Monday, 6 October 2008

Personal, political, plenty of punch lines

Mid-life crises came mob-handed at comic Mark Steel.
Suddenly young people spoke another language, his own children needed constant looking after, his relationship with their mother collapsed, and his thirty year affair with the Socialist Workers Party ended in tears.
Like all good artists Steel used adversity for inspiration – turning his troubles into a book and a stand-up routine.
At Salford’s Lowry Centre on Sunday night he hit just the right note for an audience who – like him – were too old to rap but too young to lose the will to live just yet.
Steel’s highly personal show touched on everything from being banished to the sofa to his love of Test Match Special.
His impersonations of figures from Tony Benn, through Geoffrey Boycott, to a forgetful Ian Paisley were funny and well observed caricatures.
Probably the weakest part of the show was when Steel talked of his disenchantment with the disorganised organised left.
It will have confused the non-activists in the crowd.
And he didn’t have the heart to really go for his former comrades.
Many of the key players behind last month’s Convention of the Left were in the audience – no doubt desperate to read the nuances.
They will probably have liked the way his skit on the soul-destroying number of questions customers are asked while ordering a Subway sandwich, was used to introduce Marx’s theory of alienation.
The bravest moment was when Steel launched a blitz on educators for being boring.
Everyone in the house knew the formula for working out how many teachers and academics would be in an audience of lefties at the Lowry on a Sunday night. And we all knew the answer would be big.
Taking on your core audience – is that a sign of a mid-life crisis?
Mark Steel, Lowry centre, Salford - £14. Mark is on tour until Christmas.


goooooood girl said...

Very fine......

mark anthony france said...

I hope Mark. gets cheered up a little when he Performs at the Artrix in Bromsgrove on 12th November.
…I do appreciate the trauma’s he has endured in the recent past…but I feel intuitively that he is, can and will play a key role in telling the truth to people in an accessible way. I have never seen him perform live only his TV stuff and I haven’t even read his book “Whats Going ON?”…
But the title of the Book is ace… because everyone is asking the same question today since the global financial crisis.
I have more faith in the tentative answers to his own question that Mark Steel expresses than any lefty hack..and I feel that if his audiences were composed of more ‘working class’ [ie less affulent people] he would get less depressed. However,the Theatre circuit remains something outside of many peoples conciousness… if they have to choose between a Weekend bottle of Vodka and a take away or a trip to see socialist comedians then most couples will opt for the vodka. It works just like Fuel Poverty… the choice this winter is between Culture and Vodka… for many the vodka will will out everytime… although actually an evening with the likes of Mark Steel would probably have greater therapuetic value.

By the way if anyone is coming to Bromsgrove to see Mark Perform on the 12th Please try to Come a little earlier as there is going to be an interesting event just round the Corner at 6pm... A peaceful Lobby of a Bromsgrove District Council Meeting! Do you have something you want to moan about! If so Bring your own Plackard... come in fancy dress if you like! for more info.. Ring Mark on 07966866837. CREDIT CRUNCH CRAP COUNCILS COMMIE COMEDIANS ! Come on down to Bromsgrove!