Words: Michael Whitham
Welcome to Stamptown, the grotesque and absurd late-night playground of Jack Tucker and friends. A razor sharp character study whittled to perfection by Zach Zucker, Tucker is a New York comic on-the-brink who white-knuckles his way through his compère duties with the deranged disinhibition of a man barely tethered to reality. The show’s lighting-quick tech team deserve a special mention for the magic and nuance they add to Zucker’s gross and engrossing vaudeville. We meet a strange and intriguing mix of characters over the course of this mixed-bill rollercoaster. The only slight challenge the show faces is incorporating a couple of its more traditional turns. Amidst the constant thrum of burgeoning anarchy a tight seven-minute stand up set about dating struggles to find its footing. But Zucker and guests Viggo Venn and Hannah Pilkes are particularly high points on the evening’s ride, deftly underpinning their wild characters with split-second timing and expert delivery. Some of the late-night Edinburgh scene can wear a little thin, relying too much on a leaden cynicism which rather saps the energy out of an evening. At Stamptown,however, the audience and performers alike are buoyed along by an infectious (if maniacal) joie de vivre. As we bopped in our seats to the closing act – charm personified, Movin’ Melvin Brown – Stamptown felt like a love letter to the Fringe. Chaos reigns in this bawdy and brash explosion of wit, silliness and soul. I stepped back out into the night air feeling elated.
Stamptown is on at the Pleasance Dome at 2330 on 18, 19, 20 and 25, 26, 27 August