In ‘The Infinite Show’ Mark Watson comes across as a man with more thoughts to express than he can articulate, continually stumbling between ideas in a way that always, almost magically, coalesses in laughter. It is often hard to tell whether half the show has been pre-prepared at all, the tightly wound punchlines almost jarring when they slither into what initially felt like an improvised ramble.
One of most the most interesting aspects of ‘The Infinite Show’ comes from this looseness, Watson’s hunt for real empathy. This hunt happens on numerous levels throughout the show, the most obvious being the shows ‘gimmick’, with members of the audience writing down peculiar personality traits on placards prior to the performance, Watson then engaging with these individuals throughout the hour. These segments of the show either drew out some of the most raucous laughter or an eerie silence from the audience.
The juxtaposition of light and comic storytelling with moments of genuine emotional rawness and weight is mirrored by Watson, with his habit of continually returning to heartfelt ramblings of his own pursuit of connection and empathy with his family. You may almost get the impression he is using his platform as a form of personal therapy, throwing his struggles into the open in the hopes they’ll be laughed at. However, this can sometimes be detrimental to the show as Watson’s focus on what’s on his mind there and then sometimes results in sections of the show being chopped up and scattered throughout the set. But even this occasionally leads to comedy in itself, Watson playing on his own unintentionally bizarre structuring.
The one thing that may stick with you the most is the unshakeable feeling that something more than the show itself is happening in the room and, regardless of whether the audience or Watson himself knows exactly what that is, it’s an experience worth pursuing.
★★★★ (and a half)
(and a half)