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Sunday, December 8, 2013
It was political stunts that brought comedian Mark Thomas to the public attention, and his new show 100 Acts of Minor Dissent is in parts a return to that familiar ground.
Describing himself as a “Marxist Victor Meldrew” he rails against the injustices he sees, mixed with a sharp sense of fun: taking a ceilidh band into Apple’s flagship Regent Street to protest at their tax practices, or re-arranging a cinema’s hoardings to plea for union recognition rather than advertising what’s on.
It is funny and smart, but enjoyable as this show undoubtedly is it feels unpolished. Whereas his TV programmes filmed the action, for the most part here we only hear about the pranks; the first half of the show recycled (admittedly good) material about family life and bookshop sabotage from his previous tours. When other comedians like Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein are encroaching on his traditional territory, that doesn’t feel good enough.
Thomas’ last show, Bravo Figaro, was a comic, emotional, and a personal tour-de-force. On its own terms this current show is as cheeky and thought-provoking as you would expect from someone who can pack out two nights at Norwich Playhouse - it’s just that we know he is capable of so much more.