Edinburgh Festival `99: Children Review

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The Independent Culture
Dr Bunhead's Spangly New Cookbook

Venue 34, The Famous Grouse House. To 29 Aug. Ages 8+

This is what we all hoped science would be like at school. Especially chemistry. A visual feast of whizzes, bangs, explosions and scarlet concoctions bubbling forth from narrow test tubes. It wasn't like that, of course. But give me science with Dr Bunhead's magical chemistry cookbook any day.

In the space of an hour he can turn an onion into a frozen rock that smashes into tiny fragments when it hits the ground. There's a bionic banana that can hammer nails into wood and a running commentary on things chemical, physical and natural. Do you know why glow worms have green bottoms? Do you know how easy it is to make a swamp monster? These are definitely not things to be tried at home, but if you leave without having learnt a great deal, then shame on you.

There's lots of opportunity for participation, and would-be scientists are plucked from the audience. Once decked in silly overall, gardening gloves and goggles, they fall victim to fire, foam and fog. The humour is a touch earnest and not always necessary. Less jokes, more action, please. One of the few shows at this year's Fringe that has got the age group right.

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