Mark Thomas brings his unique brand of troublemaking to the Stand

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas

Comedian and campaigner Mark Thomas has never been one to shy away from a challenge - previously using laughs to take on huge corporations and top politicians alike.

He’s highlighted hypocrisy and wrongdoing everywhere from Coca-Cola and Halliburton to the UK Government and the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Last year he took a break from being a thorn in the side of authority to tour a fiercely-personal monologue about the death of his opera-loving working class father, ‘Bravo Figaro’.

He admits early in his latest show ‘100 Minor Acts of Dissent’ - which visited Glasgow’s Stand Comedy Club last week - that this project led to him taking his eye off the ball when it came to protest.

The solution is the self-imposed challenge of the title. To add spice he must complete the century of acts within the year or face the ultimate humiliation - donating £1,000 to UKIP.

As of his Glasgow show Thomas has completed around 40 of the acts - the show naturally evolving throughout the tour, culminating in a five hour marathon in London in March (where the comedian promises to “cook the audience their tea”).

The acts themselves are a variety pack of anti-capitalist gems - partly inspired by his own daughter’s masterful campaign for a pet dog.

Some are simply funny, such as using carefully-placed notes and stickers in book shops to “heckle” some of the poorer literary volumes on offer.

But the majority both tickle the funny bone and inspire the soul. A huge game of ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’ is deployed to (successfully) protest against a parks authority’s illegal charges for sport, while a full Irish band is used to give tax-dodging Apple a red face.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the performance, which clocks in at over two hours, is the way Thomas manages to avoid being preachy or smug while coming from a very particular political standpoint.

You may not agree with everything he says (a few barbs directed at the bible elicited some gasps on this outing), or with his actions, but the over arching sense that he is dedicated to taking on bullies and sticking up for life’s victims is irresistible.

Activism leaflets and stickers are cheerfully handed out at the exit - adding a few more willing volunteers to an army dedicated to making life that little bit fairer. It’s a heartwarming end to a stirring and mischievous evening.