Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Mark Watson: The Information

Mark Watson’s latest comedy show explores the nature of our information age, where personal details are scattered across the internet and you can’t buy a carrot without registering to order the latest DVD release. Little of his material relates to this theme but that doesn’t matter; all is hilariously funny and performed in Watson’s wonderfully understated style. Stories range from his mortgage application rejection and vengeance against the broker, to overhearing audience comments (“if we don’t like the show, we can just go to Nando’s”) and calling the telephone feedback number listed on the back of a packet of low-quality ham.

Innovative and amusing is the fact you can text Watson during the performance, meaning normally shy viewers have the opportunity to heckle our comedian. Watson even took a live call from a previous audience-member; it seems in the modern day comedians can be interrupted by people not even in the building. (I have of course saved Watson’s number so that I can similarly heckle during the show on a future date.)

Audience comments are handled with speed and wit and when a text-sender requests to go inside the large onstage box for the remainder of the performance, Watson agrees. He concludes that if the man comes out alive it will be a wonderful end to the show, and if not, there’ll be great publicity – picture the headlines: “Watson dices with death”.

This show has already received numerous four star reviews but considering the (almost) death-defying stunt that was included in yesterday’s performance, I think Watson deserves that elusive final star. I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

*****5/5 stars

Mark Watson: The Information is playing at Assembly George Square as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 27 August. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.

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