Baba Brinkman and Heather Berlin: Off The Top

Canon’s Gait
8-30 August (excluding 18th)
I wonder if it’s possible to be open-mouthed and grinning widely at the same time? I shamefully admit that I didn’t go to this show with very high expectations. I thought that a husband-and-wife team rapping about neuroscience in the Free Fringe could easily turn into a cringefest when am awkward teacher at school tries to ‘get down with the kids’. But I was very, very mistaken. These guys are incredibly clever and inspiring, and manage to produce an educational, inspiring and wonderfully entertaining show from beginning to end.
Baba and Heather had a delightful, bantering rapport between them, and referenced their relationship often in order to explain some of the harder concepts of neuroscience along the way. Once you got over the slightly bizarre experience of two white suburban guys (one very brave member of the audience acting as a control) in an self-consciously ironic ‘rap battle’ on stage, you were drawn into the neuroscience control studies being conducted live by Dr.Heather Berlin, who is a very cool and understandable PhD level researcher.
Admittedly, as a psychology major, I was particularly thrilled hearing about the latest science on neural networks, creativity, and particularly which areas of the brain are active during improvisation, but everyone was keen to learn more about ourselves as we were encouraged to try out the cognitive, perception and memory tasks on the projector screen.

There was a bearded, bespectacled member of the audience unfortunately standing right behind me, but I didn’t have a context for his extra loud guffaws, clapping and whooping until he was invited to leap on stage to perform his love poem from the perspective of a nerdy mathematician/scientist. It was perfectly and brilliantly executed, with breathtaking connections being made at breakneck speed. No wonder he’d been hyping himself up into a frenetic state of readiness. He needed it.
It was rated as a PG, and I think some younger science geek kids would certainly enjoy it, but there were some sexual references, mostly innuendo, that parents might want to be aware of. I thought it was a shame that the Scottish kids were at school during this lunchtime show, as surely they would have been inspired.
The show ends with a rap by Heather herself, and its humour sent you off with a good feeling, adding to a sense of smugness that you’d stumbled across an absolute jewel of a show in the Free Fringe.  Please go and give them a decent donation – I don’t think you would regret it, unless called up to rap and it goes horribly flat…yes you might regret that. Big up MCs Brinkman and Berlin – you deserve every bit of your FIVE STARS!
Reviewer : Lisa Williams

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