Adelaide Fringe 2020: Dr Matt Agnew’s Guide to Life Beyond Earth

Where: The Parlour at Gluttony

When: 22 and 23 Feb

How much: $30-$33

Astrophysicist and Channel 10’s Bachelor of 2019, Dr Matt Agnew, has brought A Guide to Life Beyond Earth to Gluttony for the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

I was very curious to see what insights and talent Agnew had to offer, maybe an overview on his research, but with a healthy dose of anecdotes relating to his time on reality TV, perhaps a musical number? 

But what I had a ticket to was… a PowerPoint presentation. Agnew talks about how it’s possible to detect life beyond Earth, and is there anybody out there?

Don’t get me wrong, some of those slide transitions were pretty slick, but ultimately the content of the show didn’t greatly excite his audience. I can imagine his show being much more titillating as a high school talk, akin to Indiana Jones and his archaeology lectures.

Considering that the show is in a later time slot, Agnew could’ve loosened up a bit, maybe even say something a bit M-rated, a bit more off-script, but alas it was an info session on habitable planets other than Earth.

Even in the Q and A session after his presentation, he was still quite guarded and not saying anything too off-the-cuff. Unfortunately, no one in the audience asked Matt if he would accept a rose, but I was tempted.

Overall, Matt is conscious of his appeal to his audience, offering more opportunities to ask more questions and take some selfies outside after the show.

The crowd were undeniably fans of the Bachelor, giggling at Matt’s PG13 humour, but I personally was waiting for a moment where he yelled, “HIT IT!” and launched into a musical number about chemical disequilibrium… Spoiler alert, that doesn’t happen. The show needed something that made it more Fringe suitable, and less like a conference lecture.

Informative? Sure. Wholesome? Absolutely. Fringe show material? Debatable.

1 out of 5 stars.

Milly Farmer

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