Mark Thomas @ Summerhall

Mark Thomas covers everything between Jesus Christ and Jeremy Corbyn

Review by Frankie Goodway | 16 Aug 2017
  • Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas’s show is themed around forecasting – how we all look at precedent to predict what will follow. Take one example: there are plenty of preachers in Thomas’s family, so it’s no surprise that when he steps up to the mic it is to declaim charged, political, personal stand-up with absolute conviction. From Brexit to Trump to the probability of Irish unification, he knows his own mind and he knows the facts, and he’ll quote the history, laws and precedent that back it up. It’s a supremely convincing sermon.

He sources a raft of predictions from the audience, and flies through all of them within his hour and fifteen minutes. Thomas is clearly utterly confident in his material. While some of the audience answers must be predictable – he has fabulous, furious bits ready to go on Trump, Scottish independence, Theresa May and so on – he also riffs on the wilder suggestions. He segues neatly between fond interactions with his fans and an underlying narrative about his father that gives the show heart as well as heft.

Thomas can go from genial to roaring in a moment – to great effect – but the atmosphere is always particularly friendly and comfortable. It’s clear his audience admire him, I’ve never heard quite so many rounds of applause in a stand-up gig – but they’re not awed into silence. And when a wild Brexiteer raised her head, alone in a sea of lefties, Thomas quelled the rumbling mob in a moment with a sharp reproof and a twinkle in his eye.

Mark Thomas: A Show That Gambles on the Future, Summerhall (Main Hall), until 27 Aug (not 14 & 19 Aug), 6pm, £12-15