After a couple of decidedly personal forays into storytelling for recent shows, the latest outing from Mark Thomas saw him return to the politicised output he’s most widely known for. Trespass, in a similar vein to his well-received 100 Minor Acts of Dissent, found Thomas in typically agitated form, perfectly equipped for performing political comedy against the backdrop of a Conservative government.
The show threw a spotlight on the topic of reclaiming land for public use, flying in the face of draconian laws introduced by local authorities and exposing injustices which, he suggested, needed to be challenged. What followed was tales of defying those authorities, making the stuff of nightmares for security guards.
Over the course of the set, Thomas recalled several walks he and friends (and assorted recruits) had embarked on in London and the surrounding area, including deliberately loitering on the Thames footpath, where such ‘activity’ is prohibited, and found significant humour in the fact that such bizarre laws exist, not to mention that they can be flouted in such amusing and ingenious ways.
Trespass was a thought-provoking and entertaining show, sprinkled with gags but it’s difficult to suggest that laughter was the main aim here, in what’s not a typical stand-up show but still packed a strong comedic punch. If he’s not exactly breaking new ground, the show nevertheless took a fascinating and richly comic conceit in order to craft a story of homespun protest and victory for the little guy. It was delivered with anger, conviction and Thomas’ usual endearing style, culminating in two hours of jokes and fighting the corner of the people, and who can ask for much more than that?