After a year’s sabbatical, Mark Watson returns to the Fringe with another hour of breathless observational comedy in I’m Not Here.
What is it?
The eminently likeable Watson is self-deprecatingly honest about his mid-table position in the comedy league table (he recalls the symbolism of a dream in which he’s run over by a bus with a poster of fellow Bristolian Russell Howard on the side).
But while he might still be recognisable to most from a certain cider advert and a few Mock the Week appearances, Watson reminds us of his comedic talent in this fast-paced, well-written show, pegged loosely on the tale of a nerve-wracking flight to Sydney.
Why should I see it?
Observational comedy – and Watson in particular – has taken a bashing by the more acerbic names on the circuit in recent years. That’s partly because there are so many identikit comics whose “you-know-that-feeling-when” routines seem written solely with five-minute Live at the Apollo segments in mind.
And while Watson freely admits at one point in this show that he falls into the oft-maligned observational category, he’s one of the best exponents of the style.
Of course, this is Mark Watson, so there’s barely a pause as he hurtles from topics like the passing of time (and the subsequent challenge of explaining Woolworths to his six-year-old son) to the passive-aggressive judgement of his neighbours when he’s recycling wine bottles (“good party was it?”).
Watson’s comfort zone is on stage, and while he might not be filling arenas like Russell Howard, he does guarantee an enjoyably funny journey through the life of a slightly neurotic 30-something man – and is self-aware enough to rise above the majority of his observational peers.
Let’s just say there’s part of the hour that’s a bit like a rock show, but we’re not going to spoil it.
How can I see it?
Mark Watson – I’m Not Here is at Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug, 9pm, more info
Watson has written six novels, the latest of which, The Place that Didn’t Exist, has just been published. “Deep down I feel I’m doing comedy to fund writing,” he recently told our sister title i.