Mark Watson brings final date of tour to Shrewsbury - review

By Leon Burakowski | Shrewsbury | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Comedian Mark Watson can really waffle. He's got more waffle than Birds Eye, even more waffle than a Belgian bakery.

Mark Watson

On the 87th and final date of his 2019 The Infinite show tour, I was worried he may be somewhat jaded, frazzled even. Especially when he began the show by peering into the audience like he was looking for a familiar face. Turns out he had left his glasses at home.

A helpful member of the audience offered her spare pair, which he wore until he said it was making him feel weird and likely to fall off the stage. "You all seem so much closer, but not in a good way," he added.

Watson in effect acted as his own warm up act with a 40 minute set before returning after the interval for a slightly more structured hour.

Quite early on Watson conceded we had probably had our biggest laugh when, after explaining how he had left his glasses at his former home, he revealed how he had lost that home and wife to an ongoing divorce, and someone in the audience offered him his wife. Not sure how funny his wife found it, but the audience roared with laughter.

The gangly, scruffy 39-year-old Watson has the air of someone constantly struggling to be the responsible adult. For example, when confronted with a bee in his sink, he rang his mother for advice.

Being a father has also proved a challenge. He tells of a nightmare holiday in CenterParcs (and hates their spelling policy) in a delicious rant. His battle of wills with his eight-year-old son who constantly makes them late for school leads to a memorable meltdown.

The divorce kept coming up but rather than bitterness, despite a few digs at the ex, Watson was more regretful in his brutally honest verdict that most of the problems emanate from his own anxious, hesitant nature.

The self-deprecating humour was punctuated by him reading cards from the audience (they had been available in the foyer) in which they made confessions or boasts about their secret desires, fears and pet hates.

Not all who had submitted were prepared to talk when the comedian asked for dialogue on their comment, so it was particularly apt when Watson said of the silence from the person who had said how incredibly helpful they were, "well, you're not being helpful now."

But Mark Watson does not need help being funny, even though his humour is tinged with cathartic remorse. Serious stuff this funny business.

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