DarkChat have been big fans of Mark Watson for a long time, I've been a 'lifer' at his 24 hour shows, attempted to write a
novel with him and my wife once felt like she had been let down by him (it was a 'Welsh' thing!) so we were excited to find that
this year he would be performing an Infinite Show, a significant step up even for someone used to performing marathon
shows! We were sad/relieved to find that this wasn't the case and that the show is instead about empathy and connecting
with other people and in particular with the audiences attending the shows.
The show is borne of Watson's current personal situation which involves (it seems) a fairly messy divorce and the idea that if
he can't connect with those who he should be closest to then how can he expect to connect with anyone else around him. The
show begins before it begins with Mark handing out cards to the queueing audience asking them for the thing about them that
people can't empathise with or find odd about them. It's a rich source of material and puts the audience at ease where they
might usually be terrified about engaging with the comedian talking to the front row with the usual "what's your name and where are you
from?" that you might expect at a stand-up show. The night we are there a teenager who claims to be happy to use LSD is a rich source of material eventually being shot down by his Mum as he is outed as "definitely a non drug user". The show is book ended with chats with the audience based on what they have written on the cards and one of party is pleased to discover that someone else in the audience shares her mistrust of certain post boxes!
The written material in between is equally as good with particular highs stories of his Mum, Bees and Banksy and others that will especially resonate with any other parent of similar aged children (Center Parcs and school late books). Given the nature of the show there are some serious stories here too (particularly the effects of divorce on an 8 year old) but all are done well and treated with the respect you would expect from such a seasoned performer who is quite obviously invested deeply in what he is sharing with us.
Watson is at home both when telling stories and also when connecting with his audience, it would seem - in this environment at least - that he has no issues connecting or empathising with people and the near non-stop laughter of the audience bears this out.
This show is as good as anything Mark Watson has done and if you can get a ticket to see him (good luck) then add him to your must see list for 2018.
Mark Watson: The Infinite Show is at Pleasance Courtyard until August 27th (not 24th-25th)
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 19.00