The Bottom Line
- Original and innovative approach to science education through entertainment.
- Dynamic, enjoyable character of Doktor Kaboom, created and expertly performed by David Epley.
- Interactive performance allows students the opportunity to shine while teaching valuable lessons.
- The show lasts only one hour.
- It is not yet available on DVD.
- This review is based on a March 13, 2010, performance at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
- It is an interactive science show, featuring Doktor Kaboom. Three children volunteers were chosen to assist onstage.
- Doktor Kaboom is a character created by David Epley, who has over 20 years of improvisational acting experience.
Guide Review - Doktor Kaboom!
The show started with a creative (and amusing) variant of the old "egg into a bottle" experiment, where Kaboom explains to everyone that there is no such thing as "suction" - just areas that have more pressure and areas that have less pressure. I personally thought this was the least compelling of the experiments, which is more of an indication of how good the other experiments are than a flaw with the experiment. However, it was my son's favorite, and in this case I think he gets the more decisive vote. (It is primarily a kids-oriented program, after all.)
From there, the show proceeds through a diverse series of experiments from physics and chemistry, with a bit of optical illusion thrown in. Epley's two decades of experience working the festival circuit really shine through, as he expertly takes each moment and plays it to maximum benefit. Doktor Kaboom is a character which could easily fall apart into campiness, but he embraces the mad scientist cliche so sincerely that the entire audience (young and old alike) goes along for the ride.
Going into the show, I knew there'd be scientific demonstrations, so that obviously wasn't a big surprise. What really blew me away was the unexpected emphasis on underlying science concepts that often get overlooked in the desire to teach the nuts and bolts of the subject. For example, Doktor Kaboom helps teach kids the importance of:
- science safety (goggles, gloves, don't step on bananas, etc.)
- the tentative nature of all scientific knowledge
- being wrong is allowed in science
- the need for repeated experiments to confirm a hypothesis
- the application of science in everyday life
So, with all of these other elements covered, I guess the question that remains is what "actual science" was demonstrated: