In publishing there’s something called an advertorial. It looks like a piece of unbiased editorial journalism but conceals a hefty advertising plug for some particular company or organisation. Theatrically speaking, Science Museum Live on Tour! is a staged advertorial. Fortunately for the children who are the target audience, it’s also great fun.
Revision for exams was never this engaging in my school-days. The nearest contemporary counterpart is Horrible Science from Terry Deary and the Birmingham Stage Company’s Horrible History stable. Two young presenters work a succession of experiments – including a number of the “don’t try this at home!” variety – with the aid of both vocal and physical participation by eager young volunteers from the audience.
They also show us video clips of notable pieces from the Science Museum’s collections, both in London and in countryside storage. There are sound and lighting effects as well as amusing cartoon-style recreations of some scientific battles of the past. It’s good to see Robert Hooke as well as Isaac Newton given a chance at the limelight. A Tardis-like structure forms the background for the experiments, which the adults seem to enjoy just as much as the children.