Mark Thomas: Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall)
Following a dangerous tourist trail
This article is from 2011.
The problem with political comedy is that, in sharing a joke with a person simultaneously making a serious point, you can easily become confused about what it is you’re signing up for. Added to this, Mark Thomas has an enviable rhetorical tool at his disposable – he’s a Lahndahner, and therefore (as any advertising exec will tell you) you’re more likely to believe him.
With all this power in his hands, it’s to his credit that he keeps this show – about a rambling trip along the wall that separates Israel and Palestine in the West Bank – free from any major political statements. Yes, it’s weighted against Israeli attitudes, but the meat of the performance is his patented Honest Bloke’s look at the situation from two sides of a massive fence.
Or not a fence, as Thomas clarifies. The Israelis call it a ‘fence’, the Palestinians a ‘wall’. It is, as he discovers, a mixture of gutters, barbed wire, concrete and gaps. It’s the specificity with which he treats a vastly complicated and seemingly inexorable problem that makes this refreshing. The whole thing is delivered at breakneck speed, with the show’s final image – of Thomas, bathed in sweat after two hours of precision ranting – symbolising the astonishing energy he puts into everything he does.
The Bongo Club, 557 2827, until 20 Aug, 7.30pm, £14.50 (£10).