Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD @ Pleasance Dome

Review by Ben Venables | 29 Aug 2014
  • Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD @ Pleasance Dome

Despite the three years since he watched every sequel in Disney's straight-to-DVD collection, the idea behind Thom Tuck's 2011 debut show continues to appear charmingly frivolous. But, after an hour it's obvious that this is to mistake the map for the territory.

The sequels are a hook but there is nothing simple about the themes. Tuck charters into deeper waters. "Cinderella 3 is the Sliding Doors of Disney. It's like the first film never happened." This show is not about DVDs. It is about the memories of the past and memories of a once imagined future.

It's delivered with round-the-campfire storytelling. There's an intensity behind his eyes, his speech punctuated with dramatic pauses. It's stand-up comedy moving towards characterisation. The absurdity of the project and the academic rigour with which he appoaches the titles is a spectacle in itself.

"I had my heart broken... By a girl" is a refrain. He returns to failed relationship after failed relationship. But this show has as much to do with getting dumped as it has to do with bad films. Although, it is only towards the end that this becomes clear.

At the end of the show, Tuck strums an accoustic guitar. With low baritone vocals he disguises a familiar song. Anyone doubting this is an hour of crafted storytelling should pay attention to the lyrics. It acts as a callback to the original hook, "Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?"

Through children's tales and a sentimental song he surpasses Cinderella 3 or Sliding Doors on theme. Evoked is loneliness, bereavement, an elegy to the path-not-taken.

He comes off the stage and up the stairs. When beside the audience he berates those not singing, but makes sure he repeats the verse so everyone joins in the sing-a-long. It's nicely done. No-one is left out for the final lyrics: "Wish I could be, Part of that world."

Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD @ Pleasance Dome, 25 Aug