Brighton Fringe Review – 1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom *****

Posted On 21 May 2018 at 2:42 pm

1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom: Samantha Baines c/o Hannah Layton Management; The Blockhouse, The Warren, 20th May

This was a one-woman show which promised to explore the multitudinous lost women of science by actor, writer and TV performer Samantha Baines. I’d not heard of her before though viewers of the TV show Call the Midwife may find her familiar. That notwithstanding, she was a charming, very witty and enthusiastic proponent of her central theme, that of female scientists and their achievements erased from history.

Beginning the show with the statement ‘I like science and spelling and celebrating amazing women’, she was off. Samantha Baines can certainly talk, and she led us on slightly over an hour’s journey into three carefully selected lost women of science amidst witty ramblings about the length of time needed to find your keys in a handbag to fend off an attacker (with audience participation).

She introduced a poetry corner incorporating a fuzzy felt crafted sign leading to some audience banter with a female military policewoman, and was replete with her own recently published book of poetry on this topic; all of which all rhymes, as she was at pains to point out.

This award-winning comedian, who has previously starred in episodes of The Crown, told us that she was queen of the pun and she certainly was. This wit and wordplay popped up in the most unlikely places whilst exploring a selection of key forgotten female scientists. We journeyed from 1838 and the inventor of the flat bottomed bag, to 1878 and an Irish aviatrix, before a trip to the 1980s and NASA.

Erudite, funny and well-researched, the audience lapped this up, responding well to the twists and turns of the charming Samantha’s mind. I found myself thinking that this would make a great Radio 4 series for the 6.30pm comedy slot. It really has a great take on the theme, offering a comedic romp through history, and informative without being didactic. Throughout the show, she offered lots of amusing conversational avenues and routes to other thoughts such as her relationship with her lovely dad.

I’d really recommend seeing this if you get the chance. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed a lot, learned a great deal, found it entertaining, insightful and heartfelt too. Not easy to squeeze all of those positive things into one show but Ms Baines certainly managed it and I would love to see future shows from this talented performer.

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