Mark Watson: All The Thoughts I've Had Since I Was Born

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

The Pleasance Grand is the biggest venue Mark Watson’s ever played – 750 seats to be sold every night for a month. But his hard-earned status as a Fringe favourite means he’s having no trouble filling it.

What’s more important is whether his nervy, conversational style will survive in a converted sports hall, and thankfully it does. His everyman likeability, underlined by his habit of starting his shows from within the audience, certainly goes a long way towards making everyone feel like he’s one of us.

He gently mocks the whole idea of playing such a room, worrying that the occasion requires a big rock and roll introduction or grateful curtain-call, but that such flamboyance just isn’t him. It’s typical of his fretful attitude to life, forever over-analysing trivial things, letting petty annoyances niggle away at him.

That’s great for creating comedy, not so good for avoiding a heart attack, as Watson discovered when he had a health scare last year. His doctor advised him to avoid stress, and since his job is largely devoid of it, the only thing he had to cut back on is getting wound up by life’s petty irritations. To take things – ironically enough for a comic – less seriously.

But that’s easier said than done when Watson encounters drunken hen parties, traumatic train trips and, late-night revellers spoiling his Travelodge stays.

Watson performs with a rare mixture of hyperactivity and anxiety. He has a sort of doleful incredulity, in which he knows so many things are rubbish, but gets overexcited in telling everyone about it. He makes it easy for us share his passionate dislike of his targets, through eloquence and passion.

Not that he is a comic who fervently moans that everything is shit. Watson has some sterling one-liners in this fast-paced hour, and the ability spin hugely entertaining little yarns around his observations.

Some intimacy is inevitably lost once you break the 400-seater venues, but Watson has a unique intensity that still drags everyone along with him for the witty ride.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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