Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Overambitious in Edinburgh?
Well, who would have guessed? Our Edinburgh Festival correspondent, Flum, is still seeking out the best/worst shows on your behalf, and reporting back on what he sees – right here! He went to see Mark Watson's 24-hour stand-up "affair". And this is what he thought of it:
I didn't plan on staying for the whole of Mark Watson's Overambitious 24-Hour Show. I planned on going home at 3 or 4am, getting some sleep, possibly returning in the afternoon before getting food then arriving in time for the finale. Something like that anyway. I definitely did not plan on being in a comedy show for 24 hours, which was why it ended up being something of a surprise to find myself on-stage for the final hour, recieving applause that mixed respect with pity, for being one of the ten 'lifers' who had managed to stick it out for the whole thing.
It wasn't technically true either, I'd left twice to see two other shows, but I still did 20-and-a-half hours – this is still quite impressive, and foolhardy, in anyone's book.
Anyway, it was, as the title suggests, a 24-hour-long show, with Mark keeping us all entertained from midnight on Sunday/Monday (actually 20 past midnight due to some administrative cock-ups and the thing being a hell of a lot more popular than was perhaps expected). While it was ostensibly a comedy show, and laughter was a constant, it wasn't a joke fest – which is hardly surprising, as that would probably get very grating after a few hours. Instead it was a night, day and night again of bonhomie, friendship, unexpected guest appearences, chat and endurance. Oh, and cheering of an alarm clock. A lot of cheering of an alarm clock.
While the event was shambolic – they forgot to organise doorstaff so audience members like myself each volunteered to do an hour or so – this was part of its charm, and the general vibe was always supportive. Stuff that did happen included Grudges Hour, mainly about the BBC, Blind Date, a tiff with Dara O'Brian, a review of the newspapers and a look at why Kate Copstick is rubbish.
The event was easily one of the best things I've ever experienced and been part of at the Fringe. There was a lot of love in the room, especially at the end when Mark proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes). Mark deserves all the plaudits he'll get for doing this – even if I still have absolutely no idea whether he's any good as a stand-up comic.