tue 18/01/2022

Edinburgh Fringe: Chris Ramsey/ Thom Tuck | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe: Chris Ramsey/ Thom Tuck

Edinburgh Fringe: Chris Ramsey/ Thom Tuck

Great storytelling and Disney lost in love

Chris Ramsey: the South Shields comic is a great storyteller

Chris Ramsey, Pleasance Courtyard ****

It's easy to see why the Edinburgh Comedy Awards panel shortlisted South Shields comic Chris Ramsey. He's personable, very funny, has a well-constructed show - and is destined for a big television career any day soon.

He used to allow the incorrect description of him as Geordie pass, he says, because he couldn't be bothered to explain the difference between Geordies, Makems and his own tribe, Sand Siders, until the television series Geordie Shore came along – and there was no way this working-class lad made good was going to be associated with that lot. What follows is some very effective social comment with wicked insight and witty deprecations.

The show is called Offermation – information given without asking, particularly that which is of no use to you – and was prompted by the use of the word by one stylishly dressed sales assistant to another as they discussed their forthcoming evening on the town. They ignored shopper Ramsey because “good customer service doesn't go with this look” and he has fashioned an hour out of round-robin Christmas letters a distant relative started sending his mum.

It's an old trope, but Ramsey breathes new life into it, and weaves a thoroughly entertaining story reading the letters and going off into anecdotes from his life. There is one weak spot – a story about sending a complaint letter to Sky, which takes too long to tell and which ends in a disappointingly weak pay-off – but overall this is a laugh-filled hour with an absolutely tremendous ending. Until 28 August


thom tuck1Thom Tuck, Pleasance Dome ***

Thom Tuck is another of the Victorian spoof theatre threesome The Penny Dreadfuls doing a solo show at the Fringe this year. Initially Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD appears less personal than his colleague Humphrey Ker's show, as it concerns the 54 Disney titles – trust him, he's an expert – that have gone straight to DVD. But as he describes some of the films (thankfully not all of them or this would be a very long hour indeed) and throws in some nerdy facts and witty observations, he melds in tales about his disastrous love life, of those women he has loved but who didn't love him back.

He has an ear for a great line (“Thom Tuck is my real name, not a minor surgical procedure”) and is a warm onstage presence, although his presentational style – deeply ironic, with lots of eye widening, eyebrows raised and sidelong looks at the audience – gets repetitive after a while.

The pay-off to the hour, without the very necessary explanation of the ring on Tuck's left hand, is really not what I was expecting, and in the absence of even a passing reference to what looks suspiciously like a wedding ring just sounds creepy - and is a fatally downbeat ending to a comedy gig. The concept is a good one, but this show definitely needs more work. Until 29 August

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