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May 11, 2019 / basabbott

Rights of Man

Review

To Begin the World Over Again
Diss Corn Hall

Maligned, misunderstood, misused – Ian Ruskin’s view of Thomas Paine in his solo performance.
The Rights of Man author was burned in effigy, reviled as a “dirty little atheist” and a “demi-human archbeast”. He could easily have hanged for blasphemous and seditious libel.
But his works were best-sellers, while his ideas paved the way for the welfare state, pensions, benefits and education funding.
Mr. Ruskin’s interpretation shows him as a decent human being, with a wry sense of humour. Paine’s incendiary writings are allowed to speak for themselves.
We hear about his life and narrow squeaks with death, from Norfolk beginnings to world fame and notoriety.
Staymaker, teacher, preacher, excise man, orator, he found his true direction when Ben Franklin encouraged him to cross the Atlantic.
Active during the American and French revolutions, he became a publishing phenomenon and champion of the people.
Most touching is his profession of deism, with a love of the God who created the world, rather than the one seen via religion. This was as warm and true a one-man performance as you will see anywhere.

Basil Abbott

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