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Mark Steel - Vive La Revolution [2007] [DVD]

Mark Steel    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Mark Steel
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Pias UK
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Sep 2008
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BXN97G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,918 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

For most of us, the French Revolution has been reduced to jokes about Marie-Antoinette, guillotines and the Scarlet Pimpernel. But for Mark Steel, the French Revolution was one of the most inspirational moments in human history - a moment when ordinary people changed the world and became extraordinary. It deserves better jokes than that. In this revolutionary new DVD, Steel banishes stuffiness from history, telling us what happened in France between the storming of the Bastille and the rise of Napoleon, bringing to life the people who made them happen. Mark Steel has been doing stand up comedy since he was a boy, and is a noted author and columnist. When he is not touring, he is broadcasting TV and Radio shows to the nation, always employing his unique humour and intelligent dissection of human society. VIVE LA REVOLUTION is an uproariously serious work of history - brilliantly funny and insightful, it puts the peculiarity of individual people back at the centre of the story. ''Steel is bolshy, beligerent and bloody hilarious.'' Francis Wheen


Steel mixes jokes and facts brilliantly --The Times

If the revolution was to be led by Mark Steel, it might not be such a terrible idea. The trouble is that his sense of humour is so good he'd be shot in the first week. --John O'Farrell

Smart, comic non-fiction is clearly the future --The Observer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny and educational! 16 April 2009
By pacem et amorem TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was a bit unsure about this when I got it. I've only really watched Mark Steel on quiz shows and so didn't really know what to expect from his stand-up. This was a revelation. Steel is funny but this isn't ordinary stand-up - this is something else - something hard to define and hard to explain. It is, I suppose, eduational comedy. It's not something you're going to laugh yourself silly at and it may come across as contrived but it is good. You will come out knowing something new at the end and will find that you have been learning all the time - though you thought you were just having fun and a bit of a laugh!
If you're looking for something different then I recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty stand-up with an historic theme 26 Dec 2008
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Steel is an engaging, intelligent comic. He's at his best using his superb skills of mimicry to illustrate an absurd aspect of human nature or our society. The funniest parts of this two-disc set are when he steps into a different character and captures a recognisable type of person down to a tee. The opening moments of the show, filmed in a south London theatre, are very well observed -- anyone from the area will recognise exactly what he means about Blackheath, Greenwich and Plumstead, for instance...
It's entertaining to watch a comedy routine based around an historical interlude, too, and Steel does a very good job of explaining the political and social tangle of the French revolution in down to earth, realistic terms. He spots the absurdity in most situations, although the result produced just chuckles from us, rather than many moments of outright laughter.
On the down side, Steel's over-use of Effin language spoils the event and means we couldn't possibly watch this with a multi-generational audience. It was like being back in the 1980s and listening to Ben Elton spraying the audience with a non-stop barrage of spiky language. OK now and then to get a laugh... a bit over the top here, frankly.
The special features were also nowt to write home about, and there's no need for this to be a two-disc set.
Fans of Mark Steel will surely love this show. If you've not seen much of him before then this is a good way to find out if you like his style. It was useful to me -- I found out that I wouldn't want to go out to a theatre to catch him live, but I'd be happy renting another disc of his.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stand up with a twist 12 Jan 2009
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An irreverent look at history, narrated through stand up comedy, interspersed with general observations on every day life, politics and so on. Mark Steel skillfully weaves his blend of comedy and insightful knowledge to give a hilarious account of the French Revolution.

Comes with a second disc containing feature extras.

The picture quality is poor though, so I had to take one star away, hence 4 instead of 5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Despite a cover that even a mother would hate, Vive la Revolution is an interesting but not always entirely successful mixture of standup history and comedy lecture, with Steel acting as a one-man guide through the triumphs and absurdities of the glorious French Revolution in an attempt to take the posh and pompous and important out of history (with particular reference to Simon Sharma, who obviously isn't on his Christmas card list) and put the emphasis back on what it meant to people at the time rather than reducing it to dates and statistics. Myths are debunked - the revolution was originally instigated by nobles objecting to being taxed who urged the peasants to revolt on their behalf, while the storming of the Bastille only resulted in seven prisoners being liberated - and he's excellent on the way the idea of the Rights of Man took hold and caused massive changes for ordinary people, not just in France but around the world. But he also tends to get sidetracked and his delivery is occasionally awkward, as if he's only just finished writing it on the bus on the way to the theatre. Worst of all, he rushes and fumbles the ultimate failure of the Revolution and the descent into the Terror (though does point out that it was a fearful public's response to foreign armies trying to crush them rather than simple bloodlust or revenge).

While it always runs the risk of coming across as the college smartarse lampooning his history lectures, it's biggest flaw is that neither side of the equation gets to flourish as well as they should: at times the history gets in the way of the comedy while at others the need to insert a few more laughs means the history isn't as detailed as it could be - and usually just when it's starting to get interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing take on an over-familiar topic 3 Sep 2009
By amboline VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mark Steel has made a speciality out of combining his personal brand of left-wing stand-up comedy with his take on the big events (and occasionally the unsung personalities) of history. In this 2 DVD set, Steel turns his attention to a staple of the high-school history syllabus. It's to his credit that he manages to reinvigorate the topic of the French Revolution, rescuing it from the mundanity of dates and lists and drawing-out the often forgotten human element behind the upheavals of 1789.

Steel's protrayal of Marie Antoinette and family is surprisingly sympathetic from an avowed republican. His ire is really reserved for the system which deified the nobility and kept the working classes of pre-industrial France in a state of perpetual servitude. The image of peasants sweeping frogs out of the noblemen's moats well sums up the tragic absurdity of the age. In Steel's account, the revolution happens almost by accident; and it's the educated middle classes who build up the rush of idealism into an unstoppable force. This is where Steel's treatment of the revolution differs sharply from the history books. His depiction is of the triumph of people power against all the odds; and when the revolution IS betrayed, it's the money-grabbing capitalists and the outside forces of conservatism that combine to create paranoia, the Reign of Terror, and ultimately the regime of Europe's first modern dictator, Napoleon.

So much for the history. The real joy of this DVD is that Steel is a stand-up comedian, not a historian (his contempt for the Simon Schamas of this world is made clear in almost the first minute of the show).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Facts interspersed with swearing
I have to admit I was a little disappointed with this DVD. I was expecting a funny lecture about the French Revolution, but what it is is Mark Steel complaining about things that... Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2009 by Mr. J. R. Trinder
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not quite what he was going for
Recorded at the Black Heath Halls on his 'Viva La Revolution' tour, comedian Mark Steel's first live DVD focuses predominantly on the French Revolution, a period of time Mark... Read more
Published on 19 July 2009 by ravenheart
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining lecture - who'd have thought?
There are aspects of Mark Steel I don't like - his tone and delivery come across as unremitting, as though he's used to not letting anyone get a word in until he's made his point. Read more
Published on 21 May 2009 by J. Baldwin
4.0 out of 5 stars History Made Funny And Valuable Lessons Learned From It...
Mark Steel likes his facts. He really does. His live show uses history and period props as a way of being both funny and even educational. Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by Mark Barry
3.0 out of 5 stars rib-tickling
A verteran of the likes of The News Quiz, Mark Steel's questing liberal style won't be to everyone's taste, yet this is still a rib-tickling topical treat.
Published on 26 Mar 2009 by Stuart Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, literate comedy
Having read two of Mark Steel's books and saw his appearances on several television shows, I was pretty sure what to expect, but I wasn't really expecting it to shine -... Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2009 by Dr. Michael Heron
3.0 out of 5 stars School daze
First off this gets a big fat zero for product design, with Mark Steel's massive grinning head on the cover positively screaming 'bargain bin'. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2009 by International Cowgirl
3.0 out of 5 stars The revolution HAS been filmed
Having enjoyed Mark Steel's 'lectures' on both radio and TV, where he told the stories of such dissimilar icons as Che Guevara, Freud and WG Grace, I read his book about the French... Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2009 by S. Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Not tonight...
Nope, didn't do it for me, somewhat to my disappointment. Only watched it for thirty minutes but when those had raised nary a titter, I figured I'd given over enough of my life to... Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2009 by Robert Machin
3.0 out of 5 stars Comedy - jokes anyone?
Mark Steele is a jack of all trades; TV, radio, books, newspapers, he's done a bit of all of it, though to most he's probably best known for Have I Got News For You. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2009 by dynamitekid156
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