Mark Thomas: the Fringe’s great storyteller

Christian Butler

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Mark Thomas’s new show, Check Up: Our NHS at 70, offers an authoritative overview of the history of the NHS, and what he perceives to be its decline. The material for the show came from a range of interviews he did with medical professionals, time he spent shadowing various doctors, and an interview he conducted with a GP, who told him everything that could go wrong with his health before he dies. As ever, Thomas mixes his polemical points into a highly entertaining, emotionally involving show.

He has a fantastic knack for mixing personal moments with broader insights, using his storytelling skills to bring dry statistics to life, perfectly placing them within the show’s most damning moments for the greatest emotional impact. A lot of the show’s comedy flows from the astonishing moments Thomas himself witnessed. Though one-note NHS worship could have easily proved tiresome, his impassioned humanism enriches his analysis. Another excellent show from the Fringe’s great storyteller.

★★★★☆

Christian Butler is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @CPAButler

Mark Thomas – Check Up: Our NHS at 70 is at the Traverse until 26 August.

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