Blistering hour of exhilarating stand-up
This article is from 2007.
Mark Watson deserves his moment. Having proved to be one of the true innovators on the Fringe with his marathon comedy sessions, off-the-cuff novel writing and participation in daft quizzes, his solo hour of stand-up has grown in stature and scope in successive years and now he is playing in one of the Courtyard’s biggest rooms, promoted from the sweatboxes to a grand theatre space. This is both a tribute to his talent and cause for a slight qualification; much of Watson’s show relies on any given punchline being pushed on a line or two. In the intimate rooms, this is all fine and good, but in this vast expanse, much of the material loses its impact, drowned out in the cascading waves of laughter.
But this is a minor quibble in a set which exhilarates from its democratic beginning as he springs like an über-Welsh jack-in-the-box from the middle of the crowd before eventually making his way to the stage. From there, he launches into the show’s beef, inspired by his last birthday when a series of unfortunate incidents appeared to be sparked by a chance encounter with an evangelist whose impertinent query spawned the show’s typically elongated title, Can I Briefly Talk to You About the Point of Life?
There is, of course, nothing brief in the way Watson ekes out the droplets of humour from each comedic opening as this seemingly nervy individual becomes both excited and confused by the world around him. No one should begrudge the industrious Mark Watson his spot in the limelight; just make sure when you go that you’re at the front of the longest queue in Edinburgh. (Brian Donaldson)
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 9.10pm, £10.50–£11.50 (£9–£10).