Mark Thomas Review — Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: Playhouse Theatre

Mark Thomas

Format: Stand-Up
Genre: Comedy
Cast: Mark Thomas
Performance: March 13 2020
Review Date: March 13 2020
Location: Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 120 Minutes, inc. Interval
Age Rating: 18+

As a Scouser myself, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that us Scousers place comedy on the highest pedestal — especially Scouse comedy. Our own comedic value is so highly regarded that it can be hard to consider that such fantastic comedy lies outside of our own city.

This is where Mark Thomas steps — or rather swaggers — into Liverpool’s Playhouse Theatre.

Thomas, from London, is a comedian so delightfully witty, combining spontaneity with effortlessly recited tales and songs (the man sang in French, for goodness sake). His show 50 Things About Us (yet I would argue that we certainly learned more than 50 things) highlights many of the elements that make us so bloody British, with the material delivered in this show being an overwhelming success, evident in the eager audience interactions.

Description

Starting on a relevant note, Thomas hit the stage with a somewhat-dedication to the Coronavirus. He welcomed us to what he called the last event we’d experience, before promptly applying some hand sanitiser and telling us that he knows someone who could get him some, a sarcastic blow to the notorious panic-buyers. I think it was safe to say from the start that this comedian was about to make us laugh in the face of the UK’s current multiple crises. However, he delivered it so effortlessly. We were treated to the best part of two hours of content, including a hilarious anecdote of Thomas’ experience having various medical check-ups, gesturing to the older men in the audience to back him up on life when you’re — well, old. From colonoscopies to “dignity pants”, no territory was left unexplored here. He moved on to everyone’s favourite topic — our beloved Prime Minister BoJo. Including an incredible impersonation of a disgruntled Yorkshire man during Johnson’s belated visit to the worst-affected areas of the recent floods — “BORIS! BORIS! BOORIIIIISSS! … I’m not talking to you” — Thomas instantly connected with the audience with his coverage of the current Prime Minister. A personal highlight was when he made reference to Johnson and his questionable decision-making skills being equal to “if the Cookie Monster went to Eton”, the audience by this point practically giving the confident comedian a standing ovation.

Thomas covered a wide range of British issues such as Brexit, Colonialism, and class-tension, all the while causing the audience to roar with laughter as his biting satire. His impressions of various political leaders interspersed with his sharp commentary were fantastic. He covered a wide range of hilarious yet once more, on-point material, including his campaign to fulfil Nigel Farage’s desire to “get my country back”, and sending the political leader various bags of soil from across the nation in order to do so. His stereotype of protesting Brexiteers included screaming “EUROPE MADE MY COD GAY”, which was fantastic in its sheer absurdity, and when he attempted to portray a stereotypical well-to-do grouse shooter, even he found himself in stitches alongside his clearly-hooked audience. The show was also filled with original compositions — keep an eye of for the newly-improved national anthem (a.k.a. an ode to our beloved NHS), and my personal favourite, “The Rebel Boris Johnson”. It is no surprise that the audience were desperate to join in — by the end of the show, Mark was not only thanking us as a whole, he was also paying special tributes to certain audience members such as the heckler expert, who kindly critiqued one heckler during the show, and one poor audience member who had to leave mid-way through the first act to use the toilet.

Analysis

What really struck me about Mark Thomas’ show was its ability to transcend age. It was colourful, explosive, and performative, and Thomas’ provided perfect enactments of certain people in society who have a knack for, well, to put it politely, causing mass annoyance. Although the audience consisted of mainly older adults, this comedy is just as funny and suitable for young adults, as it is so dynamic and so true to life; I would strongly recommend the show to people my age. He also added personal touches to the show, winning over his Scouse audience; it is clear that this comedian can light up a room regardless of where his audience are from.

A powerful element of Thomas’ show was his fiery audience interactions, with a recurring part of the show being to invite the audience to provide answers to his questions, and contribute some ideas, spicing the show up and sometimes taking the show on wild but hilarious tangents. A personal favourite segment was when he asked us to provide some replacement songs to our national anthem ‘God Save The Queen,’ culminating in the audience chanting “hurry up Harry”, Thomas’ envisioned new national anthem (credit to the audience here where credit is due, it was a spectacular performance). The diversity in this show was phenomenal, as before you knew it, he had audience members reciting “Flower Of Scotland”, before Thomas himself began belting out the French national anthem word-perfect — well, until it wasn’t, and he, let’s just say, improvised.

Summary

Such a politically-conscious show, Thomas, who is incredibly articulate and intelligent, embodied British satire perfectly. Yet 50 Things About Us is also hopeful look to the future, as it is clear that this man is passionate about politics and the future of our society. His animated persona and ability to unite the audience shone through, yet his sarcasm and dry wit were at just the right times to really bind the show together. I guess I can only end this review with the way the show ended — a comedian, having won his audience over, telling us not to be tempted to shout “more”, “because I’m just going f–k off”, in a typical dry-witted fashion. Yet to combat this, in typical Scouse fashion, one clever audience member had to respond with “no more!”, a final gag which sent even the performer laughing. A must-see show for those who need to just have a laugh at the “doom and gloom” news stories, it is guaranteed to brighten up your night, and will have you wanting to take Thomas out after for a pint. It also worth checking out his website, as Mark has plenty of other content to check out.

Notes

Target Audience: Adults Aged 18+
Content: Some Strong Language
Recommendation?: Yes
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent

Further Details

For more information about Mark Thomas, click here.