Comedy's men in white coats

Choice: One to see in the next seven days
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The Independent Culture
There's been a lot of mumbling about sophistry - the blithe spinning of specious arguments - ever since Messrs Waldegrave and co allegedly performed a bit of revisionist lexicography in explaining how they didn't lie about not flogging a load of whacking great big guns to Iraq. Next they'll be insisting that the success of Keanu Reeves is the cause of all global conflict, or that turquoise is the most powerful force in the universe. Or they would, if Modern Problems in Science hadn't got there first.

The Modern Problems crew (left) are a trio of modern Gorgiases, strange- brained American impro comedians from backgrounds in geology, computers and law, who turn a theatre into a lecture room and proceed to prove such surreal theories, via madly dumb but oddly convincing mutations of hardcore science.

They first burst into Britain at the 1994 Edinburgh Festival, demanding theses to be proven from the audience, and, even more bravely, demanding suggestions for each "professor's" scientific speciality for that evening. When my sunny companion screamed out (in a moment of divine inspiration) "Molecular plant scientist!", Rich Fulcher's face was a picture of devil- may-care panic, but they get on with it like real troupers. It's their job.

Whether scrawling bizarre diagrams on a white-board, or dressing up as Viennese psychoanalysts and trying on all manner of optimistic accents, Fulcher and his cohorts, Phil Granchi and the marvellous Dick Costolo, exhibit a wonderful, nervous on-stage chemistry. They're screamingly funny, and since the run coincides with Science Week, can be made part of a thorough education program for you and your children. Boffin-tastic, mate.

STEVEN POOLE

Bloomsbury Theatre, London WC1 (0171-388 8822) 19-23 Mar, pounds 8/pounds 6

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