Review: Mark Thomas @ Warwick Arts Centre, 14th February 2017

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas: Stand-up with a social and political conscience

In recent years, stand-up and activist Mark Thomas has tended to flit between overtly political shows and more personal, theatrical flourishes, such as the deeply touching Bravo Figaro and the highly acclaimed Cuckooed.┬áHis latest effort in this sphere, The Red Shed, was perhaps the closest he’s come to merging the two strands of his recent output, being a personal voyage in political protest and recollection of the miners’ strike.

The titular shed, a Labour club based in Wakefield, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and this show was Thomas’ tribute to its influence and staying power throughout turbulent times. In truth, though, it was as much a reflection of the inner workings of the Red Shed as an investigation into Thomas’ own memories, notably of children in a school playground singing a workers’ anthem, and of whether his memory is accurate or a romanticised version of events. Continue reading “Review: Mark Thomas @ Warwick Arts Centre, 14th February 2017”

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Review: Danny Baker @ Warwick Arts Centre, 3rd February 2017

Danny Baker
Danny Baker: From the cradle to the stage

It seems surprising that, having been in the world of showbiz for so long, this is Danny Baker‘s first solo stage tour. But then, despite jokingly referring to the theatre as his “first love” in the tour’s promotional material, few people have perhaps been more synonymous with radio in the past 30 years than Baker himself.

Having got the idea while doing book signings, this show – titled Cradle to the Stage – found Baker on scintillating form, showcasing his fantastic wit and his rarely matched skill as a raconteur; the sort of gift which has made him arguably the UK’s finest broadcaster during his curate’s egg of a career. Continue reading “Review: Danny Baker @ Warwick Arts Centre, 3rd February 2017”

Preview: Mark Thomas @ MAC Birmingham

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Mark Thomas: Red through and through

Stand-up veteran Mark Thomas returns to the Midlands with his latest tour, the third part in a trilogy of theatrical shows, called The Red Shed, which sees him celebrating the 50th birthday of a Wakefield labour club – the site of his first ever gig.

Following on from Bravo Figaro and Cuckooed, this is another show which looks more closely at his own history and life than the politicised output he’s best known for. Both of those shows were fantastic pieces of work, so it’s no shock that The Red Shed continues in a similar vein by receiving excellent reviews during its Edinburgh Fringe run in the summer.

You can catch Mark Thomas perform The Red Shed at Birmingham’s MAC, where he’s doing three shows – 7pm and 9.30pm on Tuesday 18th October, and 7pm on Wednesday 19th October – and at Warwick Arts Centre on Tuesday 14th February.

Preview: Mark Steel – Who Do I Think I Am? on tour

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Mark Steel’s back in town

Mark Steel returns to the West Midlands as part of a long UK tour, with his latest show – perhaps his most personal to date. The stalwart of the UK comedy circuit, and Radio 4 favourite, is back with Who Do I Think I Am?, which sees Steel tracing his own life and finding out about his birth mother’s life too.

In recent years Steel’s shows have been geared towards his …In Town format, which sees him doing material about the area where he’s performing, and he’s recorded several series for BBC Radio 4 in addition to regular tours. But this latest outing finds him tackling subjects much closer to home.

Mark Steel performs Who Do I Think I Am? at Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre on February 11th and at Birmingham’s Old Rep Theatre on June 3rd. Please see the venue websites for ticket prices and booking details.