Mark Thomas: Talking Comedy

Lakin McCarthy Entertainment Ltd

The Assembly Rooms

On 16 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

As a part of Olly Double's series of interviews with established comedians at the Fringe, his cheerful and welcoming interview style made for an easy hour listening to Mark reminisce about the beginnings of his 29-year-long career as one of the young turks of political activist comedy.

Double's work as curator of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive puts him in the unique position of being able to plumb the depths of those days and show wonderfully dated flyers, posters and paysheets from those halycon days.

As is the nature of these interviews, the whole can become a little unfocused, but, in the case of Thomas's career, it was more like an enjoyable whistlestop tour of his work, as he touched upon his work on his Dambusters and Palestinian wall shows, as well as his current critic-proof Trespass: Work in Progress, a show labeled as such to allow him to experiment and mix it up to his heart's content.

Of course, this is Mark Thomas, who could never be accused of being a shrinking violet, and given the slightest of openings dove headfirst into a deep and detailed story about his past days headlining with young unknowns, such as Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand.

As ever, a joy to listen to, while Double made for a clever host, knowing exactly when to interject and when to simply let the rollercoaster of Mark Thomas's wit loose along the tracks. It's a great indication of how good this run of fascinating interviews will be, and if Jo Brand, Nina Conti and Alexei Sayle fare half as well as Thomas then it'll be a highlight for those interested in the raccous days of young modern British Stand-Up.