This season of twinkling lights, enforced over-eating and general light-hearted frivolity can leave you with a yearning for some cold, objective reason.
And the Christmas Compendium of Reason is not where you’re going to find it.
Because this is a night that seamlessly weaves together live music, comedy, celebrity guests and a truckload of festive pizzazz with – would you believe – science.
Wait, don’t go.
Why should you give up a valuable evening’s-worth of mince pie scoffing time thinking about life’s big questions? Well, for one, this scientific vaudeville’s being hosted by particle physicist and D:Ream heart-throb Brian Cox and stand-up comedian Robin Ince, who, despite never having had a No. 1 hit, is nevertheless quite entertaining. The pair have got previous, too – aside from this annual hootenanny, they co-host The Infinite Monkey Cage, a pop-science podcast that mulls over topics like how the world might end, or whether Brian Cox’s popularity is down to his ‘more than usually symmetrical’ face.
The good news is that even if you can’t stand those two, there’ll be a dazzling line-up of celebrities there to join them. This year’s motley crew is, as always, being kept under wraps, but to give you an idea of the kind of calibre we’re talking here, past guests have included Hugh Grant, Jo Brand, Eddie Izzard and Duran Duran.
So, what else can you expect? Well, the whole evening is a kind of variety show, with live music, comedy, and experiments interspersed with brief, fascinating tidbits of science on everything from happiness to black holes. It’s like the Royal Institution’s Christmas lectures, but with more swearing. Previous shows have involved interfering with Ince’s brainwaves via electrodes; a performance of Bowie’s Space Oddity by an actual astronaut; and spray paint art with Jim Al-Khalili and ‘quantum mind reader’ David Zambuka.
So this year…
…things can only get better.
NOTE: Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s Christmas Compendium of Reason takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 14th December 2021. Tickets cost £15-65, and you can book right HERE.
Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s Christmas Compendium of Reason | Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
Not enough reason for you? Check out the very serious (and interesting) exhibitions on in London now