Mark Watson at Latitude 2010

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The archetypal Latitude comic is probably Robin Ince, that walking bundle of educated, well-meaning liberal middle-class aspirations, wrapped in a cardigan. But while Ince spends his days on the literary stage, the polymathic Cambridge graduate Mark Watson epitomises other aspects of the Latitude attitude – being friendly and earnest, trying to do the right thing in a world that can often overwhelm his mild-mannered ways.

And, indeed, his breathless patter went down a treat, with the audience easily identifying with his fluid tales. Watson, possibly more than any comic around today, tries to break down the barrier between performer and audience as much as possible. Sure, there are physical manifestations of this – such as walking among the crowd to deliver some of his act. But more it’s in his whole naturalistic style, talking without sense of occasion as if this was just a casual chat with friends, as he describes seeing a fat bloke missing the train, becoming a dad or being prepared to suspend his disbelief and finally accept that the popular spread is not butter.

He says the curse of his life is that he feels the need to commentate on everything, as if a sports reporter; but it’s proving invaluable in comedy as he spontaneously and almost involuntarily describes how the gig’s going, adding an genuine freshness.

This afternoon, the youngsters in the front provide plenty of fodder, as he teases them with the illicit pleasures of bad language – which, of course, they knew all along – and engages them in idle conversation.

And that’s what the whole set feels like: a conversation. Only better.

Review date: 25 Jul 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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