Fringe Review #1 – MARK WATSON

Ah ha, the Festival is upon us!  Tis the season to be inundated by attention-seekers from all over the world, descending upon our poor burgh to drag us into their sub-standard extravaganzas.  Huzzah!

In order to set the bar high, last night I took Maria to see Mark Watson as our first show of the year.  He's already a slightly legendary figure, thanks to his 24hr show (2004) and 36hr show (2006), but we'd only ever seen him on YouTube.  Therefore, it made the drizzly wait outside somewhat less horrific when we arrived to find him hanging out with the queue.  What a nice man – this is him.


It carried on similarly indoors, with Mark acting as usher, showing people to their seats, and then giving an extended welcome/intro whilst walking up and down the aisles.  It was very friendly and warm, and we all felt like we were on the same side.  Then the show started.

He's a funny bunny, is Mark Watson.  He's from Bristol (and got a 1st from Cambridge), but performs in a Welsh accent – it works; it's funny and he stands out as a result.  The show was a preview – only £5 – and therefore not 'polished', but he's not really a polished performer anyway, especially when he interrupts himself or has an argument with himself about whether or not he's gonna tell you something.  And since bits of his show are stories about when he argued with himself about whether or not he was going to do something (eg. kick a man who was getting in the way), then it's sort of nice to see it demonstrated as well as talked about.

Favourite Moment:  Not actually the funniest, but it was cute when, having made a joke about women, Watson justified it by explaining that it's okay, because he 'owns one'.  He continued: "If you ever met her, you'd know that she owns me – this is my one hour a day when I get to run around and be cheeky!" and that made me feel very happy, cos most of the time all I want in life is to earn enough man-points to run around and be cheeky.

'Round of Applause' Moment:  Talking about bravery and how people often (mistakenly) think that being a standup requires courage, Watson compared his life to that of a guy who bungee jumped, naked, off Blackpool pier: 'Talk about bravery – I would never in a million years go to Blackpool!'

Low Point:  Noticing (cos I'm sharp like that) that he'd lost his train of thought and skipped ahead into a seperate section.  The show didn't quite get its rhythm back after that.

Overall, I was surprised at how much of the show was conventional story-telling (which Watson is very good at), when I guess I'd been expecting more like the clips I'd seen before: 'joke – laugh – joke – laugh – joke – laugh & applause'.  But a really good night, and fricking good value for a fiver.  If you watch from about 4:02, this video includes a bit of his material from last night:


Next: Tim Vine


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