There’s a reliability to the high quality of Mark Watson’s shows and this year his Fringe offering is no different. It’s not ground breaking or edgy, but it is packed with laughs and plenty of Watson’s brilliantly self-deprecating comedy. He is somewhat of an Edinburgh veteran now, a master craftsman when it comes to these kind of shows, consistently selling out at his venues. (This performance started slightly late due to the time it took to pack us all in sardine style). Yet he convincingly presents to us the persona of being just a self-effacing bloke, who looks slightly lost alone on a large stage, awkward in his own skin and skilfully appearing like he’s making up the show as he goes along.
Watson’s style is personal and warm, with a boy next door vibe that leaves you feeling like he’d gladly pop over for a cuppa if you offered. It appears important to him to stay in touch with his audience; he references providing value for money (in terms of the ticket price) and comedians who get cross with audiences when they don’t laugh “enough” at jokes, reassuring us of the absence of that kind of pressure here. Not that lack of laughs is ever a risk during this gig.
The set is simple but with an appropriately high end feel and as usual, Watson adds in a few playful details that prevent the show being purely “a man on stage yabbering on” – as he puts it. A ticket to Mark Watson is always a safe bet for the Fringe, although may not be an easy bet if leaving it to late to get your hands on one. While I’m Not Here may not contain the most original material of his career, this is still a very strong show with a steady stream of laughter from beginning to end.