Mark Watson (4 stars)

  • 21 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

Less than a week before Mark Watson launched into his 2006 comedy marathon (just the 36 hours this time around) and you’d think that he would have been conserving all his energies. Not a bit of it. His form is blazing on this particular night and if other witnesses’ testimony is anything to go by, his performances after the day and a half session are similarly barnstorming. Quite what it is that drives Watson on is unclear but his rat-a-tat Welsh accented delivery (which is marginally odd given that he is a Bristol lad with a soft English accent off-stage) leaves both himself and his audience absolutely drained but totally satisfied.

The loose starting point for his show is the mugging he was a victim of at the start of the year and it leads him to examine the seven deadly sins. He is effortlessly at ease when riffing with the audience (though one touchy pensioner insensitively threatens to knock his block off after the show) while his prepared material is a catalyst for a hilarious scattergun approach. It’s a marvellous irony that he chooses a couple of audience members to keep time and announce the arrival of the 40-minute mark when the show will inevitably dip into a lull. One of his chosen two has clearly been so engrossed that he’s lost track of time.

He should not feel alone in this as this is one of the most breathtaking and quality/quantity gag-filled shows of this or indeed any year’s Fringe. Whatever you think of Mark Watson’s peculiar Welsh persona, his comedy is the real thing. (Brian Donaldson)

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 9.45pm, £9.50-£10.50 (£8-£9).

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