LISTENING to someone talk about their ill relative for hours on end might not be everyone’s idea of fun, after all that is what Christmas dinner with the family is usually for.

But when that someone is campaigning comedian Mark Thomas then people buy tickets in their droves to hear his story performed in his new show Bravo Figaro!

Mark’s father, a strong willed working class Tory who was the butt of his jokes earlier in his career, succumbed to degenerative illness progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and Mark recounts his attempt to stage an opera in his dad’s Bournemouth bungalow.

Mark said: “I remember cringing when my dad used to play his opera records from the rooftops when I was younger but when he became ill I wanted to bring the happiness back that music gave him.

“All this led to me doing this show which is about my dad, me, love, death and opera.”

Bravo Figaro! won two awards at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, is enjoying rave reviews and was first commissioned by the Royal Opera House.

Unlike his previous stand up shows Bravo Figaro! Mark has a creative team working with him giving the show a more theatrical feel.

Though the comedian is used to having people crying with laughter at his shows Bravo Figaro! has touched many an audience member on a human level.

The presenter of Radio 4’s The Manifesto said: “We have had people shedding a tear in a few of the shows and I have had a lot of the audience telling me their own experiences.

“There is a humour to be found in a lot of places and a lot of audience members have gone through what I have with a loved one, especially as there now more people dealing with elderly relatives with dementia, but there is no point but being anything but honest.”

After walking the wall in the West Bank, breaking the Guinness World Record for political protests and chasing arms dealers the award-winning author is happy with this unexpected return to his roots.

He said: “I never thought I would do a show about family again but this show happened through a series of coincides and I’m glad it did, and some of the stories about him are comedy gold and the fact we have recordings of him and my mother means that he gets to speak for himself.”

Bravo Figaro! is at the MAC in Birmingham next week from Monday, December 3 to Wednesday, December 5, Solihull Arts Complex on Tuesday, February 12 and Stourbridge Town Hall on Friday, February 15.

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