So, who is Mark Thomas?
Written by: Gareth K Vile
He is the original ‘campaigning comedian,’ who has been described by the police as a ‘domestic extremist’. A funny man combining comedy, politics and activism. The man who back in 2013 committed over 100 acts of minor dissent. The man who is renowned for causing mayhem in his quest for the good.
Well known for his ability to sweeten his socialist message with a spoonful of comedy and effortless theatricality, Mark Thomas is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wakefield Labour Club where he first engaged in political theatre. He begins a quest to discover whether the romantic story, upon which he has built his own political beliefs, has any basis in truth, making a show that is part tribute to the resilience of the labour movement and part local history.
Thomas’ usual tactics – interviews with allies and supporters, a personal take on large events (this time, the miners’ strike) and his amiable persona – are placed at the service of the big question: is it important that a story tells the complete truth? Inevitably, this isn’t resolved, but his adventure allows him to cast light on an increasingly marginalised era. It also reaffirms his socialist beliefs.
Less interested in persuading the audience of the rightness of his cause than strengthening its importance, Thomas strays away from his central story, adding detail but occasionally shifting attention from the cause to himself. Nevertheless, it provides the expected passion and thoughtfulness that has characterised his recent theatrical outings.