He’s a righteous dude, that Mark Thomas. What’s lovely about the leftie South London comedian and activist is the more angry he gets, the more focused his bile becomes. After all, as one John Lydon spat in mid-era Public Image Ltd song Rise, “Anger is an energy.”
Very much two different shows (“I support myself-it’s cheaper”, he grins, impishly) the first half is more straightforward stand-up, with as many insults against the Westminster goons as he can muster: “I’ve had chocolate that’s lasted longer than George’s budget”, and “What’s the collective noun for Tories- a haven? -A cunt?” etc being two favourites.
Trespass though, the main show, focuses on the ridiculous land laws and gentrification which he rallies against with his team of friends, many of whom are artists and comedians too, but some of whom are ordinary people from disparate backgrounds who have joined through word of mouth.
He’s very even-handed. The show is most interesting and provocative when providing insights on the absurd extent to which we have become policed- for example,in Oxford, rough sleepers have been getting fined.
So, there are tales of anti-RBS protests with hundreds of people dressed as Shaun The Sheep; chalked pavements, loitering with anarchist picnics in non-loitering areas, and perhaps most hilariously, a choir of angels who sing sweary songs in the round in Salford where bizarrely there’s a no-swearing law: the bleeped footage from (where else?) The Daily Mail is a joy to behold.
Thomas is a compelling presence throughout, and his gobby enthusiasm, and poetic bursts of sarcasm, is all hugely infectious. Asking wider questions of reclaiming the spaces which should belong to us all, his cheeky acts of civil disobedience, which he often describes as performance art, really do get results. More than just merely hilarious, he’s an important voice in a world where gesture politics often results in one fingered gestures.
Fan-fucking-tastic. Join him.
At Tron Theatre until April 15th.
Mark Thomas’ new work-in-progress show, Red Shed will tour in Spring and Summer.