We always enjoyed Mark Thomas' brand of comedy activism when he was a regular feature on Channel 4 so we were delighted to get the chance to see him live in Edinburgh. But this isn't just an Edinburgh Fringe show - Mark is touring it nationally with a 2 week stop in Edinburgh. At each performance the audience is asked to submit policy idea and the most popular suggestion each night will be added to a manifesto which Mark will campaign to have implemented. Doesn't exactly sound like great material for generating laughs - but you'd be surprised what people come up with...
And to prevent any possibility of a poor audience resulting in a poor evening's show we also get a run through the highlights of suggestions from earlier shows on the tour and tales from some of Mark's other campaigns. He fizzes with energy and engages with the audience - both as a group and as individuals and benefits from an understanding of a Scottish audience and in particular the Glasgow/Edinburgh dynamic.
When we start running through our audience's suggestions it's surprising how varied they are. From old school political/class war stuff (the abolition of private & grammar schools) to the bizarre (a compulsory curry once per week). In the end we settled on a proposal that we should hold a national bring & buy/bake sale every Tuesday with a future expansion to include global trade.
To some extent how much you enjoy the show will depend on how you are disposed to Mark's brand of politics, but even if you are only partly convinced by the politics his slick comedy style will carry you along a fair distance.
Mark Thomas: The Manifesto runs at the Stand until Tuesday 18th (£12) and stages a meeting with MSPs to discuss The Manifesto proposals at the Pleasance on Wednesday 19th (free but ticketed)
Image used with permission.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Posted by Statler at 7:02 pm