Mark Thomas, King's Lynn

MIRANDA YATES Mark Thomas probably wouldn't like the analogy but the self-proclaimed “comedy truth teller” operates like a Shakespearean clown.

MIRANDA YATES

Mark Thomas probably wouldn't like the analogy but the self-proclaimed “comedy truth teller” operates like a Shakespearean clown.

A thorn in the side of the powers that be, the trap that can't be shut, the courtier who dons a “faux naive” smile and a jester's hat to berate hypocrisy.

Mark takes us beyond the laugh, into territory normally too vast and blasted, too appallingly alien, to confront and that's if we believe it exists at all.

Cracks about in-breeding and tractors soon give way to material about the anti-terrorism rule, the human rights atrocities perpetrated by the Turkish government and the multi-national companies with blood on their hands. All are held under high-wattage sarcasm, while accounts from real-life heroes, from the front line of activism, run riot. What presses Thomas' comedy buttons are the ways that wit and cunning flourish under systems that have lost their heads and are blaming it on you. There is his Kurdish friend who accompanies each tale of torture with the catch phrase “was hilarious!”.

There are the controversial Turkish journalists who evade arrest and manage an illegal demonstration legally by sending a “publishing team” of thousands down to the station to confess.

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Tricks for weedling out secret policemen are explained. Mark's show is the intellectual equivalent of staring into a light bulb. It leaves a nasty stain on the social conscience. We stumble and blink our way back into our safe lives, eyes a little more open.

Fools don't come any wiser.

Mark Thomas was appearing the King's Lynn Arts Centre as part of the EDP Comedy Festival.

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