Mark Thomas

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

Mark Thomas pitches onto the stage like a gladiator, ready for the fray. And the first fight he's expecting is one with the critics.

Apparently we don't know how to identify him: is he political theatre? Investigative journalist? Stand-up comedy?

Frankly, I don't care. The questions I want answered are: is he funny, and does what he say matter? Probably yes.

The show divides into five 'acts'. Act one (he tells us) is an exposition of his themes: arms dealing and freedom of speech. The rest of the evening divides into descrip-tions of the real-life actions he has taken to expose injustice and corruption on these two fronts.

We hear the story of the arms dealers he loaded onto a bus and asked to pay Iraq's national debt who stumped up £10.50, and the tale of his legal protests round Parliament Square where you now need a licence to wear a badge marked 'Peace'.

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The facts, figures, images and jokes come so thick and fast you sometimes wish he'd just stop for a minute and let you take it in.

But even as you grasp at it, it's gone: a slippery lesson in the art of subversion.

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