Theater Review: MythBusters’ Jamie and Adam Unleashed


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

Stars from Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman host “Jamie and Adam Unleashed,” a show celebrating the pair’s 14 years on the show. The performance took place Nov. 30 in the Stephens Auditorium.

Melissa Garrett

After 14 years of blowing stuff up and entertaining audiences with extreme science skills, “MythBusters’ Jamie and Adam Unleashed” did not disappoint its Ames audience at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium.

Beginning and ending with enthusiastic rounds of applause, the pre-show showcased clips from MythBusters’ TV show as the screen was lined with a caution tape lighting effect with red and yellow lights on stage.

Upon seeing the familiar two myth-busting men, the full house erupted with loud cheers and animated clapping, as phones popped out of audience members’ pockets to snap a quick picture of the beloved duo.

“Maybe we should extend our stay here!” Savage said, upon being warmly greeted by the audience.

Changing into various superhero t-shirts, like Batman and Captain America, throughout the show, Savage was engaging to the audience and offered intelligent explanations for all of the stunts as Jamie Hyneman was his steel-toed boot-wearing and beret-donned companion.

Much to the audience’s groans of disappointment, Hyneman will soon “hang up his beret,” according to Savage, since Mythbuster’s final season begins in January 2016.

One of the more dangerous stunts featured Hyneman hoisting Savage up in a pulley rig, as two phone books held the link between the hook and dangling Savage. An air mattress was placed below Savage for safety, even though Hyneman jokingly nudged it aside; but a stage worker reaffixed the mattress directly below Savage. He joked that the mattress would allow him to bounce one last time before dying, if he did fall to his death.

The most memorable fan interaction occurred early on when a fan girl gave Savage and Hyneman each a “My Little Pony” figurine, which the men referred to and used throughout the show to add humor.

“I’m freaking out,” Hyneman said. “I’ve got a ‘My Little Pony’ in my pocket…This has never happened. I think I’m gonna pass out.”

The fan girl gave both men a hug and said to Savage, “You’re the reason why I got into biology! You’re my hero!”

Savage seemed moved and accepted two more hugs from the girl before she left the stage with a souvenir hat roughly 15 minutes after the initial exchange. The duo later took a picture of the audience for Twitter, featuring the ponies in the foreground of the image.

Other notable acts featured Savage laying on top of a bed of nails as Hyneman placed a cinder block on his stomach, pounded a sledgehammer to break the block (while it rested on Savage) and then stood on Savage. Roaring with excitement, the audience thirsted for more.

Showing off some of their amazing camera technology, Savage picked out three audience members, a 6th grade girl and two college men to enact “farting noises” and “pop noises” on camera. These frames were then slowed down in a highly amusing manner, which showed their mouths moving up, down and sideways, with spit flying everywhere.

This playful humor occurred throughout the show, which also had toilet smashing, knife throwing, some carnival-esque tricks and a random (yet fitting) Star Wars-themed moment, with Savage as Hans Solo and Hyneman as a Jedi with two others dressed as Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper.

Both men introduced each other for Q&A panels, as each MythBusters man took on about five questions each. The room was silent as each man talked, since the audience was clearly engaged in the panel.

The show’s finale showcased a man named Darryl in a knight’s armor, who stood in front of a large, plastic wall. Savage pulled out a fancy paint gun, but it was nothing in comparison to Hyneman’s paint cannon that had four times the amount of power and shooting capability. The audience had a front row seat for the act, since the man in armor stood with his back to the audience, as if they could also feel the impact of the colorful paint balls bursting open. 

While much of the television series features stunts and science experiments that work well on camera, the explosive quality of the show did not transfer onto the stage. Video reels of more impressive stunts were shown in between on-stage tricks, but the stage was highly limiting in terms of what could be done on stage.

However, the audience lapped up everything Savage and Hyneman did and said in the roughly two-hour performance. For big fans, simply seeing the duo could have been enough to gloss over the fact that they could not blow things up on stage. But for the average person who may not be as familiar with the show, the stunts that were performed on stage could be perceived as underwhelming at times, especially with the heavy reliance on video content during the show.

Regardless of stage limitations, Savage and Hyneman worked well together and entertained some of their biggest fans in Ames.

Savage said, “[Ames] officially became my favorite city to do a show in. You guys are cheeky.”

MythBusters’ final season returns in January 2016, kicking off Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel with a teaser and on Jan. 9 for premiere of the final season.