Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD

Have you seen, or even heard of, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea? Thom Tuck has. In fact, he's been watching all 54 straight-to-DVD Disney sequels so we don't have to. It`s a common gambit for comedians to set themselves a ludicrous task - hoping to unearth enough material for a Fringe show - and Tuck has hit on a rich vein of whimsy here.The illogical conceits and careless execution of these films make them an easy target, but if Thom Tuck is shooting fish in a barrel, he's a good shot. His expressive features and inventive way with words are put to good use in conveying his incredulous but affectionate response to the films, as when he evokes the Disney board meetings that could have given birth to such aberrations. Tuck - formerly a member of the popular sketch group The Penny Dreadfuls, who are each going solo this year - is a natural storyteller, quickly establishing an easy rapport with the audience. His uniquely deranged charisma makes him appear like an eccentric university lecturer on a passionate rant about his obscure specialism, and he has the audience in fits of laughter as he takes us through the numerous curiosities lurking in the Disney archives. A comic's debut solo hour often suffers from having good material poorly organised, and this show too feels structurally flawed. Tuck periodically breaks off from his theme to regale us with tales of his own romantic failures; these heartfelt interludes are entertaining and engaging, but jar with the main thrust of the show, and despite some intriguing musings on the disjuncture between reality and fantasy, these two disparate strands aren't a cohesive whole.Despite its scattergun nature, I couldn't help but be swept up in the Disney-esque feelgood musical finale, showing that Tuck's foray into our collective childhood has produced a piece of entertainment as odd but just as delightful as the flawed genre his show explores.

The Blurb

Thom Tuck from the Penny Dreadfuls is watching every straight-to-DVD Disney movie, so you don't have to. A discussion, dissection and descent into madness. With tales of heartbreak. ‘Eye-popping’ (Guardian).