ComedySouth WestStand Up

Mark Watson: This can’t be it  – Brighton Open Air Theatre 

Reviewer: Simon Topping

Mark Watson is very happy to be in Brighton.  He’s ecstatic to be anywhere performing really. He’d love to shout all his oratory from the stands, so much is his eagerness to connect with an audience.  And what a perfect place to attempt an acoustic gig, we are in an outdoor amphitheater after all.  However, following several minutes of deliberation and satisfying his need to yell at strangers about his suspicion that Hassocks (the next venue he is to play this evening) doesn’t actually exist, having passed through it on the train many times with nobody ever getting on or off the carriages, the comedian relents to his own pressure and makes his way to the green gazebo on stage, to officially begin proceedings. It’s not long before he’s out of the shelter again and as close as he can get to the crowd, looking us in the eye as he starts his angst based shotgun ramblings, as the sun slowly retreats from view.

Like all of us, Watson hasn’t got out so much this year.  The usual show testing ground of the Adelaide Fringe, an Australian tour and Edinburgh Fringe have all been bypassed due to covid, meaning the debut of his new show This Can’t be it comes to the Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) and the crowd is lucky to witness it.

Watson argues he is rusty and for us not to expect the “finished article” this evening, but his brain soon whirs into action and laughter emanates from an appreciative gathering throughout this entertaining hour of whimsy and funny observation.

The pandemic looms large on Mark’s mind; once afraid of flying and paranoid of many aspects of being trapped in the sky, Watson confesses he’d love to pop onto a plane, mainly because it would mean he was on his way to work.  Covid also has meant inappropriate interactions with his neighbours, stemming from trampoline envy and terrible Spotify playlists.

The comic is on top form dealing with his outdoor critics, a squeaking dog and the odd cawing seagull here and there and interacts with his audience fabulously, culminating in an exchange with a man in the theatre to assess what age his telephone app says he’s going to die; it’s a jovial and very funny interchange.

By the end of the piece, although Watson has only completed a fraction of his intended material, he has captivated and delighted the crowd in equal measure. Hopefully, he is not lost in the vortex of Hassocks forever, imprisoned in the  Sussex Bermuda triangle, because Watson still has a lot to offer the comedy world. He’s fun to watch and provides a wonderful hour of hilarious stories.

Reviewed on 25th October 2020

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The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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