Watson is back after a short hiatus from Edinburgh; a little more world-weary and adult, but in no way less hilarious.
Ten years into the Fringe Watson is still firmly at the top of the pile of comedic talent.
If there was an element of character comedy to Watson’s previous work, it is discarded in this performance in exchange for a degree of honesty and vulnerability. Gone is the Welsh accent, with as little explanation as its entrance in the first place. Watson shifts gently in ‘Flaws’ a little away from purely observational comedy and a little more towards personal storytelling.
There is a sense of graduation in this show for Watson to a new phase of his life. Being a firmly established comedian has brought its own challenges as well as its rewards. Watson’s fans feel a close affinity for him; having led a strangely public life with his famous proposal to his now-wife at the end of one of his 24 hour performances in 2004. Watson shares with us some of the new and exciting stresses that fatherhood has brought into his life, cumulating in a particularly spectacular neurological episode in the past year. Watson discusses the particular quirks of his behaviour in the low moments of his life. They are as hilarious as they are sympathy-evoking.
On this particular night – a Friday night – Watson had to contend with a drunken and boisterous - verging on belligerent crowd. The entire front row was a stag do. There were some moments where the more sober of us feared the rabble might have tipped the balance of power. But Watson masterfully kept the chaos just under control, and sagely never surrendered possession of the microphone to the audience, despite multiple requests. Given the theme of the show centred on anxiety-related depression, the dynamic created a tense and electric atmosphere. Despite this I think we all knew that the rowdiness was merely an expression of the audience’s adoration for Watson; like an energetic puppy trying to wrestle with a toddler half their size.
Ten years into the Fringe Watson is still firmly at the top of the pile of comedic talent. An electric, razor-sharp and uplifting hour of comedy, packed with wit and integrity.