Mark Watson

The Classic, Auckland

14/05/2007 - 26/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Mark Watson

Presented by productions


One of the joys of the NZ International Comedy Festival is discovering the new stars on the UK comedy scene before they have become household names or got stuck on the telly. Acts such as ROSS NOBLE, DANNY BHOY, ED BYRNE and ANDY PARSONS who all made their NZ debut early in their careers.

In 2007 MARK WATSON is The CLASSIC pick of ‘one to watch’.

He made a name for himself at the 2005 and 2006 Edinburgh Fringe embarking on a punishing schedule including 3 different shows that saw him performing 3 times a day including, last year, a 36 Hour Marathon Show.

Favourable reviews and nominations for a number of prestigious awards followed including the TimeOUT Critics Choice award in 2006 and a Panel Prize in the EDDIE’s Award.

In 2006 he was nominated for Best Comedy Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and will arrive in New Zealand to kick off his two week season at The Classic on Mon 14 May, direct from follow-up seasons in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Dates:  Mon 14 – Sat 19, 7pm & Mon 21 – Sat 26 May, 8.30pm
Venue:  The Classic, 321 Queen St, Auckland City
Tickets:  Adults $23.50 Conc. $18.50 Groups 10+ $18.50
Bookings:  Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 5385) or The Classic 09 373 4321
Show Duration:  1 hour

Theatre , Solo , Stand-up comedy ,

1 hr

Hardly a dull moment

Review by Sian Robertson 15th May 2007

This nervous, tightly coiled, instantly likeable Welshman speaks so fast it’s like a long, captivating train-of-thought monologue, which is so intimate because it’s as if he’s saying everything as fast as he can think it and a little bit faster than you can take it in unless you sit up and pay attention.

His nervous energy is infectious (as you can tell by my opening sentence) and, although at times disconcerting, it’s hugely entertaining.

Born in Wales and living in London, he dutifully confides in us the rigours of a London existence, finding colour in the most dreary, frustrating and dangerous situations, with a nervous giggle and sparkling repartee. New topics come out of the blue, hot on the heels of the last one, leaving his audience no time to steep in the glow of the previous laugh (we get to do that on the way home and throughout the following day).

‘I’m really worried about how I seem to hate everybody,’ he says suddenly and emphatically, launching into a self-doubting assessment of his own sanity ‘because if you think there’s something wrong with everyone else, then it’s probably you, isn’t it?’

It’s his opening night and he informs us he’s a little disoriented having only been in the country 2 hours. Later he points out, and it rings curiously true, that this, his first ever New Zealand audience, laughs at all the wrong places. We don’t respond heartily to the jokes he can usually count on to bring the house down, and then when he points this out, we burst into hysterical fits. ‘But I’m just talking! That wasn’t even a joke!’ More raucous laughter.

Mark helpfully tells us when he’s nervous, wearing his heart on his sleeve, incorporating his unease into his stand-up persona, because, as he confesses, he’s not much good at bravado. At first he keeps feeling the need to explain himself, so surprised is he at our unpredictable collective sense of humour, with profuse apologies in inappropriate places, but then this almost painfully self-aware chap nips that habit in the bud, making fun of his own self deprecation, which is taking it a step further than most self-respecting comedians would dare to tread. He promises to stop using ‘That one went down much better in Australia’ as an excuse, and we forgive him.

Where Watson was weak was when his nerves got the better of him and he seemed to be trying to rescue a sinking ship, but as far as I was concerned the ship wasn’t sinking, it was just sailing into a headwind and taking on a bit of spray. And in fact it’s his tendency, a) to get himself into difficult situations and, b) to blow situations out of proportion in his story telling, that makes him so hilarious.

There’s hardly a dull moment, or if there is, he points it out immediately, apologises, says something with lots of syllables in his endearing Welsh accent with a desperate expression on his face and has everyone in stitches again.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo