Tuesday, April 05, 2011

"Mark Thomas - Extreme Rambling" - April 2011

Since the shocking revelation at the weekend that I have parents who think Michael McIntyre is funny, my mind has been tormented by the possibility that this may be the result of a genetic flaw and that later in life I may succumb to the same mental frailty. But fortunately, last night I had my fears banished – I just don’t believe anyone who found Mark Thomas as funny as I did could ever tolerate watching McIntyre’s ridiculous grin for more than 60 seconds without putting a foot through the TV.

This latest piece of political comedy saw Mark tell the packed Citizens Theatre of his escapades on an attempt to walk the full length of the Israeli-built wall which divides Israel from Palestine. As with all comedy gigs there's a danger of any review spoiling half the fun - so please forgive us for not providing any details of the evening. But here's everything you need to know: Mark Thomas is a comedy genius - not a word we use lightly. What he delivers is a carefully constructed retelling which has been crafted and polished for maximum impact; yet his obvious fire and passion make it feel fresh and spontaneous. Along with the rest of the audience we spent 95% of the evening grinning and laughing. But Thomas has an ability, like no other performer I've encountered, to shift to a more serious point and kill the laughter stone dead as we take in the shocking detail he's just dropped on us. So often we've seen audiences at other performers fail to appreciate such shifting tones, but Thomas has such control over his audience that we follow his lead as single unit.

With impeccable timing, a self deprecating attitude and an ability to bring characters to life, Thomas is a comic and theatrical performer at the absolute top of his game. For anyone even a little sympathetic to his views on politics, human rights and civil liberties, I doubt there is a more entertaining night out available anywhere.

Mark Thomas - Extreme Rambling has completed its two night run at the Citizens as part of the Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival. It continues on an extensive UK tour including dates in Inverness and Aberdeen.
Image used with permission.