Multi award-winning comedian and activist Mark Thomas really does take rambling to the extreme in Extreme Rambling (Walking the Wall) on Sunday, September 11 at the Theatre Royal Brighton (08448 717650).
Mark’s last UK tours The Manifesto and Stupid Economy both sold out nationwide and inspired audiences across the UK to voice their own ideals. The results from Manifesto were published in a pamphlet entitled The People’s Manifesto (Ebury Publishing), and the show was also recorded and broadcast as a Radio 4 series earlier this year.
So what next, he asked himself - and he’s still struggling to answer quite why he took the route he did.
Never one to take the easy option, Mark decided to go rambling in the Middle East and walked the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier crossing between the Israeli and the Palestinian side.
His show is the story of 300 000 settlers; a 750km wall; six arrests, one stoning; too much hummus and a simple question... can you ever get away from it all with a good walk?
“I am still trying to work out why, but there is a whole lot of reasons for wanting to do it,” Mark says. “I always like approaching something from an angle that other people don’t approach things from. I always like to do something a different way.”
Also appealing was the fact that there is a strong strand of radicalism in English rambling - a strand he transported on a major project which involved huge amounts of planning. Basically, you can’t just set out and walk this particular walk. Local groups, diplomats, media-fixers, translators, all sorts were involved in the preparation for terrain which wasn’t just tough physically, but also politically.
“We had a recce. You really had to work it out.”
You didn’t know whether you would be deep down or on a ledge, just as you didn’t know whether you would be arrested or allowed to pass.
“Double-socking was important! Also, there are certain things that you really can’t attempt without wet wipes and a torch. This was one of them.”
Mark’s new book, Extreme Rambling - Walking The Wall was released via Ebury Publishing in April. He is now touring on the back of it, with plans to take the show to Jerusalem as well.