Dan Attfield is fascinated by statistical web data. So fascinated, in fact, that he has based an entire musical comedy show around Google’s ability to effectively predict future events via analysis of popular search terms.
The concept driving this show is an interesting one, and Attfield manages to pull it off in a weird, but ultimately clever, fashion. His plan, after enlisting the help of his audience, is to predict the apocalypse based on Google search data. Of course, Attfield wants to make sure we understand the numbers involved in this business before we get started, so he opts to give us “an introduction to statistical mathematics… in hip-hop form.”
Attfield’s catchy, genre-spanning ditties are lyrically inventive and incredibly amusing (who knew a song about the correlation coefficient could be so toe-tappingly fun?). He also proves his ad-lib prowess when, armed with a guitar, he improvises some tunes based on his interactions with the audience. It’s the saucy number about fancying someone on your commute, though, which serves as the musical highlight. Attfield’s interactions with his audience are warmly funny. He hands out props and invites some members of the crowd up on stage to really immerse themselves in the action.
It is true that the plot of Google Drive doesn’t feel very linear. Between the songs about romantic interests on the Tube and the punchy jokes, you can occasionally lose sight of where it all fits in with the theme of search engine statistics. This doesn’t detract from the show’s overall quality, however. Google Drive, even with its ever so slightly confusing structure, is a funny, insightful show with an intelligent premise. Attfield, with his charmingly conversational style and his ability to make graphs and stats entertaining, knows how to get a crowd laughing.
Words: Morgan Laing
Dan Attfield: Google Drive, Underbelly, Aug 26-28, 12.20pm