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Say ‘hi’ to Samantha Baines

The actress and pun-tastic comedian comes to Oxford this month with her sell-out Edinburgh show on women and science. We've nobbled her in her lab coat to tell all.

If you’re a fan of women, puns and science, then comedian and actress Samantha Baines basically wrote her critically-acclaimed show for you, my friend. One Woman, a High Flyer & a Flat Bottom was a total sell-out at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and will have you sniggering your way through the evening when she comes to the Oxford Playhouse on 29 Mar but until then, we’ve already accosted her to talk marmite, tampons and

People either love or hate a pun.  What do you say to the haters?

I’d say: I bet you hate marmite too! I actually don’t like marmite but I love a good pun. Here’s one for you: I did comedy at a baking convention, instead of shutting out they just threw Eccles.

So, tell us what the show’s all about? Science, isn’t it? 

It’s about the lost women of science! I discovered some awesome women who should be household names but for some reason haven’t got the attention they deserve so I thought talking about their brilliant lives for an hour with a few jokes thrown in might help!

What possessed you to bring science onto the comedy stage – what was your inspiration?

I just like science – I’m basically just a woman who wants to get more out of her Physics GSCE. For each of my shows I pick a sciencey subject then do tons of research and write jokes based on the facts and stories I discover. It makes it a fun way of working for me and I learn new things, too!

Do you think that women just aren’t taken seriously in science – your show kind of plays on that idea, doesn’t it?

I think women have faced extreme sexism in so many fields and one of them is science. So many brilliant women have been written out of the history books and shouldn’t have been. Two of my lost women don’t come up if you search their names in the online reference section of the British Library. The British Library has over 20 million books!

What’s the best fact you learned in your research?

Sally Ride (1st American woman in space) was asked (by the engineers at NASA) if 100 tampons would be enough for her 7 day space flight in the 1980s.

[Muddy eventually manages to speak again] What can I expect from an hour in your company?

Depends what we are up to. We could pop for an earl grey tea with soya milk and have a natter, or watch hilarious cat videos on YouTube. If you mean what can you except from my hour show then I’d say facts, silly poems and a few puns thrown in for good measure. After seeing my show you will be very handy at a pub quiz.

Women have really been in the spotlight of late, haven’t they? What do you make of it all? 

Yes and about time! I think it’s wonderful that we are starting to recognise women’s positive contribution to the world and women are coming together and we are supporting one another to speak up and say that we shall not be silenced.

What would be the Holy Grail of all roles for you?

Something fun in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.

What do you love more – the acting or the comedy?

Ha, I always get asked this. Acting and comedy are like my kids and you’d never really ask me to choose between my kids right!? I love them both equally. Acting is my eldest so she’s been around longest but comedy is younger and super cute.

Samantha Baines: One Woman, a High Flyer & a Flat Bottom, will be at Cambridge Junction on 12 April. Tickets £10.

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