Comedian of the Week: Mark Thomas, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

In his stand-up guise, Mark Thomas is more accustomed to looking outward than contemplating the comic potential of his navel.

He's taken to the road with his People's Manifesto in search of ideas on How to Make the World a Better Place, results ranging from the sublime ("The introduction of a maximum wage") to the sublimely silly ("That Windsor be renamed Lower Slough"); he's trekked the Israel-Palestine separation border and reported back with unexpected humour; and he's remained an activist and pickler of political hypocrites.

Intriguing, then, that this year's Fringe show, Bravo Figaro!, finds him moving from front-line to home front and telling the story of his relationship with his father, Colin, a hard-grafting, hard-drinking Methodist builder ("Moses with a hangover") in Thomas's formative years, but now housebound in a bungalow, into which his son planned to bring a bravura dose of the passion that had softened his father's sharp edges: opera.

(0131 228 1404; to 26 Aug