FRINGE: Your Days Are Numbered: The Maths of Death – Comedy – The Science Exchange – 3.5K

There’s the old adage, “nothing is certain except death and taxes”. Timandra Harkness and Matt Parker have combined their talents (his maths, hers comedy) to explore the former and to look at the statistics that relate to our exits from this world.

Matt obviously loves all things maths, warming up the audience with a quick exercise that shows off his prowess. We then get into the main event. The first half of the show is predominantly taken up by a segment titled, “What Are the Odds?” in which figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics are utilised to look at the odds of dying from particular causes. While this may sound a tad depressing, it’s all very light-hearted and so ends up being a pleasant mix of enlightening and amusing. Following this, there’s the practical “five tips to help you not die in a plane crash”, a countdown to the death of the entire audience, an optimistic look at the health effects of alcohol and a rather cynical, but sadly accurate, analysis of the use of health statistics in the media.

Harkness and Parker work well together, projecting a nice combination of nerdiness and affability. The content is interesting, though with this type of show there’s always the worry that some of it might go over the heads of those with no knowledge of statistics, while other sections may be boringly simple for those who do. There seemed to be a good mix from both groups in the audience though and the enjoyment seemed to be widespread, so it appears that they have managed to get the balance right. A lot of the humour in this show is quietly amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny and there are a few points where it falls a bit flat, but this is not a fatal flaw.

You don’t have to love statistics for this show to be entertaining, though it is likely to appeal most to those with at least a passing interest. So if you enjoy your comedy a little intellectual and don’t mind a graph or two, get along to the Science Exchange. Chances are, you’ll have a good time.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

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