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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

John Lloyd’s The Museum Of Curiosity

John Lloyd and guests

Genre: Debate

Venue: Underbelly at Bristo Square


Low Down

The Museum Of Curiosity is infinite in its capacity for knowledge and gently reminds us that we can be too. 


The Museum Of Curiosity is a format already well established on BBC Radio 4, hosted and devised by John Lloyd as the much-loved kid sibling to big brother BBC TV’s QI – also devised by the very talented Mr Lloyd, along with his partner-in-facts Dan Schreiber.

The concept of the show is simple and huge at the same time; Lloyd and Schreiber play host to three guests from the world of entertainment, science, literature, wonder and beyond – acclaimed academics and comedians sit side by side as they nominate an idea, a place, or a thing that they think is worthy of being placed in the fictitious and surreally bound museum, to be preserved and appreciated. An anti-‘Room 101’, if you like.This afternoon’s guests were comedians Sara Pascoe and Jimmy Carr, alongside vice chancellor of Edinburgh University Sir Tim O’Shea. With the stage set simply with five black chairs and their accompanying microphones, and a projector screen behind them, the elegance of it all was plain to see.

John Lloyd was the chair of proceedings. With a CV that reads like an anthology of influential late 20th century comedy, including Not The Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Lloyd’s easy confidence comes from years of both being right and being curious as to what happens next. There’s a wonder at knowledge that rings so true, and is as infectious as the easy intelligent laughter that continued throughout the entire hour.

Today’s inaugural show to John Lloyd’s Museum Of Curiosity’s small week-long run, the first time it has been taken out solely as a live show not for broadcast, included ‘jealousy’ and ‘the Edinburgh Fringe’ in its submissions. Unlike Room 101 each guest had just one item to exhibit, but these two particularly tessellated particularly well here, prompting stories of the history of the Edinburgh Fringe, first shows and personal anecdotes from all.

The entire proceedings were peppered with random facts taken from the forthcoming book that Lloyd and Schreiber have clearly been immersed in the production of. It was an enlightened and enlightening hour that raced by.

With different guests everyday, each show promises to be a different delight. It’s intelligent, engaging and beautifully humorous. The Museum Of Curiosity is infinite in its capacity for knowledge, and gently reminds us that we can be too.