HE MAY not strike you as a man who would bear a grudge, but Mark Watson has slow-burning vengeance on his mind for this latest tour.
Star rating: * * * *
The information is ostensibly about the flood of useful knowledge, salacious rumours and invented language that has been enabled by the internet, but, at its heart, is a tale of thwarted ambition and a novel way of seeking payback.
Having begun previous shows by sitting among his audience or welcoming his crowd with laptop messages, the not-Welsh Watson starts this one by literally thinking inside the box. From there he spins yarns about the lonely existence of a stand-up, whether it’s centred on calling a meat feedback line (if his showbiz nemesis Stewart Lee can make “crisps” sound weird, Watson successfully ups the ante with the word “ham”), ordering wine in hotel rooms and making drunken fiscal errors.
He wisely flits in and away from his core topic, knowing that the internet has already been tackled by legions of comics, but when he does delve into the dark side of social media, it’s with the kind of personal calamity that has served his solo career well for almost a decade.
The Celtic accent may have long gone, but the Bristolian’s nervy, humble stage demeanour continues to help him make comedic hay as ideas crash into one another, landing in often unexpected places.
Mark Watson may admit to being in a perpetual state of meltdown, but when he’s in full neurotic flow, he can’t help but conjure up a perfect storm.