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Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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There's no greater pleasure than confounded expectations, and Edinburgh's unexpected gems are far more exciting than the anticipated highlights. So it is with Thom Tuck, familiar to me as the odd one in the Penny Dreadfuls, generating hysterical laughter through his rubbery face, bizarre physicality and surreal vocal tics.

Perfect as one third of a multi-talented group, but surely too much for a full hour. It turns out one should never judge a comedian by his sketch act cover.

Quick-witted, sharply observant and charmingly normal, Tuck advertises his solo debut as an extended review of Disney's straight-to-DVD back catalogue: he's watched them all so we don't have to. From a central thread of (surprisingly entertaining) Disney ephemera, his gently subversive comedy offers wry analysis of childhood, the pervasive power of our early cinematic experiences, and the strange minds of Disney's development executives.

Vitally, the show also has a huge heart. Punctuating Tuck's surreal flights of fancy are stories of heartbreak from his own youth, initially surreal but increasingly resonant. A consummate storyteller, these moments not only reflect his themes of cinematic romanticism but also weave a compelling narrative that undercuts the comic turns before building to an oddly touching finish.

- Will Young


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