THERE’S bad news and good news on the comedy front this week.
First comes the announcement that top UK comedian Jo Caulfield will not be appearing at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on Sunday.
Reports suggest that Jo has had to call off part of her current tour and that the two weeks now blanked out on her website diary for mid-November signal a TV contract in America.
The good news is that the LBT has brought in as replacement, Mark Thomas who the theatre describe as “the UK’s foremost political comedian.” He won’t be in the LBT on Sunday but later this month, on Tuesday November 27 at 8pm.
His biography certainly shapes up that way. Here’s the man who had an 18 month battle over the right to demonstrate in London’s Parliament Square.
It all began with an iced cake and one woman’s attempt to eat a picnic. And it culminates in a surreal, stand-up show in the company of a man who is part investigative journalist, part political comedian.
Unless you have permission, it seems, it is illegal to demonstrate near the Houses of Parliament. But that wasn't going to stop Mark Thomas, who set out to make a record number of protests in one day .
“Last summer, my friend Sian was threatened with arrest for having a picnic in Parliament Square. The police had said her meal was a political demonstration, as she had the word "Peace" iced on a cake. Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (Socpa), which restricts the right to demonstrate near the square, she should have got permission from the police six days before getting the Victoria sponge out of its Tupperware container. As the law insists that one person counts as a demonstration, anyone wearing a CND, trade union or Vote Conservative badge in Parliament Square could, in theory, be arrested for demonstrating without permission.
“What many do not know is that it does not just apply to the square, but to a designated zone covering a sizeable part of central London. So if you wanted to stand outside the Channel 4 building, 10 minutes' walk away from the square, with a badge saying "Please don't repeat Friends any more", you would need police permission.
This surreal world that Mark reports on is It is a laugh out loud funny world inhabited by anarchists, Goths, artists and a chap called PC Paul McInally, in which Mark becomes a Guinness World Record holder, organises 2,500 protests in one day and changes the law in the process.
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