Tom Lang : Love, Factually

By Colin Flaherty

Is love purely a chemical process? What animal has the largest testicles? If you want to find out, Tom Lang has put his day job as a Science Educator to perfect use in Love Factually, a comedic lecture exploring the science of love and sex, the birds and the bees and many other animals.

Though not a show of continuous rolling on the floor guffawing, it provided a good balance between education and jokes. Some of the examples presented were strange enough to provide their own laughs but when combined Lang’s own observational quips, he kept us smiling and regularly giggling. His lines were peppered with many Freudian slips; just how many were deliberate was debatable, but it added some welcome innuendo to the slightly clinical proceedings.

As Lang presented his spiel, PowerPoint slides were displayed on a screen above the stage. Images of the animals, often engaged in amusing and fascinating courtship rituals, gave visual emphasis to the weird and wonderful facts that were presented to us. The odd celebrity popped up where their appearance or behaviour mimicked that of the animal at hand to provide additional chuckles. His own “hand drawn” diagrams were cute and amusingly crude. Their use in illustrating the process of evolution and natural selection of various species was effective, often showing a rather graphic aftermath involving an obviously favourite reptile.

A raffle used to illustrate the utopian sex life of a species of primate was clear in its intent but the conclusion was a bit hazy. On the up side, an audience member will receive a treat with not much effort.

The show was broken up with an interval of sorts. A conservation video was screened about a certain microscopic creature of human nether regions that has been facing extinction over recent years. His expectation of it receiving huge laughs fell a little short, but it was certainly worth a gentle chuckle.

This was a fun hour in the company of a confident performer that is sure make you more knowledgeable at its conclusion. You certainly won’t look at the custom of giving flowers as a romantic gesture the same way again.

Love, Factually is on at The Duke of Wellington Hotel until April 7