Late-Night Letters and Numbers

“I’ve got two beers. I’m ready to go.” Such is the quick wit that we were treated to by host Nick Caddaye.

This was a show that was less about math and a lot more about comedy, following the premise of the SBS TV show, only fuelled by a lot more alcohol.

For those that aren’t familiar with the original show, the basic premise is that two contestants compete in various rounds. The letters rounds are like Boggle, in which the contestants try to make the longest words out of nine random letters. The numbers rounds see a target number supplied by the audience try to be achieved through six randomly drawn numbers using math and wizardry. There is also a conundrum round where a nine-letter anagram must be solved.

The panel was made up of comedians and performers starring in other Fringe shows, and the opening ten minutes was a comedy show of the panel introducing themselves, and lamenting the poor choices in their lives that led up to them to being there that night.

Adding a late night comedy element means that although they take the game somewhat seriously, there is a lot of silliness and crude language, as well as comedian Tom Walker teaching the audience an array of newly-invented words and creative mathematics.

There is also strong encouragement for audience participation. Early on in the show there were plenty of people guessing answers among themselves, but it wasn’t until Jason Pestell came up with some rather explicit words that the audience seemed to let go of its inhibitions and throw out any answers it could think of.

When a nine letter anagram was solved as a word that didn’t have a letter in the original jumble – the crowd erupted into outrage leading the host to claim a very accurate sentiment for the night that, “I have never felt more like I’m in the Thunderdome than I do right now.”

★★★