A young lad with a winsome demeanour entered the room and high-fived everyone in the audience. Immediately I liked him.
Mark Smith tells everyone how he’s quite a happy and positive person and he does seem, at first, to have a sunny disposition. But he’s not as young as he looks and not as joyful as he claims.
He goes on to tell us about being a grown man stuck in a teenager’s body. As he leads us along his own self-made path, carved out of the observations he’s made in his 28 years so far we see the outward smile is a means to gloss over the angst of being.
Using the recent birth of his nephew to symbolise the innocence of youth, he explains how as a kid he thought he would know what was going on when he got older. But like most of us he finds it’s not that easy as he talks about disappointments such as not having a rugby player’s body, seeing beautiful girls disappearing out of view on opposite escalators on the Tube and what the afterlife may be like.
The part where Smith relays a biographical tale about someone who knocked on his door flagged a little and Smith admitted: ‘That was too long a story for such a reaction.’ However Smith is very capable and confident in his material and I for one love his playing card chat-up line routine which he nicely calls back to.
But where he sparkles most is with his sharp off-the-cuff interactions with the audience. That’s where he’s spot-on and where he garners the biggest laughs.
From time to time he speaks about not living up to the ideal his dad has for him. It’s as if perhaps this is the crux of his raison d’être. It’s his solo debut in Edinburgh and I feel in years to come his show will be honed to a degree he and perhaps even his dad, will be proud of. In the meantime, I would suggest that in order to be free he should live up to his own expectations.