Though it may sound like a more ambitious sequel to Mark Watson’s famous 24-hour Fringe show, the ‘infinite’ refers to the curious experiment at the heart of The Infinite Show. In his own unique way, Watson attempts no less than to unite humanity in trying to empathise with the most difficult things to empathise with. You can see him do this every day in the Pleasance Courtyard at 7pm.
In the queue for the show, the audience members are handed cards and are told to write down an opinion or quirk that they don’t think anyone else will understand. At parts of The Infinite Show, Watson reads some of them out and, if the audience member owns up to it, discusses it with them. This is part of his mission to empathise with people, an obsession that, as you find out, is rooted in the collapse of the relationship with his now ex-partner and his eldest child. If he can’t relate to the people he loves the most, is he able to relate with anyone?
The material he comes prepared with is solid. The stories he tells, such as his tirade against Center Parcs or his revelation that his mother has known who Banksy is for the past decade but “just didn’t give a shit”, are charming and breezy, but always with a tinge of raw emotion by tying back into his inability to connect to others.
However, the biggest laughs of the night were in the spontaneous moments. One of the stars of the evening was a girl in the front row who gives Watson existential dread he can’t get over by telling him she was born in 2005. When someone goes to the bathroom, Watson pretty much talks about him for the whole time until he returns. And of course, there are the peculiarities that the audience have written down, which Watson invariably manages to weave into something unique.
If he wanted to, Mark Watson is quick enough to go down the Ross Noble route of turning up completely unprepared. But I think Watson tries something more ambitious here, and whilst the message of the show gets lost a little in all the distractions and rapport with the audience, The Infinite Show still makes for a very, very funny hour.