The evolution will not be televised

Melanie Coram
Baba Brinkman.

PERFORMANCE
The Rap Guide to Evolution
Octagon Theatre, UWA
4.5 stars

Review: Melanie Coram

Darwin's theory of evolution is being explained in a University of WA lecture theatre. There are PowerPoint images on the big screen.

There are science geeks and young people, and many in the audience are both geeky and youthful.

And there is Biggie Smalls on the big screen and a DJ and loud beats.

Welcome to Baba Brinkman's Rap Guide to Evolution.

With the help of DJ Jamie Simmonds, Brinkman expounds on the theory of evolution with modern analogies, context and data.

Rap music is the mode of delivery. And rap culture is the perfect case study for evolutionary psychology.

Rappers and urban artists have long proclaimed the survival of the fittest theory, dovetailing with Darwins's findings.

In the gangsta world, live fast, die young is a mantra. In evolutionary terms, die young, live fast is the more logical conclusion.

This Canadian scholar and rap fan sizzles on stage as he rips rhythmically through strands of evolutionary theory with masterly command of the science. And he tackles with equal gusto opposing arguments swirling around Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

His lyrics are sharp and funny, whizzing by and exploding like missiles, each line crafted for maximum impact.

Rap fans are familiar with rapid-fire poetic gymnastics but for the rest of us some aural adjustment is required. A lot of the clever dissertations may fly by without sticking in the brain. Lucky for us, Brinkman's numbers linger on in the digital world for us to go back to.

To have the performance at the Octagon may have misled potential audiences that this was a show just for science geeks or just for young people.

A wider audience, such as those who fill Fringe Festival tents, would have loved this show. Unfortunately it was a one-night only show. But should it - or any other Baba Brinkman show - pass this way again, line up for tickets.

The Rap Guide to Evolution is recommended for people over 14. There is a little bad language and - as would be expected of a performance centred on evolution - big slabs of content about sex and reproduction.

Brinkman boils down his years of study on the subject and comes up with one succinct exhortation.

Choose your sex partners wisely. Do it for our species, people.

But of course he says it with much verve and swagger than I ever could.