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Thom Tuck Flips Out
Published on Sunday, 19 August 2012
4

4 stars

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
Comedy
1-11, 13-27 Aug, 8:10pm-9:10pm
Reviewed by Natasha Frost

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Thom Tuck defines Britishness as the ability, regardless of one's own patriotic views or 'where [your] parents' genitals met', to sit down for a pint, quietly. Perhaps the funniest thing about this is that Thom Tuck – despite his spicy peripatetic yoof – manages to remain very very British, despite mostly standing with his pint, occasionally quite loudly. In a spectrum of 'charming' British raconteurs, Tuck clocks in at the more unkempt end, sweating profusely in his Mr Bean-esque tweed jacket, under lights which are nothing if not unforgiving.

The effect is hugely popular, even when Tuck veers into more abrasive methods of performance. This is not strictly necessary, and I would have liked to have seen less shoutiness. That’s especially true given how sophisticated and subtle much of his material manages to be – even when dealing with the indelicate topics of 'all of the drugs', the private parts of gymnasts, or using his own private part as a makeshift serving implement. The Jack Dome may not be the biggest venue in the Fringe, but this is without a doubt the loudest and most enthusiastic audience I have so far seen or heard.

The pint of ale which he drinks over the course of the hour, as well as a series of anecdotes about being 'hammered', lend this set an relaxed, open-mic feel. Tuck is at times disarmingly honest, with the oversharing tendencies of those who are either slightly drunk, or simply do not care one way or another. On a man less likeable, this might alienate his audience: here, everyone is very much on side, even while his hunt for fellow smokers remains solidly in single digits.

An hour with Thom is really rather fun for just about everyone in the room, even though most of us probably don't want to take him home to our mothers. (His own is sitting in the middle row, which I remember during quite a graphic yarn about oral sex.) Tuck is at his best when he allows this natural likeability to shine through: the material which leans most heavily on a drug overdose in Glastonbury is amongst the least interesting. He is an extremely able wordsmith, who soars above and beyond his shambling tippler persona when he juxtaposes such unlikely material as toppling into a pint of Guinness with an idiot's guide to the philosophy of Descartes. It is, at least this evening, really very popular, and often extremely funny.

Thom Tuck is a magnetic character with tremendous control over his delivery and lexis, and this evening's set is controlled, intelligent and experienced. Even while there might be room for improvement, what there is already is exceptionally good, and hard not to like. Highly recommended.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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