The Over-Analysers’ Book Club presents: Frankenstein. Monday 29 January, Waterstones TCR

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Books Showoff will return in 2018 with a new and exciting format.

Once a month in 2018 you’ll find us in the basement cocktail bar of Waterstones Tottenham Court Road where six performers from the worlds of reading, writing, publishing, academia and comedy will over-analyse the same classic book, each taking a different entertaining angle.

In January 2018 it’s the turn of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN (1818).

Thwarted in his desire to create the perfect man, Victor Frankenstein cannot deal with all his feelings about the giant, ugly baby that now wants to kill him. Victor just wishes his creature would make a little more effort. I mean, would it kill him to moisturise?

Is Frankenstein basically just about daddy issues?

Was Shelley off her face on drugs?

Why is masculinity so fragile?

Joining compere, comedian, and Masterpiece Bookshelf podcaster Steve Cross:

Dr Sarah Artt – Sarah is a Lecturer in English and Film at Edinburgh Napier University and co-leads The Age of Frankenstein Project. She thinks Frankenstein might be about makeovers.

Amanda DiGioia – Amanda is a PhD student at UCL and author of ‘Childbirth and Parenting in Horror Texts: The Marginalized and the Monstrous’ (July 2017). Frankenstein = daddy issues.

Julie Aelbrecht – Julie has two useless Master’s degrees, one of which led her to write 25,000 words about a single poem (it was a long poem). She wants to know why Frankenstein’s female characters are so boring.

Julia Bourke – Julia successfully persuaded the University of London to fund her PhD, which involved less public engagement than Dr Frankenstein’s, but also fewer murders. She will be joined by Dr Slaney, who explains why it’s important to include your creation’s monstrous bride on your impact statement.

Belle Taylor – Belle is a reluctant chemist; although her own work has thus far been far less successful than Victor Frankenstein’s. Eight years in a chemistry department means that she is no stranger to weird ideas, failed experiments and grotesque results.

Plus more from stand-up comedian Sarah Bennetto.

Line-up subject to change.

Doors are 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Please note this is earlier than Books Showoff 2016-17.

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Science Showoff special with 500 Women Scientists London – Wednesday 6th December



The UK’s best chaotic science comedy cabaret (if we do say so ourselves) has teamed up with the 500 Women Scientists London branch for an awesome night of performances by female and non-binary speakers.

All ticket money will be donated to the charity Womankind, transforming the lives of women and girls across the world.

Join us on Wednesday 6th December at the Star of Kings, London for a gig headlined by Cerys Bradley, with our line-up:

Heather Fitzke and her interdisciplinary quest for the perfect poo (story)

– Science-y sketches from Tracey Ullman’s Show writer Gemma Arrowsmith

– Crocodile and spider expert Selina Groh

– Urban health specialist and Perfect Liars Club MC Layla McCay on how cities make us feel

Eleanor Armstrong explains what it’s like working with children and lots of exploding-sciencey-things

– PhD student Maia Elliott on the biological battle of the sexes

Emma Lidington, a Californian researcher working in a London cancer hospital


The Last Books Showoff of 2017!



We’ll be once-again entirely-unintentionally blocking out the Popular Science section with a giant screen at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road on Thursday 23 November, for 2017’s final chaotic cabaret for literature lovers.

Join our compere Steve Cross in the cosy basement bar for a cocktail-fuelled compilation of quickfire talks from a line-up of authors, researchers, podcasters, comedians and other book nerds. This month with an also-accidental sciencey-theme.

The line-up includes:

– Experimental psychologist Daniel Richardson, author of Man Vs Mind
– Materials expert, trumpet player and vegan Anna Ploszajski
– PhD student and comedian Sarah Jones
– Bee expert Joe Colgan
– Biologist and joke teller Dave Christensen trying to remember why he hates Ready Player One so much
– Palaeontologist Selina Groh explains the woes of a book lover
– Edd Bankes on the Joy of Gay Sex


Plus more from Luke Murphy

Tickets are £7 from the Waterstones website or you can pay cash at the bar on the night.

Doors are 7pm for a 7.30 start.

Science Showoff – Tues 14th November – Star of Kings



Enjoy laughing and learning and drinking in basements?

Join Alex Lathbridge, host of the Science Museum’s Large Standup Collider, as he brings you a special night of nerdy comedy.

From baking with chemicals to the wacky events involved in heart transplants, he’s curated a lineup of brilliantly funny talent for Science Showoff on the 14th of November.

Here’s who to expect:

Vivian Tong is a full-time baker: she bakes zirconium by day and cake by night. In ‘Baking with Zirconium’, she’ll be exploring (somewhat tenuous) similarities between baking cake and baking metal

Rohin Francis – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the heart transplant, Dr Rohin Francis is offering one lucky Showoff attendee a free transplant (replacement heart not included)

Shalaka Kurup – What’s worse than being subjected to a conversation with an engineer? Giving one some wine, a stage and nine minutes to rant about being single. We apologise in advance

Nidhi Gupta is a doctor, professional filmmaker, entrepreneur and mountain trekker. In ‘Trust me, I’m not a TV doctor’, Nidhi will explore the impact of art imitating life, imitating art and how the film and television depiction of medicine has altered perceptions and expectations and even the language of modern day medicine

Ana Gomez Ramirez, a biochemical scientist, will take us through a brief analysis of some of the most common stereotypes about scientists and challenge their validity

Lorit Dror is a Human Evolution and Behaviour MSc Student. Over the course of nine minutes learn about what it means to be an anthropologist, as well as the pros and cons of being one.

Plus more from Shivani Dave

Tickets are £6.60 in advance or £8 cash on the door.

Doors are 7pm for a 7.30 start.

History Smashdown! Wednesday 15th November – The Water Poet



On Wednesday 15th November, four scholars from across the intellectual spectrum will fight it out to find the best year ever.

Our experts will take to the stage using wit and knowledge to take you into the past, to share their passions, to entertain and delight you.

Then YOU will choose the greatest year the human race has ever seen.

Hosted by Steve Cross and with performers from the worlds of history, science, archaeology and languages.

The competitors:

FROM HISTORY – Fern Riddell, historian, TV star and expert in the suffragettes, victorian smut and storytelling

FROM ARCHAEOLOGY – Paul Duncan McGarrity, archaeologist, host of the Ask An Archaeologist podcast and top-notch nerdy comedian

FROM SCIENCE – Steve Lee, Royal Society University Research Fellow at Cambridge, chemist and entertainer

FROM MODERN LANGUAGES – Geraldine Horan, Lecturer in German at UCL and expert on swearing.

Join us at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6.


Science Showoff – Weds 1st Nov – Star of Kings



Joining your host Steve Cross at the Star of Kings on Wednesday 1st November:

Hannah Thompson has just started a full time job after her PhD on the link between type 2 diabetes and large bowel cancer. She’s going to be talking about the perks and not-so perks of co-working space

Jamie Upton wants you to stop banging on about your basic, entry-level apocalypse worries and let you know what you should actually be shitting yourself about right now

Tim Eveleigh will attempt a unique social experiment: splitting the audience into distinct age groups using only the medium of humour (and PowerPoint)

Andrew Steele will be telling you about the five-digit codes which could save your life, or document its hilarious premature end

Ted Hill is a science communicator, comedian and failed primatologist, who is going to attempt to solve the greatest mystery known to science

Sarah Jones on mining in Wales

Plus more from Edd Bankes and Laura Emson

All money raised from ticket sales (£6.60 online or £8 cash on the door) will be donated to the charity Welsh Women’s Aid.

Doors at 7pm for a 7.30 start.


A Night of Physics and Fun with Dr Jessamyn Fairfield



Join us for a night of science and comedy to celebrate Dr Jessamyn Fairfield.

Jessamyn is Ireland’s face of physics, and will be in London to pick up the Mary Somerville Medal from the Institute of Physics for her public work.

So the Institute and Science Showoff have put together a night of physics fun with some of the best science performers in the UK.

All ticket money will be donated to local charity Women at the Well.

Any tickets not sold in advance will be available on the door for £10. BOOK NOW!


Steve Cross, comedian and player of games. Your MC and star of dungeons and dragons podcast Chaotic Adequate.

Fran Day is a theoretical physicist and a comedian. She will ask what theoretical physicists do all day, and whether or not there is any point to it.

Dr Sadie Jones AKA She Of The Astro Biological Sword (SOTABS)– Life after an Astrophysics PhD: my experiences being an ‘almost’ academic and a ‘kind-of’ science teacher. It really is tough being an astrowarrior in the real world, even when you wield a sword.

Alfredo Carpineti – People have the expectation that science is done by white men in tweed jackets with messy hair and messy desks, but Alfredo is here to demonstrate how pop stars have been secretly teaching science from the stage.

Hannah Fry – Mr Markov and his marvellous monopoly tactics.

Scary Boots will be channeling Professor Dique-Mahn (FFS CBA) who will share what he, and other great men of science, already know: why there are no wimmin in science.

Plus Jessamyn Fairfield and Yolanda Ohene