Review: Mark Thomas, Cuckooed. New Wolsey Theatre, Sunday, February 22.

Comedian and political activist Mark Thomas. Photo Steve Ullathorne

Comedian and political activist Mark Thomas. Photo Steve Ullathorne - Credit: Archant

’m not going to lie – I sort of knew this would be a good review before I saw the show.

For those who have seen and admired Mark Thomas’ work before, you’ll know what to expect. He is an engaging storyteller who is hilarious yet sensitive, and has an incredible thirst for fighting injustice in the world-whether it be tackling arms dealers or stopping people from reading the Daily Mail.

In the first half, Thomas explained his year-long mission to achieve 100 acts of minor dissent (which he has made into a show), with the forfeit of giving a cash donation to UKIP. He amused us with his tales of mischief making, such as carrying a plank through London (this is illegal apparently), painting the word ‘Heckle’ on it and leaving it at an art exhibition ­– where it stayed for 4 weeks and got reviewed.

He also set up a website calling on people to create new definitions for ‘Farage’ (pronounced as in ‘gay marriage’) and the winning entry was ‘the liquid found at the bottom of a bin’. He hopes this will one day make common parlance.

The second half took on a more serious tone as Thomas introduced us to a story of betrayal.

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With the help of video clips from others, he built up a picture of one of his best friends, a loveable, seemingly loyal fellow activist, whom he calls Martin. On discovering Martin has been accused of being a corporate spy for an arms company, Thomas is beyond shattered. His sadness at losing this friendship and being duped is a loss that the comic continues to grieve.

Throughout the performance, which was laced with humour and poignancy, he was able to switch tones effortlessly, and all completely genuine.

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It is also impressive how he commands such stage presence for a one-man show. He draws you in with this fascinating tale, and leaves you feeling both reflective and inspired.

Quite simply- brilliant.

Naomi Gornall

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