Comedian Mark Thomas is set to help launch a new creative space in Deptford on March 1 with a free show.Such Small Portions, 21st February 2012
A fourth series of chummy but barbed collaborative satire. Thomas's unusually sharp, mildly eccentric audience members put forward policies that they think should be enshrined in law: the right to graffiti people who walk slowly along pavements, for instance, or a plan to reconfigure Britain so that half our car journeys are steeply downhill and require no fuel.
It's best when it's not as silly as it appears. Is the idea of giving everyone a £10,000 voucher to spend to stimulate the economy a worse idea than bank bailouts? And should the Lords be re-appointed annually via a lottery? Why not?Jack Seale, Radio Times, 8th February 2012
'My most unappealing habit? My innate wish to find the best in everyone, even my enemies. And lying'Rosanna Greenstreet, The Guardian, 9th April 2011
A quick thumbs-up for Mark Thomas, also on Radio 4, with his Manifesto. Thomas can be insufferable when he tries to be the British Michael Moore, but on this series he is an exuberant, rather than bombastic, host, teasing and cajoling the audience into their proposals.Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 30th January 2011
Socio-political comedy where members of the audience send suggestions for potential political action. There are fountains of proposals, most of which Thomas turns into furious fun. John, a long-suffering football fan, wants players paid on the pitch, in front of the crowd they've just let down. Thomas amends it to payment in cash. MOT tests for relationships, proposals on funding of political parties and the voters' right to allocate MPs' cars are also in the public mind. Thomas has a vast news grasp, a wit that's Olympically nimble.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 6th January 2011
The return of the show where Thomas sifts through suggestions for new laws and policies that might just make Britain better, if only politicians would use some common sense. It's a truly collaborative effort, with the initial suggestions and, often, the comic riffs that develop coming from the audience. In the main it's played for laughs, be they absurd ("Compulsory Stilton at primary school") or observational (sanctions for people who reach the top of a flight of steps then suddenly stop); but the productive atmosphere Thomas creates means the show can sidestep into properly thought-provoking politics, for example, the hard-todispute suggestion that nobody not on the electoral roll should be able to make party donations. It really sings when an absurd idea proves to have serious intent. So, should we invade Jersey?Jack Seale, Radio Times, 6th January 2011
'Over-confident' comic was unlawfully stopped and had his bag checked as he left arms protest.Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, The Guardian, 19th April 2010
It must be hard to get a word in edgewise when in the presence of comedian Mark Thomas, but several members of a studio audience managed it as they put a wide range of policies to the vote in his second series of The Manifesto. Thomas' style of humour is not always to everyone's taste, but this was entertaining radio comedy mixed with good helpings of opinion, history and politics.
In fact, while the mood was occasionally a little too worthy, Thomas was quick off the mark and produced funny and intelligent responses to suggestions. These included British prime ministers only ever being able to serve for two terms, all Ofsted inspectors having to teach classes in order to demonstrate the recommendations they have made and a campaign to bring back Saint Mondays (the old tradition of workers skiving off for an extended weekend).Lisa Martland, The Stage, 15th February 2010