Review of All The Thoughts I've Had Since I Was Born
Before we start, I'll answer the question "Mark Who?"
Mark Watson is a stand up comedian from Bristol with a Welsh-tinged accent. You may have seen him on Mock the Week, or heard him on Fighting Talk on Radio 5 Live. Or maybe on one of the twelve episodes (to date) of Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better, broadcast on Radio 4, and also featuring Tim Minchin, Tom Basden and Tim Key.
You may have seen some of the things he has written for TV, like The Lift, shown on BBC Four, or quiz show We Need Answers, also on BBC Four. Or you may have read one or more of his three books, Bullet Points, A Light-Hearted Look at Murder or Crap at the Environment. I've read the first two (A Light-Hearted Look at Murder was much better than Bullet Points) and am hoping that the third will come into my possession in April.
Or you may have seen him doing stand up before, either on tour around the country, or at the Edinburgh Fringe where he performed the first-ever solo 24 hour show in 2004 (and proposed to his wife at the end of it). He has done this bizarre comedy marathon several times since too. And stand up is where Watson is most at home.
His current show is based on last year's Edinburgh performance, All the Thoughts I've Had Since I Was Born. A very ambitious title indeed, but that seemed to be the fashion last year with shows like Josie Long's "All of the Planet's Wonders (Shown in Detail)", which is currently airing on Radio 4 in four 15 minute adaptations.
He started out tonight's show in typical odd Watson fashion, walking into the audience from the back of the room and addressing everyone without a microphone. The Darwin Suite at the Assembly Rooms is not huge (capacity around 300), so this is certainly a viable thing to do. He does it to put the audience at ease and relax people. But then he has to go up to the side of the stage, hide behind a curtain and then introduce himself and walk on, even though he's been performing for 10 minutes by that time!
His delivery is swift, his timing excellent and the material, whilst not always 100% original, is carefully observed and very funny. Whilst he has a routine, he's also not afraid to break off into asides and tangents, starting out with how a taxi driver refused to drive him from the station to the gig because it wasn't worth it, so he got soaked in the rain. And then offering to burn down Toys'R'Us on his way back after someone in the audience shared their bad experiences working for their customer service department.
Watson is indeed a rising star and on tonight's performance, all those accolades that he has already received are justified. Look out for him in a town near you, and look out for more of his work.