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Alex Horne: Odds

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

If you have ever wondered what it would be like if Mark Watson was to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures – and let’s face it, who hasn’t? –  Alex Horne’s show will give you a fair idea.

For comedically his style seems to be converging with that of his friend and fellow We Need Answers host, particularly when it comes to offering a running commentary on events in the room, such as a man decanting two drinks into one glass or how people are betting on the various possible outcomes presented to them.

After all this is, broadly, an interactive show about gambling – and in particular proposition betting: the sort of wager that you might find being struck in Victorian gentleman’s clubs, such as whether one upper-class chap could make the journey from London to Dover and back before his chum has made a million dots on a piece of paper. That is a genuine case Horne has uncovered in his frequently fascinating and well-researched lecture.

The robustly-structured hour also takes in golf, Horne having bet that he could secure a hole in one despite never having played the game before, quantum mechanics and the evolution of the universe, which is, after all 13.75billion years of random events leading us all to where we are today. Deep, huh?

Enjoyable though it is, there is the inescapable feeling that Odds is less a full-on comedy show and more an entertaining lesson, full of illustrative experiments and charming low-key PowerPoint animations. That it’s delivered by a charming teacher, happy and enthusiastic in his intelligence, makes the information even more palatable.

So if you’re out for a light-hearted hour of fun facts, a gamble on Horne is likely to pay off. For laugh-out-loud punchlines, take a punt elsewhere.

Review date: 26 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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