Listen: Mark Thomas on his new show Bravo Figaro!
The comedian talks to BBC Radio 4's Front Row about a show coming to the ROH in November.
Originally developed for the Deloitte Ignite festival in 2011, the show is a touching and personal account of Mark’s relationship with his father Colin.
Mark, a libertarian, atheist and punk addict, frequently clashed with his father, a self-employed builder and Methodist lay preacher with a love of opera. However, when Colin was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), Mark developed a new appreciation for his father’s passion.
Bravo Figaro! tells of how Mark used opera to reach out to his father when other forms of communication were closed down by the effects of his father’s illness. Subtitled ‘How to put on an opera in a bungalow in Bournemouth’, the show explores complex family dynamics and the power of music.
The show came into being when Mark was featured on Radio 4’s Saturday Live Inheritance Tracks, a programme in which guests choose tracks that remind them of their family. Mark chose an aria from the Barber of Seville. That year’s director of the Deloitte Ignite Festival, filmmaker and musician Mike Figgis, was listening, and subsequently approached Mark to suggest collaborating on a project for the festival. In return, a group of Royal Opera singers performed for Mark’s father in his living room in Bournemouth.
Read a piece in the Evening Standard about the story behind Bravo Figaro!.