Dr Michael Mosley – King’s Theatre

Dr Michael Mosley is clearly a very accomplished man; a medical doctor with a degree from Oxford, a filmmaker with the BBC who has rubbed shoulders with Nobel Prize winners, a self-experimenter who defied traditional medicine on diabetes and stomach ulcers and won. These are not facts I have regurgitated from Wikipedia however (not that I, esteemed journalist, would ever do such a thing), but instead things he told an audience at the King’s Theatre.

This formed the first half of his talk: essentially, shameless self-promotion. Whilst it was often fascinating – for example, we got a look into how the bodies of Pompeii were preserved, from a film he directed on the subject – it rarely seemed to add to the narrative of the night, which was his battle with type II diabetes and the lessons gained from this. He swung wildly from engaging speaker to slightly grating, and there were a couple of moments of clear discomfort (sounds cues featuring childish fart noises and sounds of people being sick prime amongst these).

At one point, having explained the benefits of push-ups and other body weight exercises, Mosley got his tour manager to demonstrate. Whilst she could only manage ‘one-ish’ (his wording), he then, in moon boot from a previous injury, quickly did eight or nine himself, and it just felt like showing off. No-one in the audience has not seen a push-up, and after having his tour manage do it, it felt mocking in its way. Another incident was his explanation of his 5-2 diet with Mondays and Thursdays as fasting days, as that’s when the Prophet Muhammad fasted and this way he ‘can at least sell it to Muslims’. This is as ridiculous as suggesting that you couldn’t sell a weight loss plan to Catholics unless it included a rest day on a Sunday, and Friday fish as part of the diet.

I do feel I may be acting somewhat churlish here. Still, there were times when Mosley was a passionate and engaging speaker, such as on the history of self-experimentation. He has the potential to be legitimately funny at times, if he would only drop the sound cues. This show was very early in the tour, and it does feel like much of it could be tightened by the end of the run, so this was a solid starting point in that respect.

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Scott Redmond

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