At one point in his show, Thom Tuck admits he looks like ‘a creepy uncle’, and it’s true that he carries an air of the black sheep about him. Unkempt and tweed-clad, he shuffles around the stage with a pint and a stuffed toy. One-third of Fringe sketch comedy favourites the Penny Dreadfuls, it is hard to tell exactly where Tuck ends and a character begins; but whatever the balance is, he keeps his audience riveted throughout his debut solo show.
Ostensibly, it is about Tuck wading through the 54-strong back-catalogue of straight-to-DVD animated Disney films. However, the contrast between premise and content quickly becomes clear. Threaded between sharp assessments of Aladdin 2 and The Lion King 3 are personal reflections on heartbreak and loves lost, narrated with the wistful regret of a man telling stories from the bottom of a glass. In the event, the two disparate halves form a very funny whole.
It’s a brilliant idea, executed well. Tuck’s delivery lurches between swivel-eyed lunacy and gravelly quietude, playing up to the absurdity and pathos in equal measure. He capably draws the audience in as he builds to a climax (or, perhaps more accurately, descends to an anticlimax), and a closing sing-along provides a bittersweet note on which to end. All told, a great hour of understated comedy.
Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD is playing at Pleasance Dome (Venue 23), Edinburgh EH8, until 29 August 2011. Tickets are £10 (concessions £9). Book at Edfringe.