Comedy review: Mark Thomas: A Show That Gambles on the Future

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: It's been a tough couple of years for the political pollsters and pundits who have been proved wrong in their predictions on a number of high-profile occasions.

Summerhall (Venue 26)


Frankly, you might as well ask a Fringe audience for their projections of where they reckon we are headed in a handcart – so Mark Thomas has decided to do just that for his latest high(ish) concept stand-up show.

On the way into the auditorium, audience members are invited to scribble some apocalyptic predictions on a piece of paper – Thomas collates and curates the suggestions and the games begin.

Some are feasible (“Jeremy Corbyn to become PM”), some are inevitable (“it will rain”), some are so crazy they might just happen (“grated cheese to be renamed pulled cheddar”) and it appears to be the latter which finds the most favour in the room – for Thomas is also inviting his audience to vote for the prediction they would bet on, and he will then head to his friendly, tolerant, neighbourhood bookies in London to see if they will give him favourable, or any, odds on our wildest guesses.

It’s hard to work out whether these propositions are earnest prediction or just bloodthirsty wish fulfilment – let’s just say that Donald Trump and Tony Blair do not want to run into this Summerhall wrecking crew.

Thomas spent his childhood making calculations and forecasts in order to negotiate his volatile father, though even with these personal anecdotes A Show That Gambles on the Future doesn’t quite have the sharp writing, trenchant insight and emotional heart of Thomas’s recent theatrical works – rather, it is laughing so we don’t cry.

For the record, our collective think tank reckons that Theresa May will be outed as a scientologist. Don’t bet against it.

Until 27 August. Today 6pm.