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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Low Down

“Join multi award-winning comedian and scientist Dónal Vaughan as he shows you amazing science tricks using everyday items. And the best part? You can do all the tricks too! Become a science wizard and amaze your family and friends. Fun for all ages!”


I mean, the man nearly blew up the venue… Yet we all felt in completely safe hands. He was wearing a white coat after all…

These are tricks you can try at home, with adult supervision. Now, there are many kids’ “science shows” on the fringe. This was is less in your face than most. Our host is gentle, very funny and addresses his gags and one-liners varyingly to the children and the adults in the packed Maggie’s Front Room at the Free Sisters. Most are funny!

A man starting out on the tour circuit and hoping for gigs in schools, he well deserves it all. This is such a pleasing science and magic show, loaded with tidbits of science, and plenty of tricks that get whoops and wows from the audience. It feels very genuine and authentic. We aren’t stooges for the comedy. We are a necessary audience.

It has a stand-up feel in terms of comedy but the tricks are all pulled off with aplomb, even the ones that don’t quite work first time are dealt with with humility and skilled reaction. We learn how to blow up things, set light to things, and how not to pop balloons with sharp objects.

What makes a show like this work for children is when the performer lets the tricks speak for themselves and when the build-up to the tricks isn’t too much flannel and padding. There’s a generosity in the amount of tricks in the show and the scientific explanations are interesting, entertaining and never too dry. Our magician-scientist delivers simplicity and the feats and stunts are all the better for it.

This is a well-rounded show that, on occasion, loses clarity when we can’t quite see below the sight lines of the audience in front of us. But the self-deprecating humour, the witty one-liners, the pace of the show, all add up to a winning formula.

The audience loved every minute and wanted more when it ended. Well done to Dónal Vaughan for making science accessible and not bashing magic and mystery in the process. Well done for keeping it kind and gentle and allowing the tricks to show and speak powerfully to us. Fine work. Book him!