Mark Thomas: Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall)

COMEDY
****
Mark Thomas: Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall)
The Bongo Club

Based on Mark Thomas third book, this stand-up show comes to the Fringe following a successful sell-out UK tour.  Thomas tells the story of his walk along the illegal Israeli separation barrier, which he argues suits neither side of this land dispute.

The laughs come from the rich characters he portrays, rather than the situations, which are often rather grim. He depicts himself as a self-deprecating ‘Englishman abroad’ – a stereotype that he embraces with surprising relish for a man on the left. Exclaiming, “Sorry I’m English” in pseudo-Boris bumbling fashion seems to have genuinely got Thomas out of a few scrapes. Phil the hippy cameraman… the former cadet who constantly quotes Monty Python… the rich Zionist house builder who believed that Israel stretches as far as Iraq… and many others add to the tapestry of personalities.

Ultimately though, the reality of the wall is what lingers in the memory, long after the show has ended. This wall, or fence, or barrier, has separated communities, schools, and even homes. It segregates the Palestinians and Israelis further, leading to more conflict and less tolerance.

The story of Israeli settlers’ daily throwing stones at Palestinian children on the way to school was shocking, even for those familiar with the conflict.