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Cuckooed

Members say: Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Entertaining
84
Critics
84
36 reviews
Members
84
3 reviews
 

All for One presents a solo show based on the true story of comedian Mark Thomas' discovery that a good friend and fellow activist was actually a mole sent by Britain's biggest arms manufacturer to spy on Mark.

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'Cuckooed' is a tale of hubris, planes, demos and undercover deceit told by an award-winning performer. To tell this comedy of betrayal, award-winning UK comedian Mark Thomas uses interviews from friends, colleagues, activists and journalists. 'Cuckooed' is a personal and timely tale on the impact of betrayal, unearthing what it means to be spied upon by a corporation under the sanction of the state.

 

Cast & Creatives (4)



Reviews (39)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

80
Theatermania

"Thankfully, Thomas is neither a pedagogue nor a preacher, but an amiable comedian asking some important questions...This synthesis of performance art and investigative journalism will appeal to many theatergoers...Martin never agreed to speak with Thomas for this show, so his motivations remain a mystery, giving 'Cuckooed' the feeling of a work in progress…'Cuckooed' is surprisingly full of heart." Full Review

95
BroadwayWorld

"With superb direction by Emma Callandar, this fast moving show will keep you on the edge of your seat... 'Cuckooed' has a remarkably original premise. The show mirrors real life events with humor, passion and veracity. Thomas is a true talent whose performance is exciting, energetic and completely entertaining...This is a one-of-a-kind show that is truly captivating." Full Review

75
Lighting & Sound America

"'Cuckooed' shines a fascinating light on the world of British political activism...Thomas' hurt and confusion are made vividly real...Still, it's hard not to feel that we're getting only a small portion of the story, and the more we hear about Martin, the more fascinating he becomes, at the expense of everyone else…Thomas makes a fascinating host, even if his anger tends to overrule his attempts at wit...'Cuckooed' provides plenty of food for thought." Full Review

80
Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Cuckooed' often does go on and on much like the creature of its title and one can understand an audience member drifting off here and there. But perhaps that is the point…He is energetic, fully committed, and engaging in every way. His solo performance is a powerful tour de force whether it is theatre or lecture and it is worth the visit. With meticulous direction by Emma Callander, 'Cuckooed' is deliciously brimming with the tactics Mr. Thomas has used to fight for justice." Full Review

90
BlogCritics.org

"This interactive media show with his live solo performance is a revelation, with immense scope and power. Its themes reverberate today. Their currency is dynamic and terrifying. Thomas portrays himself throughout the production. He is sardonic, funny, prophetic, mesmerizing and profound. His account has the relevance of court testimony…The production is sardonic and at times outright funny." Full Review

85
What's On Off Broadway

"Mark Thomas’ performance is wildly imaginative and energetic, and the show has surprising depth…Mr. Thomas traffics in a fierce honesty…'Cuckooed' ends up being touching, because of the singular act of betraying a trust...Mr. Thomas’ accent was hard for some people to understand, but the effort is well worth it." Full Review

80
Stage Buddy

"In 'Cuckooed,' Thomas relives his ordeal and puts its consequences very much in the present. Martin has never attempted to explain his activities, but the 'why' is not the point of the show. Instead, this is Thomas' successful bid to get us to invest and empathize with a very personal story of activism, camaraderie, and the long-term and far-reaching effects of deception." Full Review

80
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"The show’s core narrative, a kind of loss-of-innocence story, gives the show an emotional spine that makes it a true theater piece rather than just an evening of politically-oriented standup...Thomas does not paint a rosy picture of an activist’s life, nor does he attempt to flatter the audience with the good news that we can make the world a better place. He does, however, provide an honest, and ultimately moving glimpse of life in the trenches." Full Review

85
Manhattan With a Twist

"What Thomas does so well is that instead of exploiting that fear for a cheap reaction, he makes you feel comfortable with the idea of standing up to it, to look at in the face and laugh. That it is fine to be hurt as long as you don’t let it keep you down, that it is only okay to move on if you come out stronger. And in doing so, he does something not many shows do, he makes you think both personally and generally about everything around you." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"Written by Thomas and skillfully directed by Emma Callander, 'Cuckooed,' with its breakneck pace and devastating subject matter, shows Thomas’ skill as a deeply personal storyteller with the ability to stir righteous indignation in his audience." Full Review

70
Portside

"Callander keeps the pace fast, partly comic, mostly serious, with a strong tinge of outrage...This is Michael Moore on steroids...A lot of the play - a bit too much for outsiders - involves Thomas discussing with fellow campaigners their reactions to what Martin had done...Political theater has always been among the best theater, telling stories of the issues raised by political campaigners and activists. But in this case, stirring political theater is activism itself." Full Review

90
The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "A clever, funny and angry show. One that is imbued with genuine sadness too...Part of the power of this neatly crafted one-man show is the way it exposes how easily we believe and how hard it is to accept that we have been duped... His roots in standup are in evidence in his self-deprecating humour, but he also plays mischievously with the pretences of theatre as he explores the uses and misuses of deception and reminds us that you should never believe everything you are told." Full Review

100
British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "This is political theatre at its very best. Thomas takes his audience through a tale of political activism and espionage that takes the breath away...The delivery is impassioned but lightened with underlying wit, which is necessary for such an important subject. The messages of this chilling production, expertly directed by Emma Callander, are all too clear. We could all be unwitting victims of this kind of spying." Full Review

60
Time Out London

for a previous production "Thomas is a raconteur par excellence, who has led a life so staggeringly righteous and exciting that pretty much every anecdote he launches into is gold. But he’s not yet a slick theatremaker, and ‘Cuckooed’ suffers from a certain lack of craftsmanship...A little more thought about the show’s arc and a little less chasing after key content two weeks ago could probably have elevated ‘Cuckooed’ from a heartfelt ramble to something more powerful." Full Review

85
Exeunt Magazine

for a previous production "He’s a gifted storyteller, and his affable blokey persona, underscored as it often is, with necessary anger works as well on the Traverse stage as it would in a comedy club. He knows just how to land a line, how to shade it, how to invest what he’s saying with emotional weight...This new piece feels more like his work of old, info-rich yet accessible in its activist agenda, but with the addition of something more personal and emotionally knotty at its heart." Full Review

100
Wow 24/7 (UK)

for a previous production "All that Thomas does, over an hour, is to make a brilliant job of telling this sad tale of activism and betrayal, and of a friendship lost. In Emma Callander’s fluent production, though, he does it in irresistible style, funny, self-deprecating, infinitely accessible, eloquent in its use of film and video, but never overwhelmed by it. And by the end of the show, he is asking hard, passionate questions to which every citizen of the UK should have an answer." Full Review

85
The Times (UK)

for a previous production "Stand-up comedian and activist Mark Thomas is now mixing the personal with his more customary political terrain. 'Cuckooed' is a comic monologue about being spied upon while agitating against the arms industry. And what makes this even richer than Thomas’s earlier political shows is not the sure showmanship, the anger and the issues — though they are all there — but the emotional intelligence and sense of vulnerability that lingers on." Full Review

80
Beyond The Joke

for a previous production "Thomas tells this tale with the skill, wit and passion one has come to expect from him in a piece that is part stand-up, part-dramatic monologue...As he comes to the end Thomas broadens the story out to talk about spying on individuals in general. It feels a little gratuitous, but then it grows to make a very powerful and chilling point" Full Review

100
Theatre Cat

for a previous production "Mark Thomas is the most intelligent of the modern leftist standups: impassioned, a practical activist emotionally driven but capable of rich mockery of himself, his confreres and the absurdity and illogic which threatens all human endeavours, even (or especially) the most sincere. In this riveting, headlong narrative there are plenty of laughs...Outrage,sadness, humour, and an underlying solid decency: whatever your politics and pragmatisms, an unmissable hour." Full Review

85
Chortle

for a previous production "Thomas makes the abstract personal with this engrossing tale of betrayal...'Cuckooed' is a straight monologue, carried entirely by Thomas’s brilliant ability to bring every story to vivid life, while making political points and vocalising his conflicting feelings about the treachery...Maybe this show will give him some sort of closure. It certainly gives the audience plenty of food for thought, once they’ve finished laughing." Full Review

90
TV Bomb

for a previous production "'Cuckooed' is more than just comedy theatre. It is thought-provoking storytelling that holds the audience’s attention with aggression and passion...It is an emotional journey that Thomas takes us on and this makes 'Cuckooed' a powerful and important story to tell." Full Review

95
The Arts Desk

for a previous production "Mark Thomas's new show is in the theatre section of the Fringe brochure, but this hour, full of laughs and witty lines as it is, could easily be under the heading of comedy...'Cuckooed' is a masterful piece of storytelling and an engrossing hour...Emma Callander directs a neatly constructed and riveting hour." Full Review

100
Edinburgh Guide

for a previous production "Uncomfortable as it is at times to watch, ‘Cuckooed’ is a very funny show about a serious, indeed deadly, business...This is vintage Mark Thomas – seriously funny in all the best senses, and as he so often is, bang on the money." Full Review

65
What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "His eye for the absurd and sharp sense of irony makes for an engaging hour. But there's a predictability to the story, not helped by the premature exposition of Martin as a suspected spy, which builds to a rather unsatisfying denouement. Perhaps Thomas hopes to inspire us to grab a D-lock and head for the nearest arms fair. But my overriding emotion was a crushing sadness at the pointlessness of protest." Full Review

100
Liverpool Sound and Vision

for a previous production "There was no need for bandstands, there was no need to think of faraging the bin in an effort to feel productive or proactive after the show, this was just a performance in which to share the pain, to dissolute it if possible by laughing with Mark Thomas, but understanding what can only be described as grief wrapped up in a bellyful of laughter. A stirring and emotional night of pure brave genius." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

75
Funny, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, True story

See it if you like provocative solo shows. Thomas has a fascinating tale and he tells it well. The ends aren't all tied up, but the ride is engaging.

Don't see it if you want highly polished theater. This was more like being told a story (with the help of video) by a funny guy at a dinner party.

Also I'm catching up on old reviews. Cuckoo'ed was fun, but very short and ... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Original, Absorbing, Clever, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You're interested in politics or a good investigative story told by a strong performer (he's a comedian)

Don't see it if you really don't care about politics or the UK, like at all

91
During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Resonant

See it if for an insiders view of corporations spying on activists & personal betrayal. Intense, informative, and absorbing. Believable & alarming

Don't see it if you want to stay uniformed and think it has nothing to do with you.