Reviewer: Matt Forrest
Following last year’s critically acclaimed stand-up tour,Flawless, Mark Watson brings his latest show, I’m Not Here, to the Lowry Quays theatre. Watson strides on to stage with a huge smile on his face: he informs us that this is the sixth time he has played the venue and he loves it here. He surveys the room notices a few empty seats, for what is essentially a sell-out show. This provides a wealth of material for the first 20 minutes of the show as various late arrivals filter into the auditorium; it would appear there has been a mix-up with the starting time on the tickets. In most comedians’ hands this would lead to a great deal of ridicule for the latecomers, however, Watson mocks the absurdity of the situation poking fun at the fact he has become a ‘ticket watchdog for his own gig’.
The first half is more a set up for the second, as Watson elaborates how he constantly gets mistaken for other comedians, in particular, David Baddiel, Rhod Gilbert, and Sue Perkins! Watson’s anxiety is further compounded as a faulty passport could lead to him not being admitted to Australia for a string of gigs. Following the interval, Watson casts a caustic look at the perils of married life, fatherhood, and the ridiculous nature of airport shopping. Watson conveys beautifully the pitfalls and perils of modern life, and just how messed up it can get. He lets his anxiety and stresses pour out of him, without letting it become an angry rant: which is certainly refreshing change and the strength of the show.
The shows prearranged encore, sees Watson piggybacked onto stage by one audience member and the use of confetti guns, as we finally learn of Watson’s fate as he arrives in Australia. This is a fun, well-crafted show and a hearty reminder that modern life can be a bit rubbish sometimes, but if we have a moan and get it off our chest then things can be a lot better you know.
Reviewed on 20 March 2016 | Image: Contributed