Preview: 'You Can't Polish a Nerd' - Festival of the Spoken Nerd at Town Hall | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Preview: ‘You Can’t Polish a Nerd’ – Festival of the Spoken Nerd at Town Hall

Culture Editor Olivia Boyce previews 'You Can't Polish a Nerd', the newest show of science and wonder from Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

The evening of Wednesday 15th of November sees the arrival of the Festival of the Spoken Nerds at Town Hall, a venue in Victoria Square with a long history of comedy and spoken word events. The show by the ‘Nerds’ combines the two, as well as much more, in a raucous evening promising a variety of entertainments that will surprise and delight audiences.

The show, ‘You Can’t Polish a Nerd’, is the newest in a line of highly successful shows put on by the group. Having played a tour to total audience numbers of over 15’000 people in 2015, and with appearances on QI and other media under their belts, the Nerds are now touring with more of what they do best – and what they do best is an evening of science, comedy and song, as well as experiments live on stage. A quick glance at the trailer shows just some of the past work they've done - from small-scale experiments that range from shattering a wine glass with the power of a voice to seemingly gravity-defying tricks, right through to 'go big or go home' combustion experiments and a smoke vortex cannon, it's an entertaining and intellectually fascinating mix.

It’s rare that you see the words ‘stand-up’ and ‘mathematician’ together, but that is exactly what Matt Parker, one of the performers, is. Parker has simultaneously held the prestigious title of London Mathematical Society Popular Lecturer, and performed a sold-out comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bringing a combined love of maths and comedy to the table as part of the show. Steve Mould brings illusions and experiments to the show, promising spectacular feats of trickery to delight the audience. Having appeared on various programmes including the One Show, the online videos of his experiments have attracted millions of views. Helen Arney performs stand-up and songs inspired by science. Having performed everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe to CERN in Geneva and Google's head office in California, Helen now brings her comedic songwriting and performing talent to Town Hall.

‘You Can’t Polish a Nerd’ promises to be an evening full of fun for its audience, as the ‘resplendently geeky trio’ (The Times) put the wow factor into a night of comedy, science and much more.

More information on the Spoken Nerds can be found here, and information on their Town Hall engagement, on Wednesday 15th of November, can be found here. The show is normally recommended for ages 14+.

Recent graduate BA English, soon to be MA Literature and Culture student. Print Editor for Redbrick Culture. Appreciator of all things literary or stagey. Often found singing musical theatre tunes when I think no-one is watching. (@liv_boyce)


13th November 2017 at 12:24 pm

Images from

Festival of the Spoken Nerd