We’d like to say that it’s an unkind comedian who titles his shows in Cyrillic. Благодаря. How’s that going to go down in Google SEO? How do we tag that? How is it even pronounced? But we can’t call Tom Rosenthal unkind. We can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this twinkly eyed, self deprecating, good natured chap.
Благодаря is Bulgarian for thank you. It’s not a word they use much, as Tom has discovered while filming two series of Plebs, ITV2’s largely undiscovered sitcom gem set in ancient Rome. Bulgarians have contempt for us Brits, who throw around thanks so much we clearly don’t mean it. They have a point. Благодаря the show is all about crossing cultures and promoting tolerance — for anyone who isn’t footballer Nicklas Bendtner — in the face of rising anti-Eastern European sentiment. (That Soho may not exactly be UKIP’s heartland is generously acknowledged.)
There are some very funny anecdotes about Bulgarian football matches, cheese and attitude to comedy (“We have one comedian. He is the comedian.”) as well as some more serious points, amusingly made, about the rising far right. And yet the highlight comes right at the end, in a cameo of an unexpected nature from Danny Dyer. The whole show is worth seeing, but the final couple of minutes still has us chuckling the next day.
Tom Rosenthal: Благодаря is on at the Soho Theatre, Dean Street W1, until 14 June. Tickets £10-£15. Londonist saw this performance on a complimentary press ticket.