Reviewer: Matt Forrest
Mark Thomas has made a career out of making people laugh, pissing off authority and genuinely trying to the right the wrongs of politicians, arms dealers and some huge multi-national companies that should know better: something most of us could only aspire too. His latest stand up show Trespass, sees Thomas do battle with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Oxford Council in an attempt to win back some of our beloved public spaces from the threat of privatisation.
The first half is like a catch up with an old friend, as Mark gives us a brief update of his previous tour: 100 Acts of Minor Dissent, which saw Mark doing what he does best and righting the wrongs of society. This included a demonstration at the Amazon head office, so their LOVEFiLM company would change its online subscription service to include subtitles for their deaf subscribers. Also a new word was added to the English language, farage, pronounced farrage: meaning the unexplained apparition of water at the bottom of one’s bin. You don’t need me to tell you who this lucky definition is named after.
Following the interval we are introduced to the crux of the show, Trespass. The show looks at four walks Thomas has undertaken: three around his beloved London town and one in Oxford. The aim is to expose how corporations and foreign investors are buying up land across the country and claiming ownership of our streets and public highways.
The anarchic comic goes to great lengths to highlight just want is going on in our towns and cities across the land. His actions so far have included: a street party organised on a footpath where no loitering (or indeed fishing) is permitted, with activities including face-painting, tombola and a lot of cake. There is a 10k run outside the RBS head offices. Also a protest by everyone’s favorite sheep, Shaun that leads to Thomas being banned from 6 streets in London.
Thomas has this ability to get under the skin of those he is trying to provoke and to inspire his captive audience into taking action. He is an engaging raconteur, who bowls you over with his enthusiasm. His passion is infectious and speaks to your conscience to make a difference.
The show’s climax sees Thomas go through a lisst of expletives he submitted to Salford Council, in a bid to highlight the injustice of Salford Council’s swearing ban, culminating in a gloriously sweary sing-along with a choir thrown in for good measure.
This was a fun, thought provoking routine by Thomas, and one that should be seen by a wider audience. It’s time to get off the sofa and reclaim our cities because sooner rather than later there will be nothing left for us to enjoy. My own town of Warrington had best beware – I’m coming for you!
Reviewed on 22nd April