadays. I'm not sure if that's a cause or effect of this trend though."

So what sorts of people do you get turning up at these shows? "You'd assume it was just a bunch of slightly cliched geeky types, but it's really not," says Dean. " "Some people come out of plain curiosity, some because of personal interests, some simply because it's something different. But it's always a varied audience.

So what can we expect from the night? "Like the audience, it's a real mixed bag," explains Dean. "It's me pointing many of the ways in which the brain can go wrong - sort of a pre-emptive strike, to make them less sure of themselves when they think I'm rubbish - to several physicists discussing the more interesting aspects of astronomy and lightning, to the physics of guitars and the likes of an extreme scientist."

A Pythagorean Cabaret will be held at National MuseumWales on Monday, October 10. Tickets pounds 5 in advance, pounds 6 on the door. For more information, visit www.pythagoras-trousers.co.uk THE LINE-UP * Research engineer and presenter of Pythagoras' Trousers Rhys Phillips * Astronomer Chris North * Science junkie Huw James * Guitar physicist Mark Lewney * Systems engineer and escapologist Jon Holt * Science rapper John Chase * Junior doctor and comedian David Steele DON'T MISS TONIGHT...

Snoop Dogg, Chipmunk Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff Tickets: pounds 29.50 Check out the hip hop superstar who is sure to be wearing a Cardiff City shirt for his eagerly-awaited Welsh date.

Tel: 029 2022 4488 Michael Forever - The Tribute Concert Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Tickets: Various prices The life of the king of pop is celebrated courtesy of a glittering array of superstars. Tel: 029 2023 0130 Sarah Blasko Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff Tickets: pounds 8 The antipodean indie pop princess with the penchant for shimmering and sumptuous songwriting. Tel: 029 2023 2199

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* Pythagorean Cabaret compere Dr Dean Burnett
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 8, 2011
Words:742
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