Mark Watson: The Infinite Show
Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe ★★★★☆
MARK WATSON is looking for empathy. In the queue before his latest Edinburgh Fringe show, the Taskmaster and panel show regular hands out questionnaire cards inviting his audience to share their strangest quirks and opinions, in celebration of humanity’s foibles.
On our visit, selected highlights of Watson’s card-shuffling included a young woman with a fear of postboxes and a 16-year-old lad in the front row who believed that taking LSD is just fine, actually — although his mum, sitting next to him, soon set him right on that.
Watson, himself a friendly ball of neuroses, utilises these responses to great comic effect during the show, rarely missing a beat when it comes to audience interaction.
He has plenty of his own (pre-prepared) stuff to get off his chest, however, and that’s why he feels he needs to get started with this empathy lark.
He’s in the midst of an acrimonious divorce, he tells us. His eight-year-old son’s behaviour is a problem to him and Watson has to find ever-more creative and existential excuses for the late book at school. And don’t get him started on the price of a pint at Center Parcs.
Named The Infinite Show because he wishes to carry on the empathy project for the rest of his life, Watson delivers a quick-fire hour of fun, observational material with the bite of tough autobiography. The biggest themes of this Fringe so far are understanding of others and toxic masculinity. This show touches on both and is entertaining too.