Mark Watson: The Information

Assembly George Square

From 01 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Despite losing his timid Welsh persona, Mark Watson still manages to miss out on all of the usual traits of a stand-up comedian.

To start with, he is totally lovable. Next, while he swears, it always seems more like the brave attempts of a nine-year-old who is testing out the words than a mean, hard-core joker testing out the limits of his audience.

Mark Watson has always been the ordinary man asking us to identify with his weaknesses and foibles. So ordinary is he that a few hours before his sell-out set, the no longer Welshman was wandering around the centre of the Edinburgh comedy hub unnoticed by anybody except your devoted critic.

As he points out, despite TV popularity, Watson really is just an ordinary guy who happens to stand on a stage making people laugh at his weaknesses.

The subject matter in 2012 is information and its ease of access. Our guide worries that by the time his two-year-old gets to school, a sense of mystery will have disappeared from the world, since the Internet allows us all to discover anything that we want. 

No longer will we need to remember the capitals of the world's countries or do complicated mental arithmetic (two Watson specialities it appears). Instead, we will Google or Wiki the answers. 

One of Watson's strengths that he draws his audience in, making people feel that he is talking to them personally. On this occasion, since he has requested texts before, during and after the show that is not too far from the truth.

Other comedians seem to work with a tight script, this one ad libs like mad, happily interacting with his fans rather than slavishly delivering his pre-written lines.

The crowds love it, which is why Mark Watson has become one of the hottest tickets in Edinburgh.