28 October 2017

Mark Thomas: A Show That Gambles on the Future at Leicester Square Theatre

This show has two things that should work against it from the start, A) it covers ground that has been used endlessly in comedy shows already; class, religion, family and politics etc and B) it relies on the audience to come up with good contact for Mark to riff off of.  It could so easily go wrong, in fact really it should go wrong, and yet Thomas manages to masterfully weather the storm through all kinds of topics with hilarity, wisdom and reliability.

The premise of the show is this; before the performance strips of paper are left in the foyer for audience members to fill in with their forecasts of the future.  This can be anything at all, there are no restrictions as some of the answers later prove!  Mark then goes through them during the show, intermittent with personal stories to give structure.  In the end the most popular forecasts are chosen by the audience (whether this is the most likely to come true or just what they wish to come true is down to the audience), and Mark then goes to a local bookies to place the bet.  If the bet wins at any point in the future the money goes to a charity, which is chosen again by the audience.  All money for the bet is donated by the audience at the end of the show, so there is the chance of some pretty big bets being placed.  

As most of Mark’s audience are lefties/socialists (like me) you can expect the subjects of Corbin, Trump and Brexit to come up often, which Mark tackles with his trademark mix of hilarious relatable anger and charm.  This show that runs the risk of being a bit studenty or a bit too fringe-y, but Mark's expert commandment of the audience and the topics transforms it into something else entirely.  All gimmicks aside, Mark is mesmerising with his ability to capture an audience and have them all with him along for the ride is incomparable with any other comedian on the scene.  I’ve never seen a comedy show where you find yourself so glued to the performer.  His fast paced, energetic  yet humble delivery combined with the audience interaction means this show has a large re-watchability factor, as the show will be completely new every night.  Mark’s ability to improvise is a testament to his quick thinking and wit that really makes the show thoroughly entertaining, easily one of the best stand up shows of 2017!

Catch the show at Leicester Square Theatre until the 28th of October before continuing his British tour.
*A complementary ticket was received in exchange for an honest review, all words and opinions are my own.
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