Mark Thomas: Check Up: Our NHS at 70 (Traverse Theatre) ★★★★

Mark Thomas turns his attention to the NHS in its 70th year. His mother was a midwife and he was born at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, across the river from the Houses of Parliament; he wonders what state the NHS will be in when he draws his last breath. Through morbid conversations with a GP covering how he might meet his end as a man in his 50s to meetings with senior health experts and front line staff, Thomas presents his view of the NHS in 2018 and why we ought to be worried.

After spending a month at a London NHS Trust, shadowing consultants, surgeons and nurses, he tells the audience what he saw and describes who he met with energy and enthusiasm backed up with stark statistics and examples of reduced funding. He celebrates the good and acknowledges that perhaps we don’t have the best health service in the world.

Thomas is a good natured storyteller with a talent for mimicking his interviewees; his words are supported with film clips and photographs that make the time fly by. There are some tragic tales here but they are shared with compassion, used to make his points rather than poke fun at those in need. This is Mark Thomas on top form, talking about a subject close to his heart.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans


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