Brighton Festival Fringe, Royal Albion Hotel: Mark Watson
It was a rare treat – and unbelievable value – to catch comedian Mark Watson in action road-testing new material for his forthcoming Do I Know You? tour at the Five Pound Fringe.
Watson’s late inclusion didn’t make the festival programme and was publicised mainly via social networking sites, but even so it was a surprise there were some empty seats in the intimate room at the Royal Albion for a real comic off the telly.
The lanky Bristolian’s stock in trade is self-deprecating insecurity, and his observations on fatherhood, making your life count for something, and the ups and downs of life as a touring comedian kept the crowd highly entertained during his 60-minute show.
He’s a fast talker, and at times his material could have done with a little less pace but I suspect it’s partly the nervousness of a man still working with his material, coupled with a brain that is always thinking furiously, while his delivery tries to catch up.
Watson’s comedy is intelligent and questioning, always probing behind the way we behave as human beings, and looking for answers as well as humour. His honest assessment of his TV ad campaign with Magners – and the flak he received from fans – showed the pressures and expectations of a working comedian trying to earn a living, but was a hoot as well.
A veteran of more than a dozen Edinburgh Festival shows, Watson at 30 is fast becoming one of our most inventive and entertaining observational stand-ups – I’d strongly recommend catching him when he’s back in Brighton at The Dome on 20 October (tickets are available at http://www.brightondome.org/)