mark_watsonMark Watson at Bridport Arts Centre 21.1.12'

Over the past couple of years, Bridport has become a rather popular venue for comedians, both seasoned and up and coming. Mark Watson, famous for appearances on such shows as 'Mock the Week' and 'One Night Stand', stopped by Bridport Arts Centre as part of his 'Request Stops' tour. My husband and I have been fans of Mr. Watson for some time, and we were thoroughly looking forward to the show with high expectations.

We were definitely not disappointed. Firstly, the Arts Centre made for an excellent venue, intimate and friendly, you can even enjoy a glass of wine with the show! We had managed to clinch seats in the second row, though I feel that even those sat at the back would not have felt out of the action. Now, I would not have guessed that Bridport would have been top of Mark Watson's destination list, but he brought such enthusiasm and vitality to the stage, he seemed genuinely delighted to be in our little town! Unlike some, his 'audience participation' techniques were in no way intimidating, rather like a co-conspirator, having a laugh with a group of mates. Comedy is, of course, all about personal preference, but it was wonderful to see such a diverse range of ages and backgrounds in the same place, all enjoying one act. Mark is a treat to see live, and really engages with the audience; I think he was pleasantly surprised by just how seriously Bridport takes its status as an audience! For example, what initially was suggested as a competition, to see who could find the most interesting item of food or drink during the interval, was undertaken by such gusto that Mark soon found himself with a table full of produce, with such treats as Danish Chorizo, a jar of Gherkins and a jelly snake! Where else other than here would you find such dedication!

Venues such as the Arts Centre work incredibly hard to bring such wonderful events such as this to the town, and to see all the seats filled, and the audience throwing themselves into proceedings was brilliant. Bridport is making a name for itself as a place where an act can come and really enjoy themselves, and from last night its not hard to see why!

I would highly recommend anyone who gets an opportunity, to go and check out Mark Watson. He is a real gem, with a wonderful stage presence (despite his rather slight stature) and an affinity for winning over his audience. Plus, he tells a damn good joke or two! Here's hoping, just maybe, that he'll choose to visit Bridport again - perhaps even without a request!

Dannie Carter

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