Jack Tucker bombs.
Jack Tucker bombs so hard that, all over the country, fourteen-year-old kids at swimming pools are in awe, mouth agape. Tucker’s bombing is so spectacular, the BBC are no doubt sending someone to talk over his show in a depressive monotone for the evening report. Tucker's bombing is so complete that the UN, with those fetching bright blue helmets and snazzy white APCs, are momentarily about to explode out of the horizon.
I’ll freely admit it, as if I were watching two meth-heads duking it out in the middle of the street, I couldn’t look away. I didn’t want to look away.
A good bomb is truly fantastic, but watching one unfold in real-time is like a gut-punch. You cringe, your eyes dart around the room, you try to force out a few sympathetic laughs here and there, and you surreptitiously check just how long you’ve got to endure this elongated clusterfuck until someone comes out with a double-barrelled shotgun and puts the cursed soul out of their misery. Tucker, however, gives you licence to tap into your inner-most schmuck and laugh at someone else’s glorious failure.
A native 'New Yorker' with an accentuated drawl, Tucker jumps out on to the stage sweaty and dishevelled, tie half undone, and suit pockmarked and stained with god-knows-what. He kicks off with some oft-used tropes, repeatedly clutches – and misses woefully – for low-hanging fruit, and proceeds to descend into absurd madness. Unsurprisingly, walk-outs inevitably occur, but the show on this occasion was a sell-out. (Sell outs and walk outs, apparently, were both a feature of his most recent residence at the Edinburgh Festival.)
It’s not all beer and skittles, though: some of it inevitably falls flat. Tucker goes back to bits that, after the third or fourth time, feel a bit worn. But the whole aesthetic works in some grubby, beer-stained way, and whether that’s by design or by circumstance only really adds to the caricature of failure that Tucker shoots for. It’s a quirky, polarising work-in-progress that some will declare uninspiring dross, and others will have a bloody good laugh at.
Jack Tucker plays until the close of Fringe. Tickets can be purchased here.