Mark Thomas – Check Up: Our NHS at 70, 29/07/18, ★★★★½

Mark Thomas is among the most reliable performers at the Fringe. He brings a great new show every year and has covered topics ranging from Coca Cola to the Israeli Separation Barrier. This year his focus is on the NHS and where it might be heading.

As always with his shows this is impeccably well researched and his groundwork for the play goes well beyond conducting a couple of interviews and reading a couple of books. In preparation he immersed himself in the NHS, taking up residencies in hospitals and surgeries across London and witnessing first hand the work of doctors, surgeons and nurses, as well as spending time with various health industry lobbyists (generally former medical professionals) and two former Health Secretaries.

He performs every one of these characters with aplomb, making them just over the top enough to be funny but keeping them believable. His performance brings the stress of A&E and the pressures of surgery (also occasionally the gore of surgery) right into the theatre. He of course delves right into the politics of the NHS, how different decisions have got us where we are now, how things might change and even one or two reasons for optimism.

Mark Thomas creates a unique amalgamation of stand up comedy and theatre that delivers an entertaining education every single year. He can add the NHS to the huge list of topics he’s covered with humour, enlightenment and a little bit of hope that things might get better.

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